At 23 years old, Surrey's Michael Cheng wants to make a dent on the universe.
The phrase, coined by the late Steve Jobs, has been something Cheng's been striving toward ever since starting his entrepreneurial endeavours a few years ago.
Since that time, Cheng has founded a successful web design company, established a popular series of TED talks at Simon Fraser University and most recently was selected out of thousands of Canadians to be a part of The Next 36, a national program aimed at fostering tomorrow's business leaders.
"The idea behind the program is the Canadian and U.S. economy, there's a huge gap and based on research it's not because of production per capita," said Cheng, who attends Surrey's SFU campus. "The average doctor or whatnot aren't producing less, but America has all these outliers like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and those outliers make such a huge difference that it puts them ahead of their economy by so much. That's where a huge gap comes from."
As such, The Next 36 is meant to foster Canada's future outliers by bringing them together with various CEOs from all across the country, as well as providing him with $80,000 for an initiative of his choosing.
Cheng's selection is undoubtedly attributed to his young start in the web industry.
At only 22 years old, Cheng started his main entrepreneurial venture, Witty Cookie. The concept is to provide small businesses with the means to have a professional website by putting the responsibility of maintenance and hosting on Witty Cookie rather than the business in question.
"Traditionally the web design industry has been a buy and sell process. You buy a design, you get the website and the relationship is over," said Cheng.
"So what we did was break it down into small monthly payments and there's no setup fees for small business owners. The service plans start at $20 a month, and that includes design, hosting and their presence is pretty much taken care of."
As for his entrepreneurial role model, Apple founder Steve Jobs, Cheng isn't hoping to follow in his footsteps - he wants to be his own man - but greatly admires everything Jobs did during his time on this planet.
"He really never listened to anyone and was so strong in his vision that every time somebody told him he was doing the wrong thing and going in the wrong direction he just followed through and it worked out tremendously," said Cheng.
"Hopefully I'll be the first Michael Cheng."