With a boost of $200,000 from the BC Innovation Council and a comprehensive new campus strategy, UBC is taking steps to make it an unquestioned leader in entrepreneurial activity.
Those benefitting include UBC technology ventures that are part of entrepreneurship@UBC, a program that offers an accelerator program, mentor network, incubator resources, online resources, and access to seed funding, as well as entrepreneurship courses to undergraduate students from all faculties in partnership with the Sauder School of Business.
“UBC has a well-earned reputation as a center for research and innovation,” said Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services Andrew Wilkinson. “Supporting BCIC’s new funding for e@UBC will help develop and launch the next generation of entrepreneurs to come out of UBC’s classrooms.”
Since September, students and faculty have registered in excess of 100 new venture ideas, representing new technology applications for areas as diverse as energy efficient gas compressors, robotics, medical devices and digital media. (See backgrounder for more detail.)
“The level of innovation here at UBC is exceptional, and we are excited about the opportunity to help transform these ideas into successful companies,” said Pascal Spothelfer, UBC Vice President, Communications and Community Partnership.
The BCIC funding will advance the e@UBC program, including development of an entrepreneurial leadership network to help foster campus innovation and increase the number of new companies spun off from student and faculty research.
“We’re confident this is a recipe for success,” said Greg Caws, President and CEO of BCIC. “It is particularly significant that the expanded e@UBC program helps participants to align their commercialization efforts with the needs of their target market early in the commercialization process.”
Two UBC ventures involved with e@UBC:
Aspect Biosystems is a UBC-led team developing a novel bioprinting system for the fabrication of 3D biological tissues. Aspect is creating 3D tissue constructs that provide improved physiological models for drug testing. See video here.
“Taking part in the e@UBC program has changed how we will go forward,” said Konrad Walus, associate professor, UBC Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering. “What we’re doing now is more talking to customers, potential customers and users, figuring out what really makes sense for them, what will add value to them.”
Kairama is working to fundamental lower the cost of delivering compressed natural gas to fleet vehicles. Their simple, low cost compressor is dramatically cheaper and more energy efficient than other compressors currently in use compressing mains gas into compressed natural gas for use by NG vehicles.
“e@UBC helped Kairama move a technology developed in a garage to a commercial venture by providing experienced business guidance and seed capital,” said Mike Jackson, CEO and Kairama co-founder and former UBC researcher. “We now enable courier companies to use natural gas to fuel their vehicles instead of diesel or gasoline, which greatly reduces a huge contributor to their operating costs and cleans up the air too.”
See other ventures from the entrepreneurship@UBC program at http://entrepreneurship.ubc.ca/our-ventures/.
About the BC Innovation Council
BCIC accelerates the commercialization of technology in the priority sectors of the BC Jobs Plan, through the support of startups and the development of entrepreneurs. Together with its partners, BCIC delivers programs and initiatives that promote startup growth and speed to market, resulting in jobs, revenue and economic development. BCIC is a Crown Agency of the Province of British Columbia.
Entrepreneurship@UBC strives to maximize the number of successful ventures from UBC using an unprecedented combination of education, mentorship, venture creation and seed funding. Its initiatives strengthen the ecosystem that supports emerging ventures and fosters links with business communities.
For example, the Accelerator program is an intensive 8-week program focused on customer identification, engagement, and business model optimization. For-credit entrepreneurship courses are offered to students across all faculties, in partnership with the Sauder School of Business. Events ranging from appointments at “open office” sessions to student led events like the Startup Weekend, match new entrepreneurs with experienced mentors who can provide support and perspective. The e@UBC Seed Fund is a key source of early stage risk capital for high potential businesses in the e@UBC ecosystem.
Visit entrepreneurship@UBC for information about its successful ventures or how to join the entrepreneurship@UBC community.
About UBC’s Innovation Strategy
See President Stephen Toope’s five-point strategy to help UBC drive innovation in the B.C. economy: http://entrepreneurship.ubc.ca/ubc-announces-strategy-to-help-boost-economic-impact-of-innovation-in-b-c/