2018 IDEA Sandbox Stories - Emily MacRitchie

By Carson Deveau


Emily MacRitchie could always see herself becoming an entrepreneur once she was done obtaining her mechanical engineering degree from Dalhousie University.

“I already have the problem solving skills and the design ability to become an entrepreneur in the future, so why not,?” she said.

MacRitchie understands that in order to become a successful entrepreneur that she’d have to become more well-rounded and improve on her business skills. But unfortunately for her, there are not a lot of opportunities for her to improve those skills as engineer students do barely any business courses throughout their degree, she said.

Luckily for MacRitchie, she stumbled across an opportunity.

While sitting in her design lecture one day, Dalhousie mechanical engineering professors and IDEA Sandbox instructors Clifton Johnston and Holly Pharaoh came to talk to her class about the boot camp. After hearing that the boot camp not only included other engineering students who are at different points of their degrees, but also included business and design students, MacRitchie was in.

“I applied for it (the IDEA Sandbox boot camp) in the hope of gaining experience and learn a bit from working with different people from different disciplines.”

 Throughout the six week long boot camp, MacRitchie worked in groups with business and design students on a variety of different projects, including creating a collaborative card game called “Bomb Disposal Unit” and her final project where her group had to design a new ergonomic diaper bag for today’s parents.

“I really liked working with the business and design students during the boot camp. I learned a lot simply just from listening to their perspectives whenever we’d be working on the same problem.”

From this, MacRitchie said her business sense has improved drastically since she started the boot camp and her dream to become an entrepreneur is slowly becoming her reality.

“There is still a lot I have to learn and understand about the business side of being an entrepreneur. But I feel like I’m a lot more well prepared than I would have been if I didn’t apply for the boot camp.”    

Emily MacRitchie, left, presents her idea for a board game to her instructors at the IDEA Sandbox boot camp. 

Emily MacRitchie, left, presents her idea for a board game to her instructors at the IDEA Sandbox boot camp.