We received hundreds of applications from high schools all over Canada. The competition was intense, and the results were amazing! Our participants came up with amazing ideas, raised thousands of dollars for charity, and most importantly, caught the entrepreneurial bug!
I sat down with one of the 2010 Impact Microcredit winners, Jory Wong, to get her perspective on the whole experience.
Tell me a little about yourself. Where do you live? What are your hobbies and areas of interest?
I live independently in Vancouver, BC – that is, if you can count eight roommates as “ independent’” living! For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a creative mind and a lot of positive energy. I developed an artistic background spanning from the visual and literary to musical and performing arts, which made my transition to the multimedia field a fairly smooth one. My concentration is now in fine art photography and filmmaking. The latter appeals to me the most, as it requires an incorporation of nearly every artistic and technical field.
If I don’t pursue my passion, I feel spiritless and subject to routine – lazy mornings, regular work hours, unwinding at the TV, and then back to bed. The motivation to have creative projects consistently on the go is a fundamental part of my lifestyle.
How did you first hear about Impact Microcredit? What motivated you to participate?
I subscribed to studentawards.com to receive e-newsletters on scholarships and bursaries. At one point, they sent out a notification for the Impact Microcredit 2010 Competition. I’ve always taken an interest in microloans, and I saw the contest as a good opportunity to test-drive a business; it was also a chance at a rewarding scholarship, and it would be a philanthropic contribution regardless of if we won.
What was your action plan going into the competition? What did you do to win?
Going into the competition, we definitely did not want to do anything that others had done before. Emily (my best friend and teammate) and I wanted to go forward with a project stemming from our personal beliefs, rather than having a generic fundraiser. We eventually decided that we would do something to counter the lack of artwork ownership in our community by marketing works that were both appealing and affordable. We hoped that the success of the project would prove a point, as people would see how artwork ownership is not a thing of the past or only for the wealthy.
We designed two flash websites from scratch and sold artwork online. Our customers could choose from 21 portfolios, 14 of which were submitted by photographers, and the remainder featured traditional media such as drawings and paintings. In addition to the artwork sale, we also remarketed vintage clothing at three live events. For an entry fee of $10, people could fill their pillowcase or backpack with whatever they wanted.
What was the most rewarding aspect of this experience?
The most rewarding aspect of this project was that we could attribute almost all of our success to natural instinct and hard work. Having an internal focus of control made me very satisfied.
What did you find the most challenging?
It was hard to get over the fact that our consumer support was a fair bit smaller than what we expected. Working even harder to overcome it paid off immensely at the end, though at the time it was a big downer.
What is your advice for students who are planning to participate next year?
Our team learned that it only comes down to a good concept and enough hard work to make it happen. If you focus on the basics, everything else comes naturally. You also need to eliminate your fear of losing, because otherwise you become locked into making conservative decisions.
We also maximized social media to no end, but we found that it made an immense difference to promote our events in person as well. Especially with a school as large as ours, we had to distinguish ourselves from every other event happening on a daily basis.
How did Microcredit change your perception of entrepreneurship? Is it something you would consider doing in the future?
It made me more confident in myself, knowing that our success has the potential to grow beyond the 10 days. I am currently working in sales, and I am definitely planning to open several philanthropic businesses in Vancouver.
Thank you to all the participants!
If you would like to learn more about the competition, and be the first to sign up for 2011, visit Microcredit.Impact.org!
External Communications Manager
Impact Entrepreneurship Group