Local Entrepreneurs Bond Over Failures (and Overcoming Them) at F.U.N. YYC Events

The event brings together entrepreneurial types to hear speakers share their worst start-up screw-ups, and the tales of how they survived — and often thrived — despite them.

Amanda Ovaici and Shahr Savizi co-founders of FuckUp Nights YYC. Photograph by Melissa Whellams.

For Shahr Savizi and Amanda Ovaici, co-founders of FuckUp Nights (F.U.N.) YYC, failure is literally the glue in their friendship. Back when she was an undergrad, Ovaici was doing work that involved the launch of a hair-care product line and she gave Savizi a shampoo sample to try. “I messaged her, ‘how was it?’ And she responded, ‘it’s heavy,’” says Ovaici. “I went into the shower myself and, it wasn’t just heavy, it was glue! So there are certain entrepreneurial issues that we’ve personally encountered.”

Sharing stories like this one is what F.U.N. is all about. Part of a global organization that seeks to broaden the discussion of failure, F.U.N. events take place in more than 300 cities in 80 countries around the world. Locally, the event brings together entrepreneurial types to hear speakers share their worst start-up screw-ups, and the tales of how they survived — and often thrived — despite them.

Failure is an essential element of entrepreneurship that Savizi and Ovaici believe isn’t easily acknowledged, and they hope that their events will help change that. “A lot of our businesses in Calgary have had to put up a face where it’s like, ‘no, everything’s fine, everything’s great’,” says Savizi. “[F.U.N.] is an opportunity to vent and say we faced obstacles, and this is the reality of business. And it’s refreshing to know we share [that reality].”

F.U.N. events aren’t just for entrepreneurs — Savizi says attendees include everyone from students in their early 20s to 60-something lawyers. No matter who shows up, the events are in high demand; all four previous F.U.N. YYC events have sold out, with the next one set to happen in April at The Commons.

Ovaici believes one of the reasons F.U.N. events are so well-received is that they foster connections between newer and more-established entrepreneur types. “Our goal is essentially to facilitate relationships between people who are thinking of taking that step into business, or are operating a start-up, with people who are currently going through struggles or who have overcome them,” she says. “Pairing them together nurtures our business community in Calgary that much more.”

The next F.U.N. YYC event is on April 9.  For information visit fuckupnights.com/calgary

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This article appears in the February 2020 issue of Avenue Calgary.

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