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General Program Overview:
It is no surprise that entrepreneurship is a fundamental pillar at the University of Waterloo. Waterloo is known for its innovation and experiential learning through programs like co-operative education. The institution is also unique in that all intellectual property that emerges from revolutionary ideas belongs to the individual, not the university.
In 2008, the University of Waterloo launched the VeloCity Residence program to provide a dormcubator environment for students to safely test-drive their entrepreneurial spirit and technology creations. Every term, VeloCity provides a sense of place for the exchange of ideas for 70 of the most ‘out-of-the-box’ thinkers. They, in turn, get the opportunity to generate thought leadership and meet successful mentors. Since its start, notable companies like Kik, Pair and Allerta (makers of the Pebble Watch) have grown into profitable businesses from the residence.
As students graduated from the residence program, they didn’t lose interest in their companies or their commitment to them. This success paved the way for a secondary program – the VeloCity Garage. This new program launched in the Communitech Hub in downtown Kitchener in 2010. In this shared workspace with a grass roots culture, student and alumni startup teams have access to a wide range of resources, mentors and each other. This combination helps the companies solve problems and validate ideas. It’s also led to connections and credibility – VeloCity companies have raised almost $40 million in funding. Notable companies include Maluuba, BufferBox and MappedIn.
In September 2012, to meet the demand for entrepreneurship on campus in areas beyond technology, VeloCity launched VeloCity Campus. This recent addition to VeloCity opens the doors to empower all students across all faculties with the resources to run their own business. Weekly workshops and networking events are key elements of the success of this program. Since the September launch, attendance continues to grow with more students inquiring about hands-on approaches to test their ideas.
The University of Waterloo continues to attract entrepreneurial, innovative students. Each term, the demand grows, and Waterloo continues to be named Canada’s most innovative university (21 years running by Maclean’s magazine). Every term, the demand for the residence program grows with a waiting list of students who wish to add to the future of technology. The VeloCity Garage has already expanded and there are increased numbers at VeloCity Campus sessions. Intellectual property protection, paired with hands-on experiential learning, has been key to the success of the VeloCity program.
Last updated November 2012