One Ivey student and three Western students have been selected to take part in The Next 36, a prestigious Canadian organization designed to help young entrepreneurs develop and succeed.
Evan Ferguson, a dual HBA and Engineering student, was chosen along with three Western students: James Crocker, Engineering; Aishi Jiang, Science; and Nikita Zhitkevich, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. The elite students were selected from 630 applicants from 45 institutions across Canada.
The program focuses on innovative university undergraduates and recent graduates based on their entrepreneurial potential. Many of the young entrepreneurs have built a prior business; however, The Next 36 challenges them to build a new venture from the ground up.
“I look forward to the structure of the program which, while in school, is a great way to compartmentalize the development of a company,” Ferguson says.
Over the course of seven months, The Next 36 entrepreneurs will take part in a unique academic program where they will learn from top business leaders. They’ll work to build their startup companies and earn funding from top venture capitalists.
Ferguson’s plan is to set up a nationwide direct lending platform for automotive buyers, which will assist any credit rating profile and make for an overall smoother buying process.
He has envisioned a platform where multiple lenders can compete to offer the buyers financing – completely independent of the dealership. This gives the customer more freedom in choosing a dealership or a private seller, Ferguson says. The platform will eliminate the need for dealerships to sell financing.
It isn’t Ferguson’s first entrepreneurial venture, but with all the advantages and assistance The Next 36 offers, he’s on a path to success.
“I’ve met a lot of very interesting and passionate peers and successful entrepreneurs,” Ferguson says. “Meeting these individuals (both peers and mentors) is certainly a highlight of a program like this and I look forward to learning from them over the coming months.”