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. 




Apply here

Test Your Idea, Build For Success

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.  

Cornerstone is a 10-week program where experienced Concept Coaches and Velocity Business Advisors will lead teams through the customer discovery and validation process. Teams will create, test and improve their business plans to zero in on a value proposition that best meets the needs of their customers. 

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:


  • Creating a robust problem statement and introduction of the lean canvas 
  • Finding customers and leading customer conversations 
  • Customer validation and testing hypotheses from the lean canvas
  • Developing and testing a minimum viable product (MVP)
  • Pitching and Profit Models

Pitch & Pivot Sessions

Teams will pitch their ideas to Velocity Business Advisors who will examine your assumptions and provide feedback on your ideas using their extensive experience in supporting startups. 

Roundtable Discussions 

These sessions are an opportunity for teams to get to know the other companies in their cohort  and have their most urgent questions answered by Concept Coaches and Velocity Business Advisors. Learn and help each other grow as you work to build your ideas. Make friends with your fellow founders and find success together as you navigate the world of entrepreneurship.

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.

Test the viability of your business and understand your customers,

Take the next step on your entrepreneurial journey with Cornerstone

Apply Today