Support Priority Project: Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Entrepreneurship, disruptive thinking and action: Increasing opportunities for participation in the innovation economy

In Canada, entrepreneurship is on the rise with one of the highest levels of activity in the world, according to data collected by Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (2015). Entrepreneurial thinking and methods are relevant not only to the creation of new ventures, but also to helping grow or fundamentally change existing companies. Corporate innovators or intrapreneurs work with the same skillset as traditional entrepreneurs who start new ventures.

The UBC Sauder School of Business offers a wide range of credit courses in entrepreneurship for students in the UBC Bachelor of Commerce and MBA programs. The school also offers many non-credit courses — which are open to students, alumni, faculty and staff — designed to help entrepreneurial development and accelerate viable commercial and social ventures.

Our goal is to foster a strong culture of entrepreneurial thinking and increase opportunities for participation in the innovation economy. These are some of the ways in which you can invest in and support our entrepreneurship activities.

  W. Maurice Young Centre for Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Research

The W. Maurice Young Centre for Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Research at UBC Sauder is currently building a research focus on understanding innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems, including what makes a local ecosystem flourish with high innovation activity (such as classic clusters in Silicon Valley, Austin and Route 128). You can help support the creation of a new case library on local innovation ecosystems, including the role of key players and entrepreneurs as well as the factors that help or hinder successful innovation. This will become an important teaching resource on innovation. The centre is also seeking sponsors for a Vancouver summit to bring thought leaders, policymakers and local talent together and ultimately develop a research database on innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems.

  COMM 466: New Venture Design

New Venture Design is a project-based undergraduate course offered by UBC Sauder in conjunction with the Faculty of Applied Science. In this course, engineering and business students work in teams to produce a viable product prototype and business plan. The goal is to provide students with the knowledge and experience to form an entrepreneurial enterprise — some of which have gone on to commercial success. Past support from donors has provided each student team with a budget of $1,500 to develop their prototype and conduct market research. The school is currently seeking $25,000 to continue supporting teams with seed capital that students are encouraged to leverage for prize money from competitions.

  Entrepreneurship @ UBC

Every year, UBC receives more than $500 million in research funding — largely untapped potential on a commercial level that could impact greater economic and social growth. Together with the university’s broad talent pool, this provides a significant opportunity for innovation.

As a university-wide initiative, entrepreneurship@UBC supports entrepreneurs from all faculties and backgrounds to take their ventures from idea to investment. The educational component of the program is delivered by faculty and instructors at UBC Sauder. You can support early stage ventures through the e@UBC Seed Fund, accelerate social venture growth through the e@UBC Impact Fund, or sponsor activities such as events, workshops, startup weekends or the e@UBC Spotlight Speaker Series.

  The Concept Fund: Getting Entrepreneurs Started

A 2015 Ipsos Reid poll conducted for RBC Small Business revealed that the top four barriers keeping many Canadians from pursuing ventures include a lack of capital, the need for reliable income, fear of failure and not knowing where to start. Support for young entrepreneurs through programs like e@UBC helps to address many of these barriers, but UBC’s new Concept Fund ensures that one of the most crucial activities of any new startup — the ability to raise very early stage seed capital — will be assisted by grants of up to $25,000 per team. This helps to advance strong emerging ideas into proof of concepts, prototypes, business models and market validation. At least one member of the venture group must be a current UBC student, faculty, staff member or recent alumni. This is the first grant a team might receive to get its idea off the ground, and donors to the fund will impact a broad group of future entrepreneurs.

  MBA Internships in Entreprenuership

Recent years have seen increasing numbers of Canadians choosing to become entrepreneurs. Through UBC Sauder’s Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship career track, full-time MBA students have an opportunity to kick-start new ventures or develop their skills within an existing company. The MBA summer internship has traditionally been about landing a paid job, but many students now choose to run with their venture or new product idea and take this valuable time to bring their entrepreneurial projects to the next stage. We are seeking funding for MBA interns who are set to utilize UBC’s resources for mentorship, support and networking while developing a minimum viable product, conducting market testing or doing a beta launch.

  Creative Destruction Lab - West

The University of Toronto’s Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) is a focused mentorship and investment program for start-up ventures offered by the Rotman School of Management. UBC Sauder is establishing CDL-West, an affiliated program for scalable companies in Vancouver and Western Canada.

The CDL concept differs from most university incubator and accelerator programs in that it focuses on supporting ventures with milestone-based activities, in addition to providing top-tier mentorship and early-stage funding. A major difference from many industry-based programs is the CDL’s ability to harness academic research and emerging technology, making it one of the most unique and exciting growth opportunities for entrepreneurs today. UBC Sauder welcomes both corporate and individual donors to join the CDL-West initiative.