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Waterloo’s Velocity accelerator is 5, and growing fast

By Francis Moran

student entrepreneurshipA little over five years ago, my attention was grabbed by an online news article that talked about a new incubation program being launched at the University of Waterloo for student-founded companies. Dubbed the “dormcubator,” a name that thankfully never really caught on, the program would see the university convert an existing student residence into an incubator for new companies, with company teams applying for residence and receiving a host of support and mentoring services.

I thought it was a brilliant idea and immediately reached out to then-program coordinator Sean Van Koughnett and offered whatever help I could from 550 kilometres away. My PR agency became an early sponsor of the program, and I travelled down to what was eventually called the Velocity residence a few times that next year to put on PR and marketing workshops and help mentor some of that first year’s teams. That level of involvement proved difficult to sustain over long distance but I never lost my enthusiasm for what Velocity was doing, and have kept a close eye on the program ever since as it has grown far beyond that original residence-based program.

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