Joseph Fredrick

Business and Economics Joint Major

Entrepreneurship was not on Joseph Fredrick’s agenda when he embarked on his dual major in business and economics at SFU’s Beedie School of Business.

“I wanted to go into marketing, initially, just because I didn’t want to do anything that’s heavy in mathematics,” says Joseph. “Ironically, I ended up doing economics, which was heavily mathematics based, but I didn’t want to go into finance or accounting, so I thought about marketing and focusing on behavioural economics.”

Taking BUS 238 – Introduction to Entrepreneurship and Innovation, though, led him to consider a world of alternative possibilities for his career: starting businesses rather than working for them.

“It’s inspired a lifestyle change,” says Joseph. “It’s not, ‘What do I want to be when I grow up?’ it’s, ‘How do I want to live? Do I want to have a legacy, or do I want to work nine-to-five to build someone else’s dream?’ That’s what it’s taught me; it’s reshaped the way I think.”

With this shift in mindset, Joseph decided to move away from the business major and focus on entrepreneurship courses, supplementing his major in economics. After completing BUS 238, he learned about the range of other entrepreneurship training opportunities within Beedie, and enrolled in the Charles Chang Certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CCCIE), supported by the Charles Chang Institute for Entrepreneurship, which is open to students in any faculty at SFU.

As part of the CCCIE, Joseph completed the Technology Entrepreneurship@SFU (tech e@SFU) program, a hands-on program for third- and fourth-year Mechatronics, Beedie and CCIE students. The program lasts a year, and offers students the opportunity, support and resources to form interdisciplinary teams, in order to launch their own tech venture.

For Joseph, the experience added a new dimension to his entrepreneurship training, allowing him to put the lessons into practice.

“The thing with the tech e@SFU program, it’s real,” he says. “They give you real money, real resources and you have to produce results.”

He also gained valuable experience of working through the unpredictable challenges of finding a solution to a real problem, and of working with teammates from different disciplines to get the most out of one another.

“You make the team and you’re given a deadline – how you reach that deadline is up to you, the idea you choose is up to you, what you put on that presentation is up to you,” Joseph says. “There is a lot of freedom, but there is also a lot of ambiguity, and what the program teaches us is how to deal with that ambiguity.”

As he nears the end of his studies, however, one thing is clear – Joseph now sees his future as an entrepreneur, working for his own ventures and creating his own opportunities.

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