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A Booth University College student from Steinbach was given a once-in-a-lifetime experience this summer.

Joshua Rempel says he was given the opportunity to attend the European Innovation Academy (EIA) in Portugal for three weeks. Rempel notes he had never been out of North America before, so this opportunity gave him the opportunity to visit a new country, as well as meet people from around the world, as well as gain experience in tech entrepreneurship education.

"For the most part, my days were busy at the program. The program ran from 10 a.m. til 8 p.m. every day. It was a lot of lectures and discussions in the morning, and then it progressed to working on our business ideas in the evenings," says Rempel. "The goal of the program was to, eventually, build a company where you could, after the program was over, start the company up; get some investments and start up the company straight from the program." 

Rempel notes there were many ideas and experiences he could bring back to integrate into his education and future career. 

"I now know how to properly take an idea and then test it to see if it works before saying 'let's invest tons of resources into doing this new idea.' Now I know how to, with minimal resources, test an idea to see if it would be viable beforehand."

He says, through this experience, he was also able to acquire contacts from all over the world, including those in Silicon Valley, which will help him in the future, especially if he decides on starting up his own company after post-secondary.

"Probably one of the key stories from my experience; we were working with our group on this project and we had all divided up into teams to do different aspects, I was doing a lot of the business stuff," explains Rempel. "Our people were not getting along terribly well, and things weren't working out very well. I decided, here's my chance, I'm going to step up. So, I stepped up, took control of the team; first said, here's what we need to do and set out tasks. It was probably the most efficient day of the program for our team. So, it was great for me to be able to see that I have these [leadership] skills."

Rempel says he's looking at graduating next spring and is currently thinking about pursuing a career in human resources.


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