You might have caught a glimpse of the colourful signs around SCH or heard talk of last term’s Concept $5K Finals, but what exactly is Concept by Velocity and what have we been up to on campus?

Crowd at F19 Concept $5K Finals

In September, we burst onto the scene at the University of Waterloo, with the launch of our unique pre-incubator program and engaged with 4,039 students! The goal being to fuel an entrepreneurial spirit on campus and help turn those students with business ideas into founders. In addition, we offered general entrepreneurship funding, knowledge and coaching that support both aspiring founders and those who wanted to enhance their skills. Concept replaced previous on-campus offerings by Velocity, optimizing services and support exclusively for students.

So, what happened in Fall 2019?
  • 165 students booked a total of 323 coaching sessions with 18 experienced startup mentors
  • A team of four Student Entrepreneurship Coaches led peer coaching and entrepreneurship events in residence
  • 518 students attended an Intro Session, which helped them develop entrepreneurial skills and grow their network
  • We provided over $25K in funding for student projects through Microfunding and the Concept $5K Grant. The Concept $5K Grant awards four $5,000 grants three times a year through pitch competitions. Read about last term’s winners, and mark in your calendar that applications for Winter open January 27, and close February 16.
  • Structured programs to guide students through the startup journey included Concept Science and the Capstone Stream.
    • Concept Science provides resources and guidance for students and faculty working on science-related projects and is offered in conjunction with the Faculty of Science. Join the five current teams and apply.
    • Capstone Stream provides students completing their fourth-year design projects with access to a variety of supports, including workshops, mentorship, and funding. We have over 100 students participating, and there is still time to opt-in.
What’s happening this term? Anything new?

We are continuing on with everything mentioned above, but have a couple of new initiatives that may pique your interest! For a fun night of games, contests, and snacks, come out to the Winter Term Kickoff on the evening of Thursday, January 16 in CMH. We’ve switched up some of our Intro Sessions, offering new topics and speakers. Some of January, February and March’s fascinating topics include a co-op job fair, a panel highlighting entrepreneurial women, and a workshop to determine whether an idea is a business. 

New this term is the Graduate Student Stream, which is available to all grad students and postdocs at the University of Waterloo! The program includes a panel discussion, meet & greet mixer and unique workshops on knowledge translation, IP and pitch coaching. The Graduate Student Stream concludes in a pitch competition, where a student can win 5,000$! Opt-in for the Winter 2020 stream closes on January 31.

Another funding option specifically for grad students is the Graduate Student Startup Fund. It’s back for its second year and is made possible through the generosity of Sam Pasupalak, a successful Velocity Incubator alum. Students have the chance to win $20,000 to take their research to the next level. Applications open February 24 and close March 16.

Whether you plan to start a project, work for a startup, compete in a pitch competition, or are just curious about starting a business – there is something for you! For a full list of all upcoming events and deadlines, be sure to check out our events calendar or sign-up for our weekly newsletter (we write really good emails BTW).

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