Charmaine Dean appointed Chair of NSERC Council
Vice-President, Research and International Charmaine Dean has been elected the Vice-President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and Chair of NSERC Council. The roles of Chair of Council and Vice-President of NSERC are concurrent leadership roles at NSERC. NSERC Council is composed of its president and up to 18 other members appointed from the public and private sectors.
Dean’s appointment was announced in a release by NSERC on August 12, 2021, following the announcement by the Government of Canada’s Orders In Council Division on August 4, 2021.
NSERC Council Chairs continue in their leadership roles at their organizations while serving as Council Chair.
NSERC is Canada's federal funding agency for university-based research in the natural sciences and engineering.
Dean will hold the office of Chair of NSERC Council until April 12, 2024.
LiftOff incubator for Black entrepreneurs to launch in Waterloo region
The Government of Canada is working to address long-standing barriers with its first-ever Black Entrepreneurship Program (BEP). Of the $400 million investment, $53 million has been allocated to the National Ecosystem Fund to support Black-led business organizations across the country
On August 12, 2021, The Caribbean Canadian Association of Waterloo Region (CCAWR) announced that, in partnership with local organizations and post-secondary institutions, including Conestoga College, Waterloo Region Small Business Centre, Velocity at the University of Waterloo, and Wilfrid Laurier University’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Centre, they would receive over $2.9 million in funding from the NEF to develop and deliver a Black-led business accelerator and incubator program for Black early-stage entrepreneurs.
“CCAWR was founded in 1975, and has developed a strong community presence, said Trevor Charles, a board member with the CCAWR and professor of biology at the University of Waterloo. “We are honoured to have been given the opportunity to work to bridge some of the gaps within the entrepreneurial ecosystem that have hindered full participation by Black Canadians. Through the LiftOff program, we will endeavour to develop and offer innovative strategies to stimulate sustainable economic prosperity and wellbeing in the Black communities.”
The LiftOff program will provide access to business advisory services, incubator and accelerator programming, entrepreneurial workshops, and one-on-one mentorship opportunities for Black entrepreneurs to start or develop their business. The incubator ultimately hopes to work with about 40 individuals or teams per year, with a strong focus on supporting female entrepreneurs.
“Today’s investment in the Caribbean Canadian Association of Waterloo Region gives Black entrepreneurs in Waterloo Region the support they deserve to start or grow their business, while addressing long-standing economic barriers that Black Canadians face,” said the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth, and Member of Parliament for Waterloo.
To apply for LiftOff please contact CCAWR.
Waterloo selects Pivot-RP to help researchers identify funding opportunities
It has been an ongoing priority for the Office of Research to find a solution for the research needs of faculty, staff and students on campus. Currently, there is no searchable system available for Waterloo researchers to find funding opportunities and this has been identified as a gap by various research communities on campus, including through the strategic planning process.
Following an extensive evaluation process including small focus groups with members of the research community, Waterloo has selected Pivot-RP, a searchable database that enables researchers to identify funding opportunities that best suit their research needs.
Pivot-RP allows researchers to:
- create customized searches
- access curated funding opportunities based on specific research interests
- receive email alerts based on individually defined criteria
Pivot-RP is recognized as the most comprehensive global source of research funding with over 28,000 active funding opportunities from sponsors across all disciplines. A comparison of Pivot-RP with other systems by Office of Research staff found it also has the most comprehensive collection of Canadian funding organizations, and Waterloo’s research priority areas are included within Pivot-RP’s database. Individual researchers can also customize their own searches, targeting their unique needs.
In the coming months, the Office of Research plans to transition more fully from the current Find funding web page to Pivot-RP as the prime source for research funding opportunities. All Waterloo researchers, as well as any research or departmental staff who search for funding opportunities, are encouraged to set up an account. Staff will also be organizing training workshops for researchers throughout the fall.
UWaterloo startups rank second in North America for investor ROI
This article was originally published on Waterloo News
Investors looking for higher returns might be wiser to look to Waterloo companies than ventures started by alumni at Stanford, MIT and Harvard.
A new report from a U.S. platform for investors and startups has found that ventures founded by Waterloo alumni produce a higher-than-expected return on investment than their counterparts at the three American institutions.
The data from AngelList Venture show Waterloo startups generate outsized ROI for their investors, with an average excess markup rate 13 per cent higher than the baseline at 12 and 36 months.
Only the University of Washington ranked higher with a rate of 21 per cent, while Brown University came in third with an 11.5 per cent excess markup rate. Two other Canadian universities made the ranking, with University of Toronto coming in at 16th and McGill University at 19th.
The platform considers an investment on its list to be marked up if it does an equity round at a higher price per share in a future fundraise. The rate is a strong indication of how an investment is performing, the company says.
“This speaks highly of Waterloo founders’ ability to thrive here in southwestern Ontario, well outside of Silicon Valley, New-York or Boston,” said Vivek Goel, president and vice-chancellor of the University. “Waterloo companies like ApplyBoard, Vidyard and Clearco are paving the way for future founders who want to grow within Canada, helping to increase the prominence of the Toronto-Waterloo tech ecosystem on the global stage.”
The Toronto-Waterloo corridor ranked 18th globally in a Startup Genome’s 2020 Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking and first in Canada.
The findings indicate that Waterloo founders are being underestimated or undervalued by investors, said Alex Norman, a partner at N49P and co-founder of TechTO. “As investors see more and more University of Waterloo founders succeed, this may lead to more teams being funded or higher valuations for early-stage companies.”
While Canadian founders might be initially passed over by U.S. investors, great results for Waterloo founders over time are allowing early supporters to reap outsized rewards.
"It is no longer a secret that the University of Waterloo is a top school for innovative talent in North America,” said John Dick, director of Concept, the University’s experiential entrepreneurship program.
Young companies will continue to flourish in Waterloo Region through the University’s Campus Innovation Ecosystem and Velocity Incubator, which offer many problem-solving and venture-building opportunities, he said.
While founders with Waterloo pedigrees might not see the same level of investor demand as those at larger institutions in the U.S. AngelList says that can make them undervalued, "meaning that investors willing to back the founders from these institutions may have an opportunity to capture some excess returns.”
The findings come at an eventful time for Velocity, the University’s flagship entrepreneurial incubator, which announced recently that the total amount of funding raised by Velocity companies surpassed $2.4 billion. The incubator took almost a decade to reach the $1-billion mark but less than two years to reach $2 billion, showing an acceleration in both deal numbers and sizes. Velocity is expecting an alumni company to go through IPO for the first time later this year.
Velocity started its own pre-seed venture fund in 2019, and 18 out of 19 companies they have invested in so far received meaningful follow-on investments, highlighting the program’s ability to support early-stage founders and help them turn ideas and prototypes into marketable, scalable companies.