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Digital Media Zone launches campaign to find every-preneurs on campus

Monica Mei

Ryerson alumna and every-preneur Monica Mei used her fashion skills and talent to start WhatImWear.in, a free mobile style-sharing app set to launch on Aug. 25.

Ryerson fashion communications alumna Monica Mei is smart, savvy, stylish and... an entrepreneur.

In fact, she's one of Toronto's hottest young entrepreneurs, according to the Globe and Mail.

Mei has found a home in Ryerson's Digital Media Zone (DMZ), a multidisciplinary workspace for young entrepreneurs to fast-track their product launches. Mei is a new breed of business owner: an every-preneur who uses her non-traditional skills to create a commercial enterprise. And the DMZ is looking for even more Monica Mei's.

Mei's latest venture, WhatImWear.in marries fashion with technology. The free mobile style-sharing app helps users build their style story from snapping a pic, to tagging their clothing, to narrating the background behind the look. Then they can share that story instantaneously with friends, family and international trendsetters through the social style app and the WhatImWear.in website. The WhatImWear.in app is available for download starting August 25 in the Apple App Store, Android Market, and next month, in the Blackberry App World.

"Being an entrepreneur is really a spirit or a state of mind," said Mei. "It's not only about your educational background or your area of expertise. It's about having a good idea and the passion, drive, work ethic and faith to see it through. It's also about surrounding yourself with the right people - your team, your mentors and your collaborators - and that's where the DMZ can really help people who wouldn't necessarily see themselves as 'entrepreneurs'."

With her background in fashion, Mei didn't give it another thought to start her own business. Her first venture, a clothing line, was started when she was an undergraduate. While studying at Ryerson, Mei went beyond the parameters of her fashion education and competed in the campus-wide Standard Broadcasting Business Plan Competition. She was awarded the $25,000 first prize for her designer label, Aime Luxury. This collection of eco-chic designs is now in boutiques across the United States and Canada, and Flare Magazine named her one Canada's best new designers.

The DMZ is looking to engage more students, especially those outside traditional business programs. The space has launched an internal marketing campaign for back-to-school . Using the tagline "for the every-preneur," the campaign targets specific programs, inviting students to "unleash your fashion-preneur, archi-preneur, edu-preneur, social-preneur, photogra-preneur, or designer-preneur." The 'every-preneur' campaign will be rolled out across campus through Ryerson and DMZ websites, strategically placed floor advertising, the internal broadcast system, print pieces and a street team promotion during Orientation Week and the Week of Welcome.

"Our goal this year with the every-preneur campaign is to challenge incoming and returning students to find their inner entrepreneur - regardless of their program of study," said Valerie Fox, DMZ director. "We want to cultivate in them an entrepreneurial mindset, so that as they go through their classes and group projects, they are always thinking of how they can turn their ideas into business opportunities. Then when they're ready, when they've developed an idea in theory, they can come to the Digital Media Zone and actually execute it. That way they get an invaluable experiential learning opportunity plus the possibility of a viable career."

For Monica, being a fashion-preneur is exactly what she wants to be. "I became an entrepreneur because I love the organic process - from conception to execution to actualization - that I experience as an entrepreneur. It can be exhausting, but it's always gratifying."

Click here to watch a video on WhatImWear.in.

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