Did you know that this coming October is Small Business Month? BC Business has already started preparing for it with their recent article on university based entrepreneurship programs. They discuss how programs like Venture Connection are supporting the success of local student entrepreneurs and contributing to the growth of the innovation ecosystem throughout the province.
SFU led the trend in 2008 with Venture Connection, a non-curricular program that provides workshops, competitions and networking opportunities. While there’s no attached fund to provide financing for successful student entrepreneurs, one of the program’s goals is to guide teams to the point where they’re in a strong position to seek venture-capital investment.
Matias Marquez, co-founder of Buyatab Online Inc., started developing his idea for an online gift-card marketplace in 2008 as a student at SFU. The company, which allows users to buy and give gift cards digitally, expanded its list of participating brands in 2012 to 130, including Cineplex and Boston Pizza. Marquez believes the SFU program—and, specifically, the support he received from mentor-in- residence and angel investor Jim Derbyshire—has been crucial to his success. “You don’t know what you’re doing,” he says. “The conversations are massively valuable. It really helps bring down the probability of failure.”
You can find the full article by David Godsall, on the BC Business website: "Accelerating Academics"