Concordia University

http://www.concordia.ca/content/concordia/en/jmsb/programs/graduate/certificate-entrepreneurship/meet-our-students.html

Alumni Profiles

Lyndon Polan

Lyndon Polan

1. Why did you choose the GCE? Where were you at in your career, and what made you decide to pursue it?
I had recently graduated in France with a Fine arts degree. I had learned a lot in my program, however I felt it lacked information on the business, administrative and marketing side of being an artist. I learned of this program on artere.com , and saw that this entrepreneurial program provided the tools that I was looking for.

2. What was your degree/training before starting the GCE? What was your work experience before starting the GCE?
I graduated in Biarritz, France, with a DNAP in fine arts (diplôme national d’arts plastique) which is the equivalent of a graduates degree in fines arts.

3. Explain your business venture, what kind of business are you looking to start in this program?
My Business consists of working with local restaurants and cafes. I plan to organize art events on location as a means of promotion, this will consequently bring in an new clientele.

For the clientele, this provides a fines arts and fine dining experience.

For the restaurant or cafe, this provides an opportunity to gain a new clientele.For the artists being exposed, this provides a location to promote and sell there work.

4. What has been the biggest surprise in this program for you? What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned so far?
My biggest surprise in this program was learning about all the tool available in Montreal to start a business. The biggest lesson I learned so far is that there are specific steps needed to start any business.

5. Has your business idea shifted far from your initial idea, throughout the program?
I originally wanted to create an artist run studio. However, after the first couple of classes I realized that it wasn't completely realistic to start so big right away. If I want to build something on my own right now, with little financial investment, I need to start small and build from there.

6. How would you describe the classroom environment and teachers in the GCE program?
Because it is a small class, you feel that you can build a direct relationship with your teachers and classmates. Also, it allows the courses to be directed towards your specific business venture.

7. How do you feel about starting your business venture once you’ve completed the program?
Because of the way the program is set, I don't feel like I need to wait to start my business. I am already starting to build the foundations. The classes provide the feedback I need to start my business alongside it.

8. What advice would you have for students considering starting the program?
Don’t view yourself as a student, you already have a degree. Your not doing this for the grades or the certificate, your doing it for yourself and to be able to build your dream. This program will provide you with the tools you need to make that dream a reality.

Claudie Lamarre

Claudie Lamarre

Why did you choose the GCE? Where were you at in your career, and what made you decide to pursue it?
I decided to apply to the program because I felt that the rich training would help me get my career as a freelance interior architect off the ground. For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to work for myself. I find it hard to express my creativity freely when working for others. I am a curious, independent, free spirit and am stimulated by challenges, adventures and new environments.  Concordia has opened door to a career where I have the power to balance my personal and professional life the way I’d like.

What was your degree/training before starting the GCE? What was your work experience before starting the GCE?
I completed my bachelors degree in interior design as one of the youngest student of my class. Before entering university, I studied graphics and photography. I also had the chance to go study abroad, completing an entire semester in Brussels, where I expanded my knowledge of interior architecture. I then had the opportunity to spend a summer at Parsons, The New School of Design, in New York City. I had no concrete work experience in my field when I began the GCE, having only done minimal freelance contracts in interior architecture and design, photography, illustration and graphic design.

Explain your business venture, what kind of business are you looking to start in this program?
My business project is a brand and services platform for graphic design, photography and illustration. The goal of this micro-enterprise is to create a sense of community between the individuals who are sharing a lifestyle and culture. It is a local and mobile enterprise. It includes an online selling platform and uses social media to create awareness and interest. At the moment, I am developing the business on my own. It is a personal project that I have dreamed about for a long time.

What has been the biggest surprise in this program for you? What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned so far?
Meeting so many other individuals with the same desire to be an entrepreneur while having no past experience doing so. As I am in a creative field, I thought I was going to be one of the students struggling in this new business world, but I quickly realized that everyone was at the same stage as I was. One of the most important lessons I learned in GCE was to be action-oriented. The program and our teachers are giving us all the tools we need to start up a business, but we still need to be the ones leading and managing our projects.

Has your business idea shifted far from your initial idea, throughout the program?
As the semester progressed, I decided I wanted to continue working as a freelance interior architect and designer, but I also began developing this idea for a business. I had studied illustration, graphic design and photography, and have always been passionate about them, but never considered that they could be more then hobbies. The program has allowed me to see that I can create a personal project out of the things that I really enjoy doing.

How would you describe the classroom environment and teachers in the GCE program?
The classroom environment is pretty intimate. Our projects are all extremely different, which engenders cooperation over competition. We all offer our services and strengths to one another, which really builds team spirit. The teachers are open-minded, friendly and professional. They can act as mentors and want the best for us, while being transparent and responsive to our ideas based on their experiences as entrepreneurs and business owners.

How do you feel about starting your business venture once you’ve completed the program?
I feel more confident, better prepared and more motivated than I was before entering the program. The different classes that I took helped me better prepare my business plan, which I am completing right now. I feel more comfortable with business vocabulary, and issues connected to finance, marketing/advertising and e-commerce. I feel empowered to do the necessary market research and to put into practice the theory that I gained.

What advice would you have for students considering starting the program?
If you have ever wanted to become an entrepreneur, to work for yourself and to develop your own business, don’t hesitate to make the jump, whoever you are. I truly believe that the Graduate Certificate in Entrepreneurship was what I needed to better achieve my goals.

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