This is one of a series of case studies on lessons learned from starting sustainable businesses!

Key Takeaways:

  • As a student, the world’s doors are open to you. This isn’t school. You CAN ask for help.
  • Find EVERY single way you can to test your ideas. Aim to make your validation process THE big story you tell when you talk about your business.
  • Large market = lots of money? Not if you try to do everything and end up with nothing.

Alessandra Amato has been trying to go vegan for a REALLY long time…

She doesn’t like the harm that factory-farmed meat…


This is one of a series of case studies on lessons learned from starting sustainable businesses!

Key Takeaways

  • Look for problems in areas you’re uniquely interested in or that you’re uniquely aware of. The solutions will be all the more innovative.
  • Not having many resources at first is GOOD! It helps you not waste time chasing ideas or products that aren’t the best.
  • Be VERY specific about the values you’re not willing to bend on. For the other nice-to-haves, give yourself some flexibility to grow into them :-)

Since 2005, Christal Earle has been in and around the garbage dumps of the…


This is one of a series of case studies on lessons learned from starting sustainable businesses!

Key Takeaways

  • Sometimes, typical ‘entrepreneurship’ advice doesn’t work for social ventures. People’s incentives might be different for a social cause.
  • For student founders, there’s really no better environment than a university with a strong focus on entrepreneurship :-)
  • For student founders, teams can sometimes have strangers or people that aren’t aligned on the same vision. This was okay in school projects, but needs to be fixed UPFRONT in a business.

Melanie Chanona LOVES to solve problems.

Even as a student at the University of British Columbia…


This is one of a series of case studies on lessons learned from starting sustainable businesses!

Key Takeaways

  • Don’t just get excited about a solution because you have the skills to pull it off.
  • Your ‘side’ talents before entrepreneurship become the niche no one else can occupy.
  • Don’t try to get everything done yourself. This isn’t school. But if you’re willing to take a risk, it’s ALL about trusting yourself.

5 years ago, you could meet Paige Whitehead and NEVER have imagined her being an entrepreneur. She’s the kind of person that loves microbiology and music festivals, not mergers and acquisitions! …


I recently came across a 1953 comedy act that made me laugh harder than I’ve laughed in 4 months…

Abbott and Costello, “Who’s On First” (1953).

The funny thing is, the reason I was watching this was because I was sadder than I’d ever been in 4 months.

Gee, what got you in this mess of emotions?

Well, I’d been trying to painstakingly maintain relationships virtually during COVID-19 for 9 months. One day, I just stopped and thought of every friend I had. …


That thought hit me after the 60th afternoon sitting in my bedroom...

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Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash

You see, I’m usually frantically dashing between classrooms at this time of day. That was until the COVID-19 lockdown came. Since then, school has been a series of Zoom calls. One tedious current of information after another… flowing slowly from my teacher’s screen to mine.

It was at that moment I realised that I hadn’t had an original thought in a

very…

very…

VERY…

long time. 😨

But how does that apply to ME? I just decided what to eat myself!

And so had I. But those simple decisions weren’t the problem.

The problem was that it’d been a long time since I’d just STOPPED to look away from the screen. To observe the…


In grade 10, I met the best math teacher I’ve ever had. From hearing mythological stories with accompanying ambient lighting on Fridays to stopping a financial math unit to discuss practical investment advice… there was always something new to learn in his classroom.

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But when it came to math, my teacher was one of the most serious math-lovers you could meet. It’s only now that I start to look back at all his simple lessons to see their wisdom.

And the biggest lesson I remember…? …


Let’s say you’re stuck at the traffic lights on a Tuesday and a Friday.

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On Tuesday, you’re just driving to the mall. On Friday, you’re driving your child to a hospital right after they fell while roller-blading and fractured a bone.

Clearly, your intentions are much more benevolent on Friday: to decrease the pain of someone you love vs. going shopping faster.

So will the red light turn green faster on Friday vs. Tuesday? 🤔

The answer is an easy no. …


In today’s modern age, we feel like we’re living in a time of unprecedented intelligence and growth. Every day, we wake up surrounded in urban bubbles full of technological advancements. Every year, we’re surprised by the next new discovery created by our innovative minds hard at work.

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Photo by Tom Parkes on Unsplash

In this world, it’s easy to look back at past societies and earlier humans as primitive and ‘other.’ It’s easy to dismiss them as simply not being capable of the same intellect as we are.

But this is 1. false and 2. dangerous…

Why Past Humans aren’t Less Intelligent

Firstly, it’s false because our brains have been mostly the…


Growing up, my family was never one of the wealthiest ones around.

As immigrants to Canada, it was hard to find jobs and financial uncertainty was more common for us than my non-immigrant friends. Still, compared to the average person around the world and the average person from our native country (India), we were lucky enough to live a life of astonishing luxury. We always had meals on our plate and a roof over our head, even if we couldn’t have the same lifestyle as the average Canadian.

But growing up, during more financially prosperous years, I’ve also been lucky…

Madhav Malhotra

Cofounder at The Plastic Shift. Learning how to create a sustainable planet. Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/madhav-malhotra/

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