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Just start building

Highlights from the fall 2022 Innovation Ecosystem event

Velocity, with its ecosystem partners are ready to ignite the student entrepreneurial spark. That’s what was made clear at the fall Innovation Ecosystem event that welcomed a full-house of enthusiastic students and faculty on September 20th. Not only did the event entertain a curious audience of entrepreneurial enthusiasts, but it also embraced welcoming Velocity back to campus as, Concept by Velocity is now simply Velocity.

Guests to the event were able to learn through founder and innovation partner panels that focused on the entrepreneurship resources available at the University of Waterloo. As attendees, they found out, there are dozens of such resources on campus; from Velocity, Problem Lab, Zero, Conrad School of Entrepreneurship and Business, to GreenHouse (Social Impact Incubator), Grebel Peace Incubator, and the Library.

The event opened with a welcoming speech by Professor Karim Sallaudin Karim, Associate Vice-President of Commercialization and Entrepreneurship at Waterloo and Co-founder of KA Imaging. Karim reinforced the strength of the Waterloo Region and asked listeners to think about community connections and how they leverage these assets. He continued to note that UWaterloo has a uniquely innovative community. Karim left us with inspiring words, “What does the future hold for innovation here? Well, I think it’s you.”

Just do it

“Just do it” was a strong theme, mentioned many times by multiple presenters including John Dick the director of Velocity Campus. If you are thinking about connecting with a centre, a program or resource within the innovation ecosystem and are curious or unsure, just do it. Get involved and find the resources right for you. Velocity offers resources for every skill level and interest.

It’s important to know that you are now a part of this. Your opportunity to capture and take hold of what magic is at the university is available. Just go for it. Just start building.

Adrien Côté, Executive director of Velocity

Founders helping founders

Velocity founders shared great stories and advice from their current journey with their companies. It was interesting to find out that each founder journeyed to entrepreneurship through very different paths at the University of Waterloo.

Margaret Mutumba didn’t know she wanted to start a business but realized by chance after attending a Velocity pitch competition. Mutumba shared that the innovation bug hit her while in the Faculty of Health. She was already researching the problem and so it made sense to continue with her research as a venture, MedAtlas.

James Lowman came to UWaterloo for a PhD in mathematics and realized his company vision for Cauchy Analytics, and met his co-founders while working as a part-time math tutor. He comically shared, “I really want one of those pink ties. I’m still here. I’m gonna stay until they call me ‘Doctor’.”

Ayush Bhargava of Sway commented with enthusiasm, “We did every single program at Waterloo and finally ended up at the Incubator.” Round of applause!

Adrian Simone just made the panel after rushing in from a national media interview where he was speaking about his company MicroBuild’s Bio-Brick, a new green masonry product. The Bio-Brick was recently named a runner-up in the 2022 James Dyson Award competition.

The takeaway

Not everyone knows they want to become an entrepreneur, but through exposure to various innovation programs, you just might find your way there.

Founder panel info

Ayush Bhargava (Bachelor of Applied Science in Engineering), founder of Sway a social commerce platform lets creators launch curated shops on their social media.

Margaret Mutumba (PhD student, Public Health and Health Systems), CEO and co-founder of MedAtlas, a digital health startup making it easy to find licensed specialists and doctors from anywhere in Africa.

Adrian Simone (Civil Engineering student, Faculty of Engineering), CEO and co-founder of MicroBuild a biotech start-up focussing on the research, development, and manufacturing of sustainable construction materials. 

The Velocity community has given MicroBuild the resources to not only grow but thrive. I believe that no matter what stage you’re at, their coaching, grants, and seminars can help accelerate any start-up.

Adrian Simone, Co-founder, MicroBuild

And, James Lowman (PhD candidate, Faculty of Engineering), founder of Cauchy Analytics who are building a medical device that will non-invasively image and measure blood flow directly from the heart. Meet the aspiring team behind Cauchy Analytics.

Attend an upcoming Velocity student event Connect with us through our Innovation Portal