Aileen Agada, BeBlended

Waterloo is world-renowned for its strength in innovation and co-operative education. A signature program at Waterloo, Enterprise Co-op (E Co-op) allows students to pursue an entrepreneurial co-op option in which students start their own business while earning a co-op credit.

After graduation, E Co-op students continue with their venture, begin a new one, or use their E Co-op know-how to obtain employment. E Co-op is a great experience that builds business knowledge, capabilities, and independence that employers value.

Important Spring 2021 update

In alignment with Waterloo's COVID-19 pandemic response, Enterprise Co-op for the spring 2021 term will be delivered virtually.

For important updates and more information about how COVID-19 is impacting Waterloo operations, please visit the main Coronavirus Information page.

Application deadline notice

Fall 2021 term applications will be accepted on a rolling basis within posting cycles. The application deadline is Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Applications for Stream 1 are now open. Stream 2 is not available for Fall 2021.

Who should apply?

E Co-op is open to students from all faculties.

Stream 1: Bring your own idea

Have you been thinking about a new business concept? Whether it's no-tech, low-tech, high-tech, service, consulting, or more. If you have an idea you want to take to market and have the passion to build your venture, this steam may be for you.

For Stream 1, we are looking for students with:

  • a well-formulated idea
  • a strong understanding of the target market
  • the drive to excel as an entrepreneur

Stream 2: Solve Billion-dollar problems

Stream 2 will not be available for the fall 2020 or winter 2021 terms.

Opportunity is knocking where billion-dollar problems remain unsolved. Introducing for this spring 2020 work-term a new E Co-op stream where you can work on solving specific, billion-dollar problems identified by our partner-collaborators at the Problem Lab.

For Stream 2, we are looking for students who:

  • are ready to tackle big problems
  • want to join and start a new venture creation team from scratch
  • have the drive to excel as an entrepreneur

 *Please download the application form for the stream you want to apply for and return the completed form, along with your résumé and Waterloo Works package by email to our Administrative Coordinator, Nina Ripley. 


How does it work?

Stream 1

As an undergraduate E Co-op student in Stream 1, you’ll enter the program during a work term with a business idea and the drive to turn it into a business. Over your term, you’ll receive ongoing mentoring and feedback on your business development. You’ll be part of an entrepreneurial ecosystem that supports and propels students to succeed. You will have:

  • a wide network of mentors, entrepreneurs, and professionals
  • the opportunity to apply for the Norman Esch Enterprise Co-op Awards
  • practical workshops and seminars to help you build your business
  • access to conference passes, distinguished guest speakers, and presentation

Stream 2

Stream 2 will not be available for the fall 2020 or winter 2021 terms.

For the undergraduate E Co-op student in Stream 2, you will work in partnership with the Problem Lab. Students working in assigned teams will be developing solutions to Billion-dollar problems and learning fundamental elements of:

  • business models & business plans
  • market sectors
  • building new products or services

Work-term stages

Stage 1

Problem space analysis, student teams, create solutions
During this stage, students will be working on a pre-identified list of Billion-dollar problems from the Problem Lab, so students do not need to ideate a venture idea. Students will be assigned to venture creation teams, and then research specific problem spaces, and apply to the campus-wide Problem Pitch competition (online form, beginning June) for the opportunity to pitch end of term competition for $15,000 prize award,teams problem-solve together and create a potential set of solution products or services, and apply to the campus-wide Concept $5k pitch competition (online form, end June) for the opportunity to pitch end of term competition for $5,000.

Stage 2

Venture team, business model generation, startup processes
In the second stage, students decide to 'opt-in' and continue with E Co-op Stram 2 and will then be accepted in Waterloo Works for work-term credit. Student and their venture teams will continue to build startup business processes and generate business model draft iterationsteam activities include developing prototypes, design sprints, pitch presentations, and weekly debrief sessions with coaches and advisors.

Want to get even more out of your Enterprise Co-op experience?

Our limited-enrollment BET 300 and BET 400 courses are only available to students who are committed to starting a venture through E Co-op, Concept, or on their own.

E Co-op student testimonials

Enterprise Co-op for me started as an opportunity to work on my own company as part of my Co-op education.  Very quickly though, it became so much more.  It has been full of relevant workshops, tailored resources, experienced mentorship and most of all, like-minded individuals who share the same journey and struggles of entrepreneurship.  The ECo-op program has helped me accelerate my business faster than I could have expected.

SAM DUGAN, Founder at VS Technologies, Mechatronics Engineering Student

E Co-op lets you build your idea. It gave me the freedom to prove myself wrong, the resources to find new paths forward, and connected me to a community of peers equally dedicated to improvement.

JACKSON MILLS, Co-founder of, Computer Science Student

The Enterprise Co-op program was a truly valuable experience for my studio as it helped me to legitimatize my once side-hobby into a fully-fledged business. The program provided numerous resources that taught me what it takes to take a business off the ground and has also played a pivotal role in bringing in clients and design work for the studio. The Enterprise Co-op program helped me to learn what it takes to run a business and I would recommend it to any emerging student entrepreneurs that want to take the next step.

Nilojan jegatheeswaran, Founder at studio nil, Architecture Student