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Venture Connection Founder Honoured

April 24, 2014

The Venture Connection team is very proud to announce that Justine Bizzocchi, a driving force behind the creation of the Venture Connection program, has been selected as a nominee for the 2014 YWCA Women of Distinction Awards in the Entrepreneurship category. Known for her inventive, entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, concern for others, and exceptional networking and project management skills; Justine has been responsible for launching numerous innovative programs and initiatives across SFU.

“Justine was the primary driving force behind Venture Connection and should be recognized for the invaluable contribution it continues to confer on our larger community”

Bob de Wit, CEO
Greater Vancouver Homebuilders Association

In 2008, Justine saw the growing need for supporting entrepreneurs at the University and helped to establish Venture Connection as the first early-stage business incubator program supporting student entrepreneurship at a BC University. Today the program, which started at SFU Surrey in partnership with Coast Capital Savings, has helped launch more than 120 new businesses and has provided mentoring, training and support services to more than 3,100 student and alumni entrepreneurs.

“Justine has the rare ability to boundary span between very different communities including the academic and business community and the creative and technology sectors. This ability and her incredible persistence has helped to foster new connections and possibilities between people across many faculties and departments, across all three SFU campuses, and has helped to create an extensive network with the business and government community.”

Joanne Curry, Associate VP
SFU External Relations

In addition to Venture Connection, Justine has made significant contributions to the local entrepreneurship community as a founder of the SFU Technology Business Mentorship (TBM) program and as a returning judge and mentor for the BCIC-New Ventures BC competition. The TBM program, which is open to the public, provides a venue for connecting local entrepreneurs with experienced mentors and investors whose feedback will advance the development and financing of new technology-based ventures. Her contributions led to the expedited growth of many emerging technology companies, especially those focused on commercializing digital media. In January 2012, Justine retired from the SFU Innovation Office (IO) where she was a technology manager since April 2003.

Justine has also been awarded SFU’s Staff Achievement Award for Innovation in January 2011. Everyone at Venture Connection would like to wish Justine the best of luck as we look towards the announcement of the award winners on June 3, 2014 during the awards dinner.


Now in their 31st year, the Women of Distinction Awards honours individuals and organizations whose outstanding activities and achievements contribute to the well-being and future of our community. To learn more about the awards and view the list of nominees, please see the official YWCA press release.

To see the list of other WoD Nominees from SFU, see "SFU applauds its YWCA WoD nominees".


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