Skip to content

Turn your idea into a startup.

What is Cornerstone?

Cornerstone is a 10 day sprint to find your customer and achieve confidence they actually want what you’re planning to make. Cornerstone will offer strategies and tools on the best way to approach these challenges, and set tailored objectives for the teams. The program will culminate in the Cornerstone Showcase, where cash prizes will be announced for teams with the best validation. 

Ready to take your idea to the next level?

Sign up for the Spring 2024 Cornerstone waitlist

Stay informed about the upcoming Cornerstone application for the next term by signing up for the waitlist.

Sign up | Waitlist

Test Your Idea, Build For Success

Cornerstone is a community of student founders all looking to start their careers in entrepreneurship. They are actively executing their startup ideas through customer discovery and validation while getting coaching and support from their fellow student teams, Velocity coaches, Velocity founders and business advisors. The goal is to gain enough traction by graduation to join a top-tier accelerator/incubator program or attract investment. 

“No business plan survives its first contact with a customer” – Steve Blank 

Building a viable business is an iterative process. Entrepreneurs make hypotheses about their path to success and then test those ideas by speaking to customers and key opinion leaders in their industry. With new information, hypotheses are improved and retested until a startup idea has been validated and customers are eager to buy the product.  

Program Overview

Cornerstone participants will compete in a 10 day innovation challenge. This will include four (4) tutorials on strategies to follow when validating business concepts. Speakers will be invited for two additional dinner events, and the program will finish with a Cornerstone Showcase where teams can show and tell their story about what they’re building and what they’ve learned. 

Following the 10 day innovation challenge, teams that continue will have a 100 day continuing challenge, meeting biweekly with a Velocity advisor. 

Guest Speakers  

Specialists and experts will give talks on important topics during the innovation challenge including customer discovery, and longer term career options like Product Management for those that build the skills of entrepreneurs. 


Teams have an opportunity to meet regularly with a Velocity team member with startup experience. They will help you set goals and keep you on track. Unlike casual Velocity coaching sessions, you will be held to a higher standard and they will ask the question, are you prepared to start your career in entrepreneurship? 

Velocity Pitch Competition

All Velocity Cornerstone teams are encouraged to apply for the Velocity Pitch Competition. As participants in Cornerstone, they receive coaching and guidance to create a great pitch deck.

Eligibility & Requirements

We are looking for student teams who are actively pursuing entrepreneurship as a career with the intention of launching a company while still in school or soon after graduation. Teams should have advanced past thinking that their idea is “a fun side project” and are ready to advance to the next level. These teams must meet the criteria below: 

  • At least one team member must be a current student (or post-doc) at the University of Waterloo 

If you have any questions about the program, eligibility, or want to discuss it further, contact our Cornerstone Director.