Rachel Chase

Finance and Managing Information Systems

Rachel Chase is clear that taking the Technology Entrepreneurship@SFU (tech e@SFU) program was not always easy.

“When you fail, you fail and it’s very apparent,” says Rachel. “I’ve definitely had bad days where everything has gone wrong and you just have to look failure in the face and say, ‘Ok, it’s happened, but I’ve got to keep moving.’ Not everyone wants to experience that.”

For Rachel, though, those experiences are crucial to what makes tech e@SFU so valuable. “I have a much more open mindset now and I’m way more flexible than I used to be,” she says.

Tech e@SFU is a hands-on program for third- and fourth-year Mechatronics, Beedie and Charles Chang Certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CCCIE), students. The program lasts a year, and offers students the opportunity, support and resources to form interdisciplinary teams, in order to launch their own tech venture.

The team that Rachel formed became Zennea Technologies, a company that is seeking to create the world’s smallest CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) device to treat sleep apnea. The idea came from seeing friends and relatives who suffered from the condition struggling with existing devices, which are unappealingly designed and difficult to transport.

“I brought this forward to the group and said, ‘Hey, there’s this awful looking device, and I think we can make it better.’” she says. “Everyone looked at it and did some research, and we thought there was enough white space in the market to actually build something cool.”

Rachel started out at SFU’s Beedie School of Business taking concentrations in Finance and Managing Information Systems, before becoming drawn to entrepreneurship and enrolling in the CCCIE. She believes that tech e@SFU has allowed her to apply the various skills she has learned during the BBA program.

“It really did bring in everything I’d learned,” Rachel says. “From Finance, I can try to evaluate my own company; from Management and Information Systems it’s a plethora of project management, consulting and technology management courses, and I was able to pull all that information into this project, which turned into a business.”

Having completed the tech e@SFU program, Rachel has committed to continue work on Zennea Technologies for the next year, initially through a co-op program that will pay for her for a four-month term to develop the business. Beyond that will depend on progress with the company, but it is clear that Rachel is committed to an entrepreneurial career.

“I don’t think I could be an analyst sitting at a desk, that’s for sure,” she says. “I would either look for an intrapreneur role or work in a different start-up.”

Click here to view other Innovation and Entrepreneurship profiles.