Ramsha Naeem, Launch Zone Marketing and Operations Coordinator, sat down with TEDxRyersonU to talk about the future of the Launch Zone. In her interview, she talks about new innovative programming available, and how the LZ plans to fill gaps in the innovation ecosystem by empowering students with an entrepreneurial mindset.
Read the interview below for more insight on the LZ and how budding entrepreneurs in the Ryerson community can get involved!
So, what does the Launch Zone do?
As the community-arm of the DMZ, the Launch Zone is the on-campus destination for those individuals who want to explore the world of entrepreneurship. We empower like-minded innovators and entrepreneurs while enriching the student learning experience. Our space is designed to promote entrepreneurial activities and foster an entrepreneurial mindset through delivering high quality programs and showcasing Ryerson innovation. The Launch Zone is a creative collision space and we encourage collaboration on every level.
Are there any new developments in programming?
The new focus on programs at the Launch Zone is a recent development. While we spent a good chunk of our time testing out different ideas and evaluating the results, it was evident that there is a gap in the innovation ecosystem and the Launch Zone’s strategy aims to fill that gap.
The programs are developed with a framework that entails beginner level, intermediate level and expert level of programs, catering to students who may fall under any category. Our framework allows students to enter through the LZ, go through the three levels and ultimately, end off with being connected to Zones or other entrepreneurs that can help take their skills and learnings to the next level.
What sets you apart from the DMZ?
While the Launch Zone is an extension of the DMZ and is operated by the same team, the DMZ and LZ are differ in two main ways:
Students are our primary audience, we aim to fill the gaps in the current ecosystem to develop the leaders of tomorrow.
(DMZ incubates ideas; Launch Zone incubates people.)
What programs do you offer to students? How can students get involved?
All of our programs are open and free for students. Therefore, anyone who is interested and wants to get involved is simply required to sign up for one of the programs below:
The Idea Consultations program is designed to connect successful local entrepreneurs with early stage entrepreneurs and provide invaluable advice on how they can succeed in either launching or growing their startups.
The “Digital Discovery” series is a program designed to help students gain various digital skills to participate in the emerging innovation and startups driven economy. We bring in RED Academy instructors to provide the basic learnings for web development, user interface, user experience, Google AdWords, and Google analytics.
Art of Facilitation
The Art of Facilitation Program will teach youth how to become better facilitators by engaging them in practices that will help create safe spaces for participants and create engagement with various audiences. The program is aimed to help develop skills as a facilitator because most facilitators are not aware of how to create a safe space for varying audiences.
Basecamp is an intensive 6-week educational program, where students will gain access to resources, mentorship, and on-demand learning within specialized topics. Students enter the program with an idea and leave with a prototype that is consumer validated.
Innovate with your Kids
Innovate with Your Kids (INK) is a 3-hour workshop designed to bring parents and children (8 – 12) to learn and make together through the concept of gift giving. Attendees will create a gift through customer persona development, technical learning, and branding workshops.
ZerotoStartup is a 13 week program, where youth will discover an enhanced view of their personal strengths while recognizing the importance of working as a team, develop entrepreneurial skills, and ignite a passion for technology. In teams, the youth will ideate, design, develop a product and present their solutions to solve real problems through technology.
Thank you for sitting down with us and sharing your words of wisdom, Ramsha! TEDxRyersonU cannot wait to see the benefits these programs will bring to our student community.
Reminder: All of the programs listed are open and free for students! For more information on the Launch Zone at Ryerson, please visit their website here.
Interview by Aya Ladki
Photo by Aya Ladki