What inspired you to start Circulr?
My co-founder and I are both environmentalists at heart. Growing up in and around nature gives you a real respect for it and makes you care a whole lot more about what we're doing to our planet. From a young age I got involved in things like litter clean ups, education campaigns and stuff like that, but it never felt like it was doing enough. So to us, Circulr was a more holistic solution to this environmental problem. Rather than pulling waste out of the environment when it inevitably ended up there, we wanted to design a system where waste didn't exist.
For those who don’t know, what is Circulr and how does it work?
Circulr is a reusable packaging company that supports grocery and packaged food products. Essentially we help local food brands and grocery stores recapture, wash, and reuse their packaging. We're sort of like the beer store but for glass jars rather than beer bottles. On top of managing the physical packaging we also help brands track their packaging and distribute deposits and rewards to people who participate in the system through our mobile app.
What from your time at Laurier do you feel prepared you to start and run this business?
Getting a BBA specializing in Entrepreneurship definitely helps when it comes to starting a business. There are some theories and strategies from those classes that I still use and a lot of case studies that I come back to. More importantly though, at Laurier I was lucky enough to be exposed to entrepreneurship directly, through working at the entrepreneurship centre and being a part of clubs like Enactus. Being on Enactus pretty much my whole Laurier career let me see first hand what it was like to start a social enterprise. I was able to work with other entrepreneurial students to build something we were all proud of, while also exploring the elements of starting a business that you don't learn in the classroom. I think before joining Enactus I hadn't even considered Entrepreneurship as a career path.
Just for fun- what is your favourite memory from Laurier?
Honestly, it's hard to pick one. An early one that jumps out is the Unilever Social Venture Challenge. It was an optional project you could do for bonus marks in BU111 where you pitched a social enterprise. I got paired up with some complete strangers who I quickly became friends with and we really had a lot of fun with that pitch. The competition also really showed off the strength of the Laurier community. Even though all the teams were competing against each other, everyone was so supportive and friendly, It really felt like we were all working towards the same goal and just pushing each other to be better, that's very Laurier to me.
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