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Turn your idea into a startup.

What is Cornerstone?

Cornerstone is the culmination of the student entrepreneurial process. Validate your startup idea by finding and speaking directly with customers. Gain firsthand knowledge of your target market while joining a network of founders to share knowledge and resources. 

Ready to take your idea to the next level?

Sign up for the Winter 2024 Cornerstone waitlist

Applications will open in early January

Sign up for the 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 takes participants through a term long journey and provides extensive guidance to help with customer discovery and validation.

The ten-week program consists of weekly 2 hour group sessions as well as regular check-ins for each team with a Velocity team member with startup experience.

Weekly Group Sessions  

Our weekly sessions are focussed on helping each student and team to move forward with their startup idea. The content of the sessions is geared to be highly actionable and relevant, and is based on our many years of experience in helping entrepreneurs.

Guest Speakers  

Specialists and experts give talks on important topics throughout the term such as how to reach customers, considerations when raising funding, and how to protect IP.  


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 $5K Pitch Competition

All Velocity Cornerstone teams are encouraged to apply for the Velocity $5K 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 
  • Teams must demonstrate that they have taken meaningful steps towards exploring the potential of their idea i.e. prototyping, customer outreach, etc. 
  • Are prepared to commit significant time and effort into developing their ideas to meet business milestones 

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