Concept Cornerstone Program logo

Cornerstone is the culmination of the student entrepreneurial process. Test your business ideas by finding and speaking directly with customers. Validate your business plan and gain firsthand knowledge of your target market while joining a network of founders to share knowledge and resources. 

Ready to take your idea to the next level?

Apply for the Winter 2022 Cornerstone Cohort!

Apply here


Test Your Idea, Build For Success

Cornerstone is a community of student founders all looking to start their careers in entrepreneurship. They are actively building out their business plans through customer discovery and validation while getting coaching and support from their fellow student teams, Concept coaches, Velocity founders and business advisors. The goal is to gain enough traction by graduation to join a top-tier accelerator/incubator program or attract investment. 

“No business plan survives its first contact with a customer” – Steve Blank 

Building a viable business plan is an iterative process. Entrepreneurs make hypotheses about their path to success and then test those ideas by speaking to customers and key opinion leaders in their industry. With new information, hypotheses are improved and retested until a business plan has been validated and customers are eager to buy the product.  

Program Overview

Cornerstone will take participants through a term long journey and provide extensive guidance to help with customer discovery and validation. The program will include:

Founder Roundtables  

Conversational weekly sessions with fellow founders and coaches to share stories and learn from their mistakes. Sometimes the best advice comes from a team that is 6 months ahead of you and these meetings will help create a network where successes (and failures) can be shared and supported. 

Guest Speakers  

Specialists and experts will give talks on important topics throughout the term such as how to reach customers, considerations when raising funding, and how to protect IP will be covered.  

Coaching 

Teams will be expected to meet with Concept coaches regularly. They will help you set goals and keep you on track. Unlike casual Concept coaching sessions, you will be held to a higher standard and they will ask the question, are you prepared to start your career in entrepreneurship? 

Cornerstone Demo Day 

At the end of the term, a virtual Demo Day will take place where teams deemed ready to pitch to an audience of investors and incubators will do so and invite those interested parties to have further discussions afterwards. 

Eligibility & Requirements

We are looking for student teams who are actively pursuing entrepreneurship as a career with the intention of launching a company while still in school or soon after graduation. Teams should have advanced past thinking that their idea is “a fun side project” and are ready to advance to the next level. These teams must meet the criteria below: 

  • At least one team member must be a current student (or post-doc) at the University of Waterloo 
  • Teams must demonstrate that they have taken meaningful steps towards exploring the potential of their idea i.e. prototyping, customer outreach, etc. 
  • Are prepared to commit significant time and effort into developing their ideas to meet business milestones 

If you have any questions about the program, eligibility, or want to discuss it further, contact John Dick.