UVic & Coast Capital Partner to Benefit Entrepreneurs

May 12, 2016

VICTORIA – University of Victoria entrepreneurs will get additional vital support and mentorship through the relaunch of its Innovation Centre for Entrepreneurs (ICE), made possible through $450,000 in funding from Coast Capital Savings Credit Union.

The renamed Coast Capital Savings Innovation Centre (CCSIC) will expand its current offerings to include seed money for new ventures and prototype development, an entrepreneurship scholarship, an additional annual business plan competition and co-op opportunities for students to work on their ideas.

The centre’s new focus will enable entrepreneurs including students, faculty and staff to develop a product or service to a more mature stage before it is presented to other incubator programs and venture capitalists. Entrepreneurial ventures can be in any industry or government sector, high tech, social, commercial or non-profit.

The CCSIC will add new elements as well as enhance current services. Now, entrepreneurs will get help for prototype development and students will have the opportunity to work full-time on their ideas, for instance by taking a semester off their academic courses to do an entrepreneurship co-op program. Money will also be available for other costs related to developing an idea, such as software, tools, workshop rental and third-party consultation.

Over the years, UVic has helped with the creation of over 60 companies, received almost 900 invention disclosures and filed more than 400 national and international patents.

Initiated in 2012 by the Gustavson School of Business, ICE expanded the following year across all disciplines to deepen its support of new ideas and strategies to deal with society’s complex challenges. The centre provides tools, expertise and space on campus to help entrepreneurs develop their ideas and includes advisers and mentors from outside the university who provide innovators valuable input and connections.

Since its inception, ICE has helped launch more than nine companies, brought 21 clients to the “incubation-stage” and met with more than 750 students, staff, faculty and recent alumni, such as Lindsay Goulet.

Goulet, founder of Hot Mama Health and Fitness, has grown her family-friendly business to 18 franchise locations since 2014 when she was provided with valuable assistance including being connected with a community mentor well-suited to her goals. “Working with ICE was pivotal,” says Goulet.

With the relaunch, Coast Capital Savings Innovation Centre becomes part of UVic’s Research Partnerships and Knowledge Mobilization (RPKM) unit, in the Office of Vice-President Research. RPKM connects UVic faculty and students with a wide range of external partners including industry, government, not-for-profit organizations, other post-secondary institutions, and Indigenous governments and organizations.

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