Entrepreneurship Graduate Internship (eGrad)

  • Graduate
  • 1 Semester
  • Any

Open to all current SFU Graduate Students … any Faculty, any Master or PhD degree program.

The Entrepreneurship Graduate Internship is a unique and valuable opportunity for students to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and take part in paid work integrated learning through exploration, launch and/or growth of an idea, startup or venture with support from SFU’s Charles Chang Institute for Entrepreneurship. 


The significance of this opportunity goes beyond the paid salary – with access to workspace, mentoring, workshops, service providers and other business development opportunities, the cost to the Chang Institute to provide you this experience is significantly beyond the paid salary, and the experience you gain and networks you build is invaluable. 


Domestic or international graduate students from any faculty in good academic and financial standing at SFU.

As an eGrad applicant, one of the following situations will apply and the associated approvals will be required: 

  1. For Faculties with graduate Coop programs as part of the degree requirements, registration in Co-op and completion of required Bridging Online (BOL) courses.  If you are not already registered, talk to your co-op office about fast-track for eGrad.
  2. For Faculties with no graduate Coop programs or there is no requirement to register with a Coop office, approval will be required from your Faculty and/or Department Head that eGrad satisfies the work/internship requirement for your graduate degree.
  3. For graduate students with optional or no requirement of a work term as part of their degree program, approval from your academic supervisor and/or Department Head will be required. 

Minimum 25% actual / intended ownership or management control of the business held by SFU students, staff, faculty, or recent alumni (within 2 years of graduation).

The business will not have exceeded $500,000 annual revenue or received $1,000,000 in total investment to be considered eligible.

All paid team members must be the legal age of majority in BC (i.e. 19 years or older).

Responsibilities of the Graduate Student


Academic Advisor – university administration staff who are responsible for understanding degree graduation requirements and providing advice to students on course selection and other activities in order to fulfill their degree requirements.

Academic Supervisor – generally university Faculty who conduct research and recruit students to conduct their research. These students are accepted into a Masters or Doctorate of Philosophy program.

Key Steps prior to Applying:

  • Secure approvals or permissions from their academic supervisor or appropriate advisor to apply to the eGrad internship.

  • Confirm eligibility to work in Canada (e.g. Canadian citizenship, current work permit, etc.).

  • For MANDATORY work placements as part of their graduate degree requirements – the applicant confirms with the appropriate Faculty administrator or Academic advisor that the eGrad Internship will satisfy these requirements.

  • For OPTIONAL work placements as part of their graduate degree requirements – the applicant acknowledges and confirms that accepting and completing the eGrad Internship will extend their convocation date.


What do we consider when reviewing your application?  We look for:

1. Applicants that have a properly structured and well thought out idea or business. It should be clear how your idea or business will serve customers (or societal need, if a not-for-profit). Back up your idea or business with credible statistics, market research, or first-hand customer discovery that proves there is a need for your product/service.

2. We also pay close attention to the progress you’ve made so far (you do not need to be in revenue, but we like to see some growth or traction since you started), your goals for the future, and the uniqueness and innovative qualities of your product or service.

3. Other things we consider are the overall impact of your venture, how coachable you are, and the suitability of the market you have chosen.

4. Prior engagement with the Chang Institute is helpful and showing a need for the resources offered (i.e., is this an opportunity you would be able to access without the paid work term, workspace and mentoring?).  Startups in significant revenue will be considered but may instead be offered an unpaid eGrad term (all other resources still apply).

MITACS Accelerate Entrepreneur Program

Mitacs Accelerate Entrepreneur funds graduate students to further develop their research or technology at the core of their start-up business.

For eligible graduate students, there is an opportunity to submit a project proposal to be considered for additional funding support from Mitacs for a combined total eGrad salary of $13,000 ($6,500 Chang Institute + $6,500 Mitacs). The project proposal is a separate process and must be submitted directly to Mitacs and will be evaluated as part of their process.

There are specific eligibility and criteria to be eligible for the Mitacs Accelerate Entrepreneur program – click to learn more and to download the template for an Accelerate Project Proposal. The Chang Institute is working with Mitacs on this collaboration but specific questions should be sent to: accelerate@mitacs.ca. (Being granted an eGrad work term does not influence the decision or change the criteria for applicants to the Mitacs Accelerate Entrepreneur program – this is a separate approvals process).


Applications are now CLOSED.

eGrad includes a $11,500 salary while you work on your entrepreneurial venture. For questions, please email us at cip_changinstitute@sfu.ca.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is eGrad?Students from any Faculty interested in creating and growing their own start-up can receive a $11,500 salary over a 15-week work term, and depending on the degree, it could fulfill a graduation requirement. In addition, students gain access to mentors, specialized workshops and co-working space at SFU Surrey Venture Connection, while developing their start-up on a full-time basis.
Am I eligible?SFU graduate students from any faculty are eligible for this Chang Institute eGrad program. Only Masters or PhD graduate students are being considered (Certificate, Diploma and other degree types are not eligible for the eGrad program).
I am an international student on study permit in Canada. Am I still eligible for eGrad?Please consult with your Faculty or Department office as well as SFU Student Services – International Student Advising and Programs
What startup support will I receive during my eGrad?As a part of eGrad, you will be enrolled in Venture Connection’s Incubator program where you will receive: 

·         A $11,500 salary over the 15 week work term
·         Networking opportunities
·         Specialized start-up venture workshops
·         Vancouver area entrepreneurship event tickets (subject to availability and cost)
·         Weekly mentoring with one of their Mentors

The value in the eGrad internship is not the monetary one but the intrinsic value of the opportunity which will introduce you to all the entrepreneurship supports available at SFU and to the entrepreneurship networks and contacts within greater Vancouver.
How many eGrad internships will be offered?Annually, there will be one (1) eGrad internship offered to a SFU graduate student.
What is the process?Interested applicants will complete an online form. Please read below on “Before Applying” to become familiar with the other steps prior to starting your application. Approximately one week after the deadline, applications will be reviewed and a small group of applicants will be selected to virtually present their application to a competition panel. The eGrad internship will be offered to the successful applicant within one week of their presentation.

Before Applying

When should I apply?Application period opens mid-January or earlier. Start the eGrad process as early as possible even BEFORE applications open as students MUST complete the SPARK workbook and meet with a mentor prior to applying.

During your graduate degree program, work terms might be mandatory, optional or not required. eGrad work terms will likely occur during the May to August semester, September to December semester or a customized, contiguous 15-week schedule, based on consensus agreement (by the student, Academic Advisor, Academic Supervisor and/or Faculty). In all cases, please consult your Academic Advisor or Academic Supervisor.

It is recommended for interested students to start the SPARK program as early as possible even before the application period opens.
What is Coop?Cooperative Education (Coop) is an educational program that formally integrates the students’ academic studies with relevant, paid work experience. SFU Cooperative Education has received accreditation from Cooperative Education and Work Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL). SFU Coop is a member of World Association for Cooperative Education (WACE), Co-operative Education and Work Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL), and Association for Cooperative Education in British Columbia / Yukon (ACE). For additional information regarding the SFU Coop for Graduate Students, click here.
My Faculty is not listed or does not have a Coop program – what do I do?Not all SFU Faculties have a Coop program but before you apply to the eGrad program, please contact your graduate program advisor to confirm.
Will the eGrad term qualify for my graduate degree’s mandatory work placement?Good question – it is very, very important that you receive confirmation from your academic advisor and / or academic supervisor for your program before applying.
My graduate degree does not have a work term option or requirement – can I still apply to eGrad?Yes, you can still apply BUT: 1) if your program requires a thesis, then you will need a letter of support from your academic supervisor outlining their support and acknowledging your absence for 15 weeks while you are on the eGrad work term; or, 2) if your program is non-thesis, then a letter of support from your academic advisor acknowledging a delay in your convocation date.
I have an idea for a venture but it is not related to my research with my academic supervisor. Am I still eligible and when should I apply?Because your idea is not related to your research, your academic supervisor will likely require you to finish your academic courses and thesis research before applying. Transparency with your academic supervisor is of the utmost importance and you must receive a letter of support from your academic supervisor. It is recommended to apply for eGrad and start your work term before your thesis defence. As well, the work term must be at least 15 consecutive weeks as this provides the most benefit to you.

eGrad Work Term

I have been selected for eGrad – now what?Congratulations!
For graduate Coop programs:
1) Notify your home Coop Program
2) Enroll in a Coop practicum course
3) Enroll in any preparatory courses through the Coop program
4) Speak to your Coop program advisor about dropping academic courses, if any.

For graduate mandatory & optional internship programs or thesis programs:
1) Notify your academic advisor and / or academic supervisor

If eligible, apply for Mitacs Accelerate Entrepreneur program. Click here for details on the program and the application process.
Can I take courses during my work term?No. eGrad work term consists of full-time hours (35 hours per week) for 15 consecutive weeks. As a student entrepreneur, you will likely devote most of your time to your venture when you should focus on all aspects of creating or building your start-up. Courses can create work overload and can hinder the growth of your start-up and your learning during the work term.
What mentorship support will I receive?eGrad students receive dedicated mentorship on a weekly basis from our incubator, Coast Capital Venture Connection!
Where will I be working?Students receive access to a co-working space during their eGrad internship. The Chang Institute has two office spaces – one at SFU Surrey, and the other in Vancouver at the Charles Chang Innovation Centre. Students are expected to be present in the Chang Institute office at least 80% of the time, with a minimum of 2 days per week at the Surrey office.
Are there any additional commitments?eGrad students are automatically enrolled in the Entrepreneurial Competencies Club, a great place to learn and discuss entrepreneurial ideals, successes and failures from some of business’ greats, and network with Venture Connection teams. Participants listen to and discuss entrepreneurial stories shared via podcast. The sessions are hosted by Venture Connection mentor. These weekly sessions are a great way to build the entrepreneurial mindset and to apply it to a business or idea. 
Can I break up my eGrad work term?No. This is a full-time position as you would in any position at an organization. The main reason is to monitor sustained development of your venture and reaching milestones set between you and your assigned mentor during the work term. Any prolonged interruption or pause can inhibit this trajectory.
What do I need to complete my eGrad work term?Start of the term: learning objectives, setting expectations, developing goals & milestones

Middle of the term: check-in with stakeholders (e.g. academic supervisor)

End of the term: presentation (to eGrad review panel), self-evaluation, eGrad feedback
How will I receive payment during my work term?In most cases, you will receive a bi-weekly salary through SFU payroll which, over the eGrad work term, will be 8 pay periods.
How can I get the most out of my eGrad internship?To get the most value out of the eGrad experience, we recommend taking full advantage of the resources available to you. Whether it be the mentorship, Entrepreneurial Competencies Club, opportunities to collaborate with fellow incubator clients and change makers in our spaces, there is never a shortage of options! All we ask is that you remain open to learning new skills. Teachability is important, especially in the eGrad program!
Are there any vacation days?Vacations days will be available as per BC Employment Law. Extended vacations or prolonged absences will not be permitted so eGrad may not be the right fit for you. Students are encouraged to apply when they can meet the attendance requirements. 

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