Jason Amri is an undergraduate student studying computer science and business jointly at the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University. Along with taking classes and working 9 to 5 for a co-op employer, the star student is also an entrepreneur and a shining example of Waterloo’s spirit of innovation.
Jason is a founder of a start-up called 3cycle, which sets out to tackle the urgent problem of global plastic waste, specifically related to emerging technologies in 3D printing. The new company is currently involved in some entrepreneurial events, including the Concept 5K Challenge through Velocity and the Problem Pitch through the Problem Lab.
We caught up with Jason for a special Q & A to learn more about his work and how companies like 3cycle have a social purpose of making the world a better place.
What can you tell us about yourself and your degree program?
I’m a third-year student in the computer science and business double degree program, pursuing concentrations in artificial intelligence and strategic management. I like to say that means I’m lucky enough to have a bit of technical skill and a bit of business founder in me! I was raised in Hamilton, Ontario.
Can you tell us about your start-up, 3cycle? What are the motivations behind the business? What are your thoughts on business as a force for good and business with a social purpose?
I’ve been 3D printing for eight years, and almost as soon as I started, I noticed a massive problem around the plastic waste it created. Over the years and through the pandemic, my interest in the technology and this problem expanded, as has the widespread adoption of 3D printing. The problem was growing, and something had to be done!
3cycle aims to address the global plastic waste crisis by introducing an effortless circle supply chain in 3D printing for hobbyists and community organizations. These small-scale users make up most of the market but have no alternatives for their plastic waste other than the landfill.
I think self-sustaining social enterprises have enormous potential for good. The approaches and methodologies used in business have strong applications in social impact, and by orienting organizations to focus equally on people, planet and profits, we can make a huge difference in the world.
What inspired your entrepreneurial spirit? Are there any role models or mentors you look up to or who influenced your work?
I’ve been creating things for as long as I can remember. Most of the time, it’s been electronics, hardware, and software-based projects. I tried my hand at entrepreneurship previously in high school and enjoyed the wide range of possibilities that came with it.
I’m personally not big on role models. A lot of the time, it’s easy to get caught up by survivorship bias and lose sight of the many people who did everything right and didn’t find the same success as celebrity entrepreneurs. I take inspiration from the people around me who are also doing amazing, challenging things. I’ve been lucky enough to find a lot to be inspired by in my peers.
You are involved in so many different things in your life as a student and in business. How do you juggle so many commitments?
I get this question all the time. I choose to work on initiatives that I genuinely enjoy and strongly align with my values and goals. In this way, I feel like much of what I do gives me energy instead of taking it away. I love 3D printing, and getting to connect with dozens of other hobbyists who share the same passion has been very exciting and fulfilling. In a sense, it’s just a nice side effect that I get to use that research to inform my offering at 3cycle.
What’s next for you? Where do you see yourself in five years? In ten?
I love solving complex problems in technology strategy and working with talented people. At the moment, I’m exploring a career in management consulting, but I intend to take my entrepreneurial spirit with me wherever I go! In the future, I’d love to impact the strategic direction of large technical organizations while positively impacting the world.