Our Mentors-in-Residence are the foundation of our program, guiding our startups to success since 2008.

Get to know all of the mentors who've been supporting SFU entrepreneurs over the past decade.

Mentors & Experts

Albert Seah

Ben Chow

Connie Ekelund

Gabe Kalmar

Iain Begg

Jennifer Thompson

Lynn Warburton

Phil Holland

Andrew Tait

Bob de Wit

Dave Thomas

Guy Flavelle    

Jack Gin

Jill Earthy

Michelle Sinclair    

Rob Malec

Tim Ames

Dr. Arman Abdalkhani

Clay Braziller

Doug Fast

Hugh MacNaught

Jeff Kuypers

Jim Derbyshire

Peter Payne

Roger Flowerdew

Chris Stairs


Transitioning into the business phase, I was paired up with mentor Dave Thomas and again provided a wealth of resources that has allowed the company to get to where it is today. The Venture Connection program has benefited me immensely in allowing me to maintain focus and not make possible mistakes I would have without being in the program.

Over and above that, Dave Thomas has provided me with a number of contacts that have led to significant knowledge and resources to compete in my industry. Over the last 16 months the company has gone from 1 to 26 clients, gaining a strong reputation in the hockey industry and is now increasing revenue at a consistent basis.

Cliff Mander, Founder, CKM Sports & HockeyData

(March 2013)


Jim Derbyshire was a refreshing cold shower of reality that our team of engineers needed to realize that business won't just come to our doorstep, no matter how good we are. The mentor relationship that Venture Connection provides is a safe sounding board for exploring our ideas, issues, and goals before we make any rash or regrettable decisions. Jim's experience and straightforward yet welcoming demeanour has been truly appreciated and is something we attribute to our success as Perkuna Engineering approaches our 2nd anniversary.

Kody Baker, Co-Founder, VeloMetro (formerly Perkuna Engineering)

(December 2013)


Being a health-tech hardware company the mentorship that Venture Connection provides has been instrumental in making sure the R&D we are doing right now will successfully translate to manufacturing and regulatory approvals down the line. Having industry specific mentorship has really helped us avoid mistakes that would cost us down the line.

William Brenner, Founder, Orello Hearing Technologies

(January, 2017)


From my first meeting with Dave Thomas, my mentor, I knew that the Venture Connection experience was going to push me to another level of business planning for my startup The support and strategic guidance has been above and beyond what I could’ve imagined, covering valuation, pitching, financials and so much more.

Michelle Martin, CEO,

(June 2014)