What is Coast Capital Savings Venture Connection?
As part of SFU Innovates and reporting to SFU's Director of Entrepreneurship, Coast Capital Savings Venture Connection is a university-wide initiative offering entrepreneurship training services and opportunities for students, staff, faculty members and recent alumni. We work in collaboration with all faculties and departments, such as the Beedie School of Business, Faculty of Applied Sciences, School of Communication Arts and Technology and Work Integrated Learning, and many others around the university.
The program is supported by professional staff, including Mentors-in-Residence hired from industry with direct entrepreneurial experience.
What is an incubator?
A business incubator program provides support, mentorship, and services to entrepreneurs in order to assist them in navigating the difficult first stages in creating a successful business.
We provide assistance to entrepreneurs at SFU through our various programming, as well as help to inspire and encourage the entrepreneurship community throughout the university. We are able to do this completely free of charge to our clients thanks to the generous support of our sponsors.
Who can get involved?
Students at all levels (Undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, post-doc), faculty members, staff, as well as recent alumni are welcome to participate in Coast Capital Savings Venture Connection’s programs, though access to the Early-Stage Incubator is through an intake panel and by invitation-only after completion of the SPARK program
We support speaker requests from instructors in any faculty, and partner with departments and faculties across the university on programming.
Our volunteers come from all walks of industry, as mentors, subject-matter-experts and business advisors.
What can Coast Capital Savings Venture Connection do for me?
We provide training, networking and hands-on learning experiences.
We provide support for students exploring entrepreneurship, and business development services for student and recent-alumni ventures from initial idea through to business validation. Support programs include an Early-stage Business Incubator, mentorship, speaker events, competitions, networking, workshops and seminars.
There is no charge for our services and we don’t take any equity.
We encourage you to complete your studies while you explore entrepreneurship. For those students wanting to take time out to explore a full-time venture, we offer a co-op option for undergraduates and an MBA internship.
What can't Coast Capital Savings Venture Connection do for me?
We don’t provide financing to startups, but do help ventures get investor-ready.
We don’t make decisions for you. We provide you with learning opportunities, feedback, encouragement, introductions and best practices – ultimately all decisions to do with your startup are up to you.
I’m not a Business student; can I still join Coast Capital Savings Venture Connection?
YES! We are a university-wide program offering entrepreneurship training services and opportunities for students and recent alumni from EVERY faculty (as well as staff and faculty members). You don’t even have to ‘join’ to take part in many of our activities. Anyone from SFU can participate with Mentor Meet, take the Spark program, or attend our events. Just the early-stage incubator, co-op and venture intern programs are by application/invitation-only, following successful intake panels.
I have a great idea and want to join the incubator; how do I do this?
The best way to get started is by attending a Mentor Meet session. You’ll get the chance to sit down with one of our Mentors-In-Residence to get help with developing your idea, setting milestones, as well as hear a bit more about our programs. Once we see that you have met the requirements, we can admit you into the program.
I don’t have any great ideas yet, but I just know I want to be an entrepreneur; where should I start?
I’m an experienced entrepreneur or business advisor and love working with students. Can I volunteer?
YES! We have an active network of volunteers who act as class speakers, are featured panelists at speaker events, work with student project teams, sit on review panels and competition juries, and provide one-off or ongoing advice to our Incubator teams.
Send your CV or LinkedIn profile to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll look for suitable volunteer opportunities.
Where are you located?
While our office is located at SFU Surrey (SP 290), programs are delivered on all three SFU campus locations. Incubator teams meet with their mentors and business advisors throughout Greater Vancouver.
How much does it cost to be in the program?
Can I still apply if I’m not an SFU student?
How much experience do the mentors have? How do I know they be helpful?
Our mentors are among some of the top business mentors in Canada (seriously, Jim Derbyshire was rated among Canada’s top 10 business mentors by Startup Canada!). All of our Mentors-In-Residence (MIR) have years of experience around building successful companies, and together they provide a diverse spectrum of industry expertise. You can read about all of the mentors in our people section.
What type of companies do you support?
We do not target a specific type of venture or industry; rather we aim to support all entrepreneurs, across every faculty of the university. If you take a look through our clients we work with everyone from cupcakes, superhero-themed parties, analytics companies, digital media, medical devices, materials science to cultural magazines and everything in between.
My company already has customers and revenues, should I still apply?
YES! We support ventures at every phase from early idea to functioning growth businesses, readying you for investment, graduation to an Accelerator program or ensuring you have reached break-even before we launch you off. Even if you already have revenue you will still be able to benefit from our services and working with our mentors. Just take a look at the success stories.
I am still not sure if I should join, whom can I talk to and learn more about Coast Capital Savings Venture Connection?
Just get in touch! We love to chat, so check out our contact info and feel free to phone, drop us an email, or stop by (either to a mentor meet session or our office at SFU Surrey).
Does Coast Capital Savings Venture Connection compete with existing academic programs at SFU?
Venture Connection works closely with for-credit academic programs like Tech e@SFU, the invention to Innovation program and any program or class needing mentors in the classroom, guest speakers or other entrepreneurial support. We also work with the Co-op program to offer Venture Co-op and the Tech e@SFU Co-op (which both provide co-op credits) and the Beedie School of Business for an MBA Venture Intern program (which provides credit for industry internship). Some of our mentors and team are visiting professors, others are frequent class speakers or panelists, one is Director of SFU's Industry Engagement and another is Director of Entrepreneurship at SFU.
Still have questions?
If you haven't found an answer to your question above, you can either submit it here (we will get back to you as soon as we can) or contact us directly.