Saint Mary's University Sobey School of Business: Building the entrepreneurial spirit

If you can’t find your community, create one

Mike Cyr's entrepreneurial curiosity sparked in his high school years. He would search the internet looking for market trends, investigating what consumers might want and need, and then test the leading ideas. He began buying and selling smartphones, and with this success, he never stopped searching for the next business opportunity.

Cyr's first serious business venture took off in his senior year of high school. He developed a working relationship with a sail maker based out of Phuket, Thailand, that operated the largest purpose-built sail loft in the world, producing over 2 million sails worldwide. The industry overall was competitive, and Cyr didn't make a lot of money. However, he managed to run a profitable first business.

"I was learning the ropes of logistics, customer service, marketing, business development and everything that goes into running a business," says Cyr. This initial experience instilled in him the confidence to move forward in his career, and eventually graduate with a major in marketing from the Saint Mary's University Sobey School of Business.

At the Sobey School, there was an entire pool of bright minds for Cyr to engage with. On campus he was constandly meeting key individuals to partner with in the local business scene. "The resources available to me were invaluable and it taught me so much," says Cyr. He spent the majority of his university career developing businesses and growing his network, and eventually partnered on a startup venture: a mobile app for the event industry.

The entire SMU experience had Cyr on a business high, but once it was over Cyr felt a complete disconnect from his entrepreneurial self. Graduation would mean not being around the Sobey School of Business every day, and in the world beyond the campus there was no place within the community for himself and other entrepreneurs to connect on a regular basis. This is when Cyr developed the Nova Scotia Startup Community. "It's an online forum on Facebook for Nova Scotia startups and entrepreneurs to network, share, and seek valuable feedback and information about upcoming events and releases," says Cyr. With the current emphasis on entrepreneurship in Nova Scotia, the community is at over 1,100 members and still continuing to grow.

Cyr is constantly building the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the province. He invests his time in guiding future entrepreneurial students who are looking to start their own businesses, and he helps bring them to fruition. "Never turn down the opportunity to try something new," he advises students. "You will never fail, but you will surely learn something valuable."

Cyr is currently a partner at OneRedCat Media, a digital agency developing websites, branding and social strategies for small and medium-sized businesses. He is always looking for new businesses that may be good investment prospects, and is a representation of the role that the Sobey School aims to play in the business community: contributing connections, inspiring creative disruptions and making an impact with purpose.

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