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AQ Magazine: Innovation at SFU

April 01, 2013

By Barry Shell

[Excerpt]
“VentureLabs is a technology business accelerator,” says Janice OBriain, manager of SFU’s Venture Connection. “After ventures graduate from Venture Connection they can apply to VentureLabs. Venture Connection’s incubator program is for brand-new student- and recent alumni-founded start-ups, while VentureLabs and other accelerators are for companies that have financing, staff, and products in place.”

SFU Innovation Office’s venture development programs are funded in part by external partnerships with Coast Capital Savings, the Discovery Foundation, the National Research Council, B.C. Innovation Council, and Western Economic Diversification, and in part by private gifts. SFU alumni can become involved by volunteering time as a program speaker or mentor, or through a directed financial gift. (Contact Janice OBriain at jobriain@sfu.ca.)

At the core of Venture Connection’s incubator program are its mentors-in-residence. Companies in the program are assigned a lead mentor who helps them achieve their business objectives. Successful entrepreneurs such as Jim Derbyshire, Dave Thomas, and Stewart Marshall provide expert mentoring and assistance.

“We provide services to our clients across three different phases of business development – the idea, concept, and business,” says OBriain, pointing out that most Venture Connection clients are at the idea stage. “We don’t expect all ventures to succeed at this first stage. Our mission is to introduce entrepreneurship to students and support them in validating and developing ideas into new businesses.”



See the full article in the April edition of AQ magazine, or here:http://www.sfu.ca/aq/issues/april2013/features/innovation.html

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