Office of the President

Andrew Petter, President and Vice-Chancellor

Petter's Perspective: Notes from the President


Congratulations 2015 Venture Prize Winners

February 16, 2015

The founders of three SFU student startups are celebrating as winners of the fourth annual Venture Connection Coast Capital Savings Venture Prize competition.

The $3000 first place prize went to Empower Operations, headed by SFU Mechatronic Systems Engineering Professor Gary Wang and students George Cheng and Geoff Groos. Their company produces simulation software that reduces the need for prototypes, thus lowering product design, development and testing costs.

Second place ($1500) was awarded to TerraTap Technologies, led by D’Arcy Smith, Judy Hamilton, Nahum Silva and Gwen Schwartz. Their product ‘neartuit’ allows exhibit curators to increase visitor engagement by delivering customized mobile content.

The Venture Idea Prize went to Mr. Arancino, a company that serves up traditional Sicilian risotto balls. 'In kind' prizes valued over $31,000 were also distributed to competitors.

As Canada’s ‘engaged university,’ SFU is proud to be a leader in encouraging and supporting emerging entrepreneurs and innovators.

SFU’s Venture Connection is Canada’s first university-wide student incubator program. Since its inception in 2008, over 3200 students have received support for their business ideas and over 130 new enterprises have been launched.

Thanks to the award benefactors, especially Coast Capital Savings, who has been a key supporter of Venture Connection.

And congratulations to the award winners.  We wish them and all others who entered the competition the very best in their innovative thinking and entrepreneurial endeavours.


George Cheng, Dr. Gary Wang, and Geoff Groos from Empower Operations (front L-R) with Venture Connection Mentor-In-Residence Iain Begg (back).