CultureLink and Youth Entrepreneurship in Toronto

Hustl Works — CultureLink and Youth Entrepreneurship in Toronto — Ontario, Canada

The hustl works team went to CultureLink for a Youth Entrepreneurship Networking Event. We didn’t know exactly what to expect, but were glad we went!

We were greeted by the Program Worker of the Skills for Youth Success (SYS) program, Cheryl Cornejo. Off we were with our name tags - a name tag is just the beginning to networking and engaging with others, a must for events with other like-minded people.

Some words from the Director

We got to hear a few words from the Executive Director of CultureLink, Ibrahim Absiye. He dropped a few gems that we wanted to share with you and share our thoughts on:

“Not taking a risk, is the biggest risk”

Everything you do, is a risk. Let’s face it. Some even say “no risk, no reward” and that’s definitely the case when it comes to entrepreneurship. You have to be able to trust yourself and know that you are doing the right thing because it is a PASSION of yours.

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”

We almost said it with Ibrahim as he said it - this is a very true statement and applies to so many situations. You need to be able to lead your actions with purpose and the only way to do that is to plan. Make an action plan to carry out your goals because if you don’t, you’re going in blind and you may not get the same results you hope for by just winging it.

“Focus, focus, focus”

Need we say more? Stay focused on your vision and why you’re doing it, and you won’t go wrong.

The Panel

Next up were introducing the panelists.

They all shared a bit of what they do and were quite diverse: Fitness programs, accelerator programs, financial literacy, social media marketing and event planning for wellness.

Breakout Session

We went into a breakout session which proved to be the best part of the day! Each of the panelists split off with a group of about 4 workshop attendees to create a product as well as the branding, marketing and mission around it! It was a great way to pool knowledge together and brainstorm some brilliant ideas. Everything was fictitious but it was cool to see what you could do if you had unlimited spend and access to influencers!


Last part of the day was Q&A which is always fun.

Hard work beats talent

Ever hear that statement during school when playing sports? Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard!

Chasing a dream costs money

It is not cheap to become an entrepreneur. It takes money to start your business: registration, domain, hosting, marketing materials, etc. You need to be clear on what you want and make an informed decision. Don’t just do it for the money, but rather make sure you’re doing it because it is a PASSION of yours. Find out your “why” before you start.


Funny enough we were just talking about “wantrepreneurs” before coming to this event! Find out what a wantrepreneur is and what we have to say about entrepreneurship (link). Most entrepreneurs will tell you that their one regret is that they didn’t start earlier. Once you’ve made up your mind and ready to do it, don’t psych yourself out - you got this. Even if you don’t achieve what you wanted to, it’s the journey (and a lot of times, the failures) that will teach you the most! Get sh*t done.

Collaborate and Network

Don’t be afraid to ask for help! You are definitely not alone on this entrepreneur journey. Use your network and if you don’t have one, make one! Make it a point to go to networking events and getting to know people. Once you have a circle of like-minded people, it’s like no other. It’s crucial for us (Sanjay & Natasha) and we rely on our circle for support, but we also make sure to give back and share our knowledge too. That’s what it’s all about. Work together and “network across”, not just up (someone in a higher position than you), in order to grow. There’s a piece of the pie for everyone!

Talent and Hard Work VS Luck (Serendipity)

Of course we had to get our own question out there to the panelists: “What are your thoughts on talent and hard work vs luck (serendipity)?”. There were their answers…

  • It depends on who you surround yourself with and from there you can utilize your talent and hard work (they come together)

  • Law of Attraction = What you put out into the universe will come back to you (so if you work hard the universe will reward you)

  • You need to put yourself out there, put out good energy and “luck” will come

  • Preparation meets Opportunity

We tend to agree that sometimes you’re just at the right place at the right time and things happen to come together. However don’t get us wrong, if you don’t put in the work then you’ll have nothing to stand on. It’s a certain degree of luck and serendipity where things come together. It’s WHO you know that will get you there, but it’s WHAT you know that will back you up and propel you further.


Let’s get sh*t done!

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