SFU’s thriving Venture Connection program – which provides support for budding young entrepreneurs at SFU – will greatly benefit from a $750,000 donation from Coast Capital Savings.
The gift, to be formally announced at SFU Surrey’s Community Open House on May 28, will help fund the future delivery of programs for entrepreneurial-minded students.
The news comes after the successful completion of a pilot phase supported by major funders, including the B.C. Innovation Council, Western Economic Diversification (WED), the Dobson Foundation and Coast Capital.
“As a result of Coast Capital’s leadership, student entrepreneurs will receive the inspiration and support that they require,” said SFU President Andrew Petter. “Coast’s investment will enable SFU to fulfill our commitment to innovation and today’s youth.”
“As a B.C.-based organization, we have a vested interest in the development, education and success of this province’s budding entrepreneurs,” said Tracy Redies, president and CEO, Coast Capital Savings. “Our $750,000 contribution to SFU’s Venture Connection program demonstrates our commitment to the province’s leaders of tomorrow.”
Coast Capital and others’ support of the SFU Venture Connection program have enabled mentoring of many high growth businesses at the critical stages of their corporate development, notes Jim Derbyshire, Venture Connection Mentor-in-Residence.
“This strong support will also allow SFU Venture Connection mentors and its team to deliver essential inspiration, programs, events, mentoring and support for the entrepreneurs of tomorrow,” adds Ian Hand, of SFU’s Innovation Office.
SFU Venture Connection supports student-initiated businesses and encourages their growth by linking entrepreneurs with experienced advisors and funding opportunities and helping them make other business connections.
The program aims to develop a strong entrepreneurial culture throughout the university, while increasing the number of students involved in new ventures and accelerating early stage businesses through structured mentorship and incubation resources.
They are students like Terry Beech, an SFU alumnus and co-founder of Hiretheworld.com. The company helps new to mid-sized businesses find, employ, manage and pay an on-demand geographically dispersed workforce, where employers can hire a single freelancer for a specific job or a crowd of competitive freelancers for a creative job.
“Since founding HiretheWorld.com, Venture Connection has been a crucial component of our success,” says Beech, adding that Coast Capital’s support will further a program that is “helping build the backbone of B.C.’s new digital economy.”
He adds: “Without the mentorship, network and resources that Venture Connection made available to us, we would have never been able to take first place in the New Ventures BC competition or scale up our business so quickly.”
“Pairing the deep experience of serial entrepreneurs with the start ups in the program has both helped grow the SFU connected entrepreneurial talent pool – and the B.C. economic activity that results from their success,” adds Derbyshire.