A Farewell to Friends & Founders
Camelia Nunez says goodbye to Concept & Velocity
In true Velocity fashion, it is time for change, yet again! In order to continue to grow, we must embrace change and that is one of the most important lessons I take from my time spent in this incredible organization.
It has been an unbelievable 2.5 years with so much growth, both as an organization and as individuals. I feel an enormous sense of pride for everything we have accomplished during this time and I am also super pumped for what the future holds for Velocity Incubator as well as Concept.
There’s been no shortage of exciting initiatives that we have taken on during this time. While I feel privileged to have been a part of all of them, I have to say that launching Concept as Velocity’s campus entrepreneurship program has been the most challenging, thrilling and rewarding undertaking. Challenging because it was something new and as with most things new, it was (and at times still is) met with skepticism. Thrilling because we knew we were building something that the students and the campus community wanted so we felt motivated by the sea of opportunities that lay ahead. And rewarding because over the past year since the official launch of Concept, students have validated these efforts time and time again by exceeding our expectations with their initiative and involvement in the Concept offerings on campus.
A Year of Firsts
Concept is very much in its infancy as it celebrates its one year anniversary this Fall, yet there are so many things to be proud of:
- Increased student engagement in our programming by 60%. Concept engages 4,400+ students each term! That’s almost 10% of the student population on campus any given term
- Significantly diversified our audience to include increased student participation from each of the six Faculties. We’ve also seen an increased number of graduate student engagement and our female/male ratio is closer to parity than it has ever been.
- The Grad Student Startup Fund which was launched with the generous contribution of Velocity and Faculty of Math Alumni Sam Papasulak, Co-Founder of Maluuba
- We brought a network of 17+ entrepreneurship coaches to the campus community. Our coaches are entrepreneurs themselves and they are available to meet with UWaterloo students and faculty 1:1 at anytime and at no cost. Our coaches meet with 150+ students from each Faculty each term
- The Capstone Startup Stream supported 100+ students from different Faculties assess the business potential of their academic projects
- The first ever startup job fair on campus which was held in collaboration with the Cooperative Education team at UWaterloo. 15 early stage companies had the opportunity to engage with 300+ students
- Our first event Highlighting Entrepreneurial Women event had an audience of ~100 people, 80% of which were female-identified.
- The Pandemic Challenge, a collaboration with our campus entrepreneurship partners: Problem Lab, Conrad School of Business and Entrepreneurship, GreenHouse and Centre for Peace Advancement and worked with 70+ teams who were passionate about solving problems related to the current COVID-19 crisis we are all living.
I am delighted and proud of what we’ve accomplished during this first year and I am beyond grateful for our students and campus community members who continue to work with us and help us deliver programming and resources that are most meaningful. Concept is a resource for students with entrepreneurial aspiration and in order to best support them it is crucial that we continue to learn from them as well as other entrepreneurs.
The Future of Concept
Concept has learned how to walk with confidence, but it has yet to learn how to run, jump, do somersaults and so much more. I am absolutely thrilled at the opportunities that lay ahead and as the search for a new Director sets underway, I look forward to the new ideas and new energy that will continue to provide relevant and meaningful support and resources for entrepreneurial students at UWaterloo.
If you are considering this role, you ought to know that you will be joining an absolutely stellar team (one that I will miss deeply!), working with some of the brightest, most determined and resilient students in the world and will be joining an organization that keenly values innovation. Bring your deep passion for students and determination to create value and you will have all the support you need to make a long lasting impact on student entrepreneurship at the University of Waterloo.
A Heartfelt Goodbye
Lastly, because my team told me this blog wouldn’t be ‘me’ if I didn’t add a personal note, I will end by saying that while I am extremely proud of all the work we’ve done, my biggest sense of accomplishment comes from the incredible team we’ve built. I’ve had the opportunity to work with genuine human beings who are deeply motivated by a desire to do good by our students, our founders and the world as a whole.
A most heartfelt thank you to all of them for allowing me to learn and grow as a manager, leader and as a person, alongside them. I may be leaving, but I take many beautiful friendships with me. This is living proof that personal relationships will always transcend organizations. And so, the most important lesson I take from my time at Velocity and Concept is that the best ROI will always come from investing in people.
I look forward to Concept’s bright future under new leadership! As a good friend of mine – whom I met at Velocity – once said, onwards and upwards!Camelia Nunez