Velocity celebrates 10 years igniting the entrepreneurial spirit
This fall marks 10 years from the inception of Velocity, and a lot has happened since its humble beginnings as a residence. What began as a simple experiment to bring students interested in entrepreneurship together, has since expanded into programs that have helped shape and create over 300 startups. These startups have in turn become key to the fabric of Waterloo Region and the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor.
From idea to product creation to commercialization, Velocity for a decade has been committed to providing the inspiration, resources, and guidance that startups and entrepreneurs need for success. For students, Velocity has enriched their world-class education by igniting and fueling their natural entrepreneurial spirit. For startups across Canada, Velocity Garage provides the environment, mentorship, supportive peer-group, and network needed to discover, build and grow at, Canada’s most productive startup incubator.
Over this first decade, Velocity has collected a wealth of great stories of ambition and determination. Jointly, the hundreds of startups that have launched from Velocity, have raised over $815 million in private funding and employed more than 2,250 people. Current companies in the Velocity Garage hire upwards of 70 co-op students each term, allowing them to gain hands-on work experience. A measure of success for Velocity is that 68 percent of startups are still operating after five years, and 66 percent remain in Waterloo Region, contributing to the local economy. Alumni companies continue to be involved in the Velocity community and continue to give back in many ways, whether through current founder coaching, speaking engagements, general support, or financial donations.
Entrepreneurship is in UWaterloo’s DNA, and Velocity benefits highly from the strengths of the community and its productive partnerships in Waterloo Region and beyond. Director of Velocity, Jay Shah’s goal is to continue to strengthen the Velocity program and help create significant economic and social impact in Canada.
“It means problems, ideas, and solutions of global importance that can build world-stage-competitive companies around. In a tech-engulfed 21st century, it’s a matter of national economic importance to ensure a healthy portion of our economic activity comes from home-grown scaling and globally dominating firms. This a core foundation for ensuring we have a robust economic engine which in turn helps us to support and carry the values of Canada that we hold so dear.”
With plenty to celebrate, a full day of festivities is planned for Friday, September 28. In the morning, friends and community members are invited to the Velocity Garage in downtown Kitchener where 70 companies work full-time. This will be an opportunity to hear remarks from local leaders, see products that have emerged and learn what is in store for the future. In the afternoon, students, faculty and staff are invited to the University of Waterloo’s main campus for the party of the decade.
“We have no intention of stopping here; our aspiration rises. We get the benefit of building on this momentum, on building on the credibility we’ve garnered across the Corridor, the country and with investors internationally.” – Jay Shah, Director of Velocity