Building The Future Through Entrepreneurship


NAME: Mariam Awara

HOME BASE: Calgary/Toronto

Mariam is a Next 36 alumni, now living in Toronto. She values the interconnection of knowledge and of the human experience, and is passionate about entrepreneurship as a mindset to address some of the world’s biggest challenges. A fun fact about Mariam is that she is fascinated by how ants communicate & build community!

What do you love about working with LOI?

Working with LOI has introduced me to an inspiring community of proactive leaders, allowing me to constantly learn and get motivated. I also love how much we are encouraged to be entrepreneurial and proactive ourselves, so that the work I do with LOI feels personally rewarding & meaningful.

What does entrepreneurship mean to you?

To me, entrepreneurship is just another way to tell your story through your work. I think entrepreneurship endeavours allow us to extend our humanity on our time here on earth, because it grants us as a society a way to solve human needs in progressive ways. It is simply addressing human needs with a community that is aligned with a similar purpose.

Got any passions? What is your life goal and how will you reach it?

I love the outdoors! I’m from Calgary, so hiking is one of my favourite activities. My life goal is to have lived my life having built a community of love and support around me, and having built something meaningful to me that would grant me freedom and impact. Right now, the way I am building towards that future just happens to be through entrepreneurship.

Have you ever had a side hustle and what was it?

I’ve almost always felt the need to be proactive with my time, so I’ve started several side hustles (& most of them didn’t make me any money). I remember my first side hustle being a school newsletter I started in Grade 7, because I felt that newsletters needed to be more creative. As the years progressed, my hustles grew, like myself, to reflect my current interests and perspectives. I started two non-profit initiatives in high school, and worked on several startup ideas throughout university & the Next 36 program.

What's your superpower?

My brain works by connecting seemingly unconnected thoughts and ideas together to piece a story. I’m an introvert, though, so my mind creates all these rich and dynamic stories and connections, but articulating them haven’t always been my strong suit. I am working on that!

The best advice you could give to a young entrepreneur is to… just start. The worst thing that can happen is you learn.

Another is team communication and alignment being one of the most important parts of execution. Take the time to get to know your founders, your customers and your larger team, if applicable. It’ll make working together more effective, and conflict resolution easier.

What are you reading/watching/listening to right now?

I am currently reading several startup books, one of which is “Prediction Machines” by University of Toronto’s Prof. Agrawal, Prof. Gans and Prof. Goldfarb. The book is helping me digest the role of Artificial Intelligence in solution-building for the future, & how the technology will shape our world today. One of my biggest takeaways from the book is in reflecting on how human technology really is. As a society, we build technology to progress our common goals, but most importantly, especially with the future of prediction technology today, we are feeding the technology data that we produce. As a result, we are building technology that inherits humans’ biases, and even hopes & fears. In a way, we use technology as a tool to extend our humanity.

LOI Team