Thursday, February 13, 2020

New leadership at Velocity

Adrien Cote stands in the Velocity garage.

This story was originally published on Waterloo Stories.

In the world of startups, the University of Waterloo’s incubator Velocity is a giant. Velocity has helped launch over 300 companies with a remarkably vast array of business models and technologies that have received more than $1 billion in investment. It supported the creation of some of 2019's fastest growing startups and most recently launched Concept, a campus-focused pre-incubator to further encourage students to learn about scaling their ideas into a business.

The person who leads Velocity has a huge impact not only on the incubator’s future, but the future of technology and business in Waterloo Region, Ontario, and the country. Adrien Côté is the newly appointed Executive Director of Velocity. A former business advisor there, he has a PhD in Inorganic Chemistry, a MSc in Technology Management and a long history of working to ensure that scientific advancements make their way from the lab bench to markets. Helping companies commercialize and put to use new technologies to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges is what drives Adrien personally, and professionally.

We sat down with Adrien to hear about his plans for Velocity and get his take on the future of startups in the region.

1. How do you feel about being named the new Executive Director at Velocity?

I’m obviously excited, but the greater feeling that I have is humility and an awesome sense of responsibility.  Past leaders built Velocity to be very human-centric. We work really closely with founders and students on some of the things that are most precious to them, which are their ideas and research. As Velocity evolves, I believe it’s a really important that we sustain the trust with we have with students and founders.

2. What do you think makes Velocity so successful? What are your plans to maintain its competitiveness as more incubators begin operation?

We take a student-first and a founder-first approach.  If we work on helping people as a starting point to helping the company, the company will help itself. It allows us to dig in and really get to the heart of the challenges that need to be overcome on the road to building a successful business.

In terms of comparison with other incubators, an important part of our success has been the fuel that keeps us going – which is the University of Waterloo. That entrepreneurial energy and talent from the University is nothing short of remarkable. The University also makes a big financial investment in what we do here. The courage of the institution to do so should be recognized and speaks to its commitment to innovation.

Another part is the Velocity staff and the founder peer group that our entrepreneurs receive support and advice from; together we’re the team backing up every generation of founders through Velocity.

Read the full interview.

Expert panel releases Intellectual Property report for Ontario

A provincial panel of intellectual policy experts has released a report that details the results of extensive consultations last year along with a summary of issues and opportunities surrounding the protection and enhancement of home-grown innovation and commercialization.

The Government of Ontario established the Expert Panel on Intellectual Property in Spring 2019, as part of its efforts to review, update and implement policy objectives that advance the prosperity of Ontario in the contemporary economy. The Expert Panel was asked to create an action plan for the development of a provincial intellectual property framework that fully exploits the potential benefits of Ontario’s investments in research and development and maximizes the role that Ontario’s innovation intermediaries can play in supporting this framework. The panel held consultations in 2019, where stakeholders were invited to share their feedback to help improve the way intellectual property is brought to market.

“We look forward to reviewing the Expert Panel on Intellectual Property’s report released today and continuing to work with the Government of Ontario to leverage Ontario’s world-renowned universities for the economic and social benefit of all Ontarians," says President Feridun Hamdullahpur. "As Canada’s most innovative university, the University of Waterloo is proud to serve as a leader in entrepreneurship, commercialization and transformational research. In 2018-2019 alone, the University of Waterloo generated $458 million to Ontario's GDP from research activities, as well as $170 million to Canada's GDP from our entrepreneurship programs.”

The Expert Panel made recommendations in the report that they believe have the potential to unlock positive economic outcomes for the residents of Ontario. The recommendations include the adoption of a "Made-in-Ontario" approach, as well as four major recommendations around capacity-building, accountability and structure.

Among the recommendations:

  • A standardized web-based IP education curriculum should be developed to achieve essential learning outcomes. This IP education program should be mandatory for any individual or entity who receives public funds in support of entrepreneurial activities.
  • The Government of Ontario should create a centralized provincial resource to provide consistent, sophisticated legal and IP expertise and education.
  • All commercialization entities (such as technology transfer offices) within research organizations that receive public funds should have a clearly defined mandate regarding their roles and responsibilities in generating IP for the benefit of Ontario’s economy.

You can download the report or get additional information on the Government of Ontario website.

How can you THRIVE under stress?

Balloons and an encouraging handwritten note.

This is an excerpt from the latest Campus Wellness blog 

Stress is not always a bad thing. Stress is simply the body's response to changes that create demands. There is a difference between Eustress (positive stress), and Distress (negative stress). In daily life, we often use the term "stress" to describe negative situations. This leads many people to believe that all stress is bad for you, which is not true.

If you are a student, you will face academic stressors. In addition to the external stressors, there are some other internal sources of distress. Is your stress concerning? There are many emotions that may indicate you are experiencing distress. 

Learn more at: A Guide to Supporting Students in Distress

If you are regularly suffering from distressing emotions, talk to a trusted professor, staff member, friend, family member, or seek the guidance of a professional from Campus Wellness.

Read the full blog to understand the different types of stress and signs of distress.

New postdoc funding opportunity at Waterloo

Colourful balls rolling around.

Last year, the University of Waterloo received a three million dollar donation to support exceptional postdoctoral scholars through the AMTD Waterloo Global Talent Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. The Fellowship includes an annual salary of $75,000, an engagement fund of $7,500 plus access to a pool of additional funds to create disruptive research dissemination opportunities.

University of Waterloo faculty members are encouraged to invite exceptional scholars to join Waterloo’s transformative and impactful research environment.  Deadline for application: March 16, 2020.  Details available on Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs AMTD webpage.

Link of the day

Don’t touch that dial: It’s World Radio Day

When and Where

Valentine’s Day at the University Club, Thursday, February 13 and Friday, February 14, 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., University Club.

Intellectual Property Workshop Series – IP Case Study, Thursday, February 13, 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., QNC 1501.

Grad Student Community and Conversation Circle, Thursday, February 13, 3:30 p.m., NH 2419 – Register on GoSignMeUp.

Alleviating Anxiety Seminar, Thursday, February 13, 5:00 p.m., NH 2447 – Register on GoSignMeUp.

Book LaunchAdvocating for Peace: Stories from the Ottawa Office of Mennonite Central Committee, 1975-2008 By William Janzen”, Thursday February 13, 7:00 p.m. Conrad Grebel University College.

Lectures in Catholic Experience series, “The God Beat: Writing about Religion in the 21st Century,” featuring Michael Enright, Host, The Sunday Edition, CBC Radio, February 14, 7:30 p.m., Vanstone Lecture Hall, St. Jerome’s University. Please register in advance. 

Concept $5K Grant applications close, “Previously known as the Velocity Fund $5K, student teams can apply to win a $5K grant for their startup idea,” Sunday, February 16.

Grad Student Community and Conversation Circle, Thursday, February 16, 3:30 p.m., HS 1106 – Register on GoSignMeUp.

W3 presents W5: Waterloo Women Writing With Women, a writing retreat, Wednesday, February 19, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

NEW - Research ethics drop-in sessions, Wednesday, February 19, 10:00 a.m., Dana Porter Library first floor study booth.

Grebel and Aha! Productions Present: Nunsense the Musical“A hilarious fundraiser show for the Grebel Fill The Table campaign”, various showtimes from February 20 to 23, Conrad Grebel University College.

QPR Mental Health Training for Faculty and Staff, Thursday, February 20, 9:30 a.m., HS 2302 – Register on GoSignMeUp.

NEW - WaterTalk: Addressing excess reactive nitrogen issues across international boundaries and across the globe: The International Nitrogen Management System, Thursday, February 20, 2:30 p.m., DC 1302.

Grad Student Community and Conversation Circle, Thursday, February 20, 3:30 p.m., NH 2419 – Register on GoSignMeUp.

NEW - Grade 10 Family Night, Thursday, February 20, 6:00 p.m.

FAUW Indigenization Reading Circle, February 21, 10:30 to 11:45 a.m., HH 235.

Concept by Velocity - Graduate Student Startup Fund applications open, “Apply for the chance to win $20,000 and take your research to the next level.” Monday, February 24.

Indigenous Employee Lunch, Monday, February 24, 12:00 to 1:00 p.m., HH 373.

Coping Skills Seminar - Challenging Thinking, Monday, February 24, 3:30 p.m., NH 2447– Register on GoSignMeUp.

NEW - FAUW Lecturers Town Hall, Tuesday, February 25, 1:00 to 2:30 p.m., DC 1302.

NEW - Akindi training session, Thursday, February 25, 1:30 p.m.

NEW - Coping Skills Seminar – Cultivating Resiliency, Tuesday, February 25, 4:00 p.m., NH 2447  – Register on GoSignMeUp.

NEW - Writing and Communication Centre Workshop, "Grammar Studio III: Clarity at the sentence level," Wednesday, February 26, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., SCH 228F.

NEW - Research ethics drop-in sessions, Wednesday, February 26, 10:00 a.m.

NEW - WIN Seminar Series: Adventures with Chiral Induced Spin Selectivity, Wednesday, February 26, 10:30 a.m., QNC 1501.

NEW - Noon Hour Concert: Bernstein 101, Wednesday, February 26, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel University Chapel.  

NEW - Writing and Communication Centre Workshop, "Graduate Literature Reviews A: Organizing Research," Wednesday, February 26, 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., LIB 323.

NEW - Coping Skills Seminar – Thriving With Emotions, Wednesday, February 26, 6:00 p.m., HS 2302 – Register on GoSignMeUp.

NEW – 2020 Latin American Film Festival screening, Neruda, Wednesday, February 26, 6:30 p.m., Kitchener Public Library main branch. Admission is free.

NEW - Concept by Velocity - Intro Session: Pitch to Win! “Perfect your 3-minute business pitch at this interactive workshop”, Wednesday, February 26, 6:30 p.m., South Campus Hall, 2nd Floor.