1:1 Coaching

The best way to learn about growing your ideas is from those who have successfully done so.

Our network of coaches includes a variety of individuals made up of founders, small business owners, early employees from successful startups, and experienced entrepreneurs. They are available to meet on-on-one or in a small group to discuss your startup ideas and aspirations and help guide you to turning your concept into a reality.  

In addition to these fantastic coaches, we have close relationships with the other support units on campus. To provide the best resources possible, you may be referred to one of our partners whose expertise best match with your needs.  

First Coaching Session

Looking to meet with a Concept Coach for the first time to discuss your startup business ideas, ask specific entrepreneurship questions, and/or get feedback on an upcoming pitch? Click below to request a meeting with a Concept Coach.

Request a session

Returning Students

Have you already met with a coach and are looking to book another session? Click below to set up another meeting, with the same coach you spoke with, or a new Concept Coach of choice. Not sure who else you can chat with? check out our Coaching page to see their bios.

Meet with a coach

Check out our roster of experienced coaches below. Determine who may be able to best meet your needs, and help you make the impact you dream of.  If you aren’t sure, enter into the Innovation Portal where a Concept representative will guide you in the right direction.

Please Note: Students who miss more than two sessions without at least eight hours notice will no longer be eligible for coaching sessions. If you need to cancel an appointment with a Coach, please make sure to do so at least 24 hours in advance by using the link in the invite or through a direct email to the Coach.

They’re Friendly, We Promise

Our Coaches

Abdallah El-Falou
Abdallah El-Falou

Abdallah loves strategizing to validate ideas, assess feasibility, create minimalistic prototypes, and find product-market fit. He’s also trying to perfect a pour-over cup of coffee.

Expertise: Problem/idea formulation, pitch coaching, hardware, science, prototyping, IP & patenting, sales

Eric Blondeel

Eric is passionate about entrepreneurship in medicine and biotech and solving real-world problems. He has a Ph.D. in chemical engineering, is a Y Combinator alum and co-founded ExVivo Labs where he was previously CTO.

Expertise: Science, problem/idea formulation, customer discovery, hardware development

Kevin Li

Kevin Li is a researcher/student coach at UWaterloo’s Problem Lab. He enjoys helping student entrepreneurs understand and articulate the problem they are trying to solve and challenging them to think beyond the obvious.

Expertise: Research, problem/idea formulation, pitch coaching

Nicole Troster

Nicole manages an award-winning accelerator program. She enjoys helping entrepreneurs to use business model innovation as well as market and user research to create opportunities for disruption.

Expertise: Service design, regulation, IP & patenting, customer discovery, pitch coaching

Lichen Zhang
Lichen Zhang

Lichen is passionate about using design to improve systems that promote privacy and data security and building delightful user experiences.

Expertise: Problem/idea formulation, pitch coaching, design

Matt Neil
Matt Neill

Matt was the co-founder of POET, a digital signage startup for three years. He is also experienced in UI design and front-end development.

Expertise: Software, prototyping, design, customer discovery, problem/idea formulation

Pablo Eder
Pablo Eder

Pablo has founded 3 payment startups in the areas of 3D printing, FinTech and content creation.

Expertise: Software, fundraising, sales

Pat Martinson
Pat Martinson

Pat has co-founded or been an early employee at four hardware startups. He’s worn many hats including roles in recruitment, project management, and supply chain.

Expertise: Hardware, prototyping, problem/idea formulation, pitch coaching, customer discovery

Rachel Pautler
Rachel Pautler

Rachel has spent the past 5 years in startups, starting from being the CEO of a Capstone project turned company, to marketing and product management.

Expertise: Science, IP, legal/incorporation, customer discovery

Youssef Helwa
Youssef Helwa

Youssef is the CEO of NERv, a medical device startup. Prior to founding NERv, he worked on another startup in the entertainment space.

Expertise: Science, IP, problem/idea formulation, legal/incorporation

Cole Powers
Cole Powers

Cole is passionate about the people side of entrepreneurship. He is the co-founder of IntelliCulture (an agriculture tech startup) and has a mix of experience in pitching, customer discovery, and building tech.

Expertise: Pitch coaching, problem/idea formulation, customer discovery, prototyping/mockups

Amr Abdelgawad

Amr is passionate about entrepreneurship and medtech. As COO at NERv, he wears multiple hats allowing him to gain experience in fundraising, pitching, business strategy, and operations.

Expertise: Sales & biz dev, customer discovery, pitch coaching, legal & IP

Paul Heidebrecht
Paul Heidebrecht

Paul directs an incubator program for peace-focused start-ups, and also supports our campus entrepreneurship ecosystem by facilitating participation in Oxford’s annual Map the System challenge and Conrad Grebel University College’s PeaceTech Living Learning Community.

Expertise: Problem & idea formulation, social impact, political engagement

Ramin Shaikhi

Ramin loves taking big problems and dissecting them down into more manageable and less scary chunks. He is the co-founder of IntelliCulture and has a strong experience in prioritizing objectives to maximize growth.

Expertise: Problem & idea formulation, pitch coaching, hardware & software development, prototyping

Ryan Chiu

Ryan enjoys working with passionate entrepreneurs who are raising capital to build their innovative ideas. He has helped founders develop best practices when pitching to VCs.

Expertise: Problem & idea formulation, early fundraising (seed & pre-seed), customer discovery

Christine Moffatt

Christine is the Entrepreneurship Librarian here at the University of Waterloo.

She can teach entrepreneurs how to research new markets, identify customer needs, and uncover valuable and unexpected information resources.

Expertise: Pitch coaching, research, talking to users

Judy Chang

Judy loves helping founders in the food and education space. She is known for her practical and empathetic approach in problem identification, user discovery, and personal growth. She has two teenage daughters, loves teaches Leadership and Entrepreneurship at Seneca College, co-founded York Region’s Food Accelerator, and is a certified Life Coach.

Expertise: Leadership skills, Food CPG industry, problem/idea formulation, pitch coaching

Eric Wu

Eric is currently Revolut’s head of financial crime technology, and is actively building and operationalizing solutions for tackling financial crime covering a global customer of over 10 million customers. He is a 2015 Waterloo math alumni.

Expertise: Fintech, process creation/improvement, organization structure, software development & prototyping

Keyma Prince

Keyma is passionate about health technology and medical research. She’s co-founded a health tech startup and held industry positions focused on human factors/usability and systems engineering for medical device development.

Expertise: Research, problem/idea formulation, customer discovery, medical device development

Jamie McQuay

Jamie is the Director of Software Innovation at PerkinElmer. He runs the Waterloo Innovation Outpost, global AI and UX/UI teams. Prior to joining PerkinElmer Jamie founded a Scientific Software company.

Expertise: Problem / idea formulation, customer discovery, software development & prototyping, deep tech

Dylan Itzikowitz

Dylan is an Associate at Expa, where he works to identify and support talented founders for Expa’s pre-seed investments. He has also created a social enterprise called The Forward Movement that promotes accessibility and inclusion for people with disabilities.

Expertise: Problem/idea formulation, pitch coaching, customer discovery

Alexander Mistakidis

Alexander is an entrepreneurial game designer and an investor at Pioneer Fund. He co-founded Gamelynx which launched games and websites to over a million people after going through Velocity and Y Combinator.

Expertise: Problem/idea formulation, customer discovery, pitch coaching, software development & prototyping

Dinuka Gunaratne

Dinuka is passionate about student success, coaching and mentorship. Over the last decade, he has worked across multiple provinces and post-secondary institutions and has supported the work of student entrepreneurs.

Expertise: Problem/idea formulation, pitch coaching, marketing, science/deep tech

Prashanth Madhi

Prashanth is an Engineering leader with a creative mindset who thrives on solving complex problems using innovative tools & techniques. He’s a Digital Consultant, Keynote Speaker & a Life Coach – focused on helping people pursuing their passions.

Expertise: Problem/idea formulation, customer discovery, pitch coaching, software development & prototyping, marketing, sales, science/deep tech

Shoma Sinha

Shoma is passionate about entrepreneurship and the innovation ecosystem. She has over a decade of experience in the ecosystem through involvement in an advanced materials startup/scale-up, as a co-founder and leader of non-profit initiatives, and as the lead of a clean-tech accelerator program.

Expertise: Problem/idea formulation, hardware development & prototyping, IP & patenting, science/deep tech, customer discovery, sales & business development

Tony Brijpaul

Tony Brijpaul is a Co-Founder and first employee of Miovision, a leader in Smart Transportation. He built the organization into a global technology company with a revenue CAGR of 38% over the last 10 years, customers in over 60 countries, and over 250 staff.

Expertise: Problem/idea formulation, legal documents & incorporation, customer discovery, pitch coaching, hardware & software development, prototyping, IP & patenting

Naudia Banton

Naudia is the Entrepreneurship and Technology Advisor at the City of Kitchener and Waterloo Region Small Business Advisor. She can be found working on entrepreneurship opportunities and helping companies start their business. She has a passion for Sustainability and Social Entrepreneurship.

Expertise: Problem/idea formulation, legal documents & incorporation, customer discovery, pitch coaching, marketing

Just getting started?

Are you looking to explore the world of entrepreneurship and innovation but aren’t quite sure where to start? Let us help guide you to the best resources and opportunities from the University of Waterloo community! Click below to enter into the Innovation Portal and start your journey today.

UWaterloo Innovation Portal