BCIC and SFU Venture Connection unite in support of student entrepreneurship

VANCOUVER, June 29 /CNW/ - BCIC is proud to announce a partnership with SFU Venture Connection, an initiative providing entrepreneurial-minded students with the resources and opportunities, such as access to local entrepreneurs, experienced advisors and funding opportunities, to help them successfully launch new businesses in the province.

Established in 2008, Venture Connection promotes and develops practical programs aimed at all stages of the business cycle to support the growth of young SFU entrepreneurs and their business ideas.

"This exciting and valuable business accelerator program is just what the province needs. BCIC is proud to support this worthy program as part of our commitment to developing entrepreneurial talent in the province," said Dean Rockwell, CEO of BCIC. "By continuing to team up with BC's educational institutions to create programs that support our entrepreneurship ecosystem, we are well on our way to rapidly developing early-stage companies that will help grow the provincial economy."

At the core of this initiative are Venture Connection's Mentors-in-Residence and Venture Labs, an early-stage business incubator. To date, Venture Connection has engaged over 1,000 students in entrepreneurial pursuit, with 18 student or recent alumni teams receiving significant support through Venture Labs. Launched in fall 2008, the initiative has since introduced program activity onto all three SFU campuses as well as the Great Northern Way Campus.

BCIC is committed to fostering an environment that encourages people to become technology entrepreneurs while building the entrepreneurial infrastructure and high quality jobs that will allow them to stay in BC. BCIC's support of Venture Connection will expand the focus on technology entrepreneurs within these programs and activities:

    -  Mentors-in-Residence: Experienced entrepreneurs who provide one-on-one
       advisory services for students.

    -  Mentor Meet: An informal session where students with business ideas
       meet with one of the Mentors-in-Residence to get initial feedback and

    -  Venture Labs: A business accelerator and incubator for student
       entrepreneurs or teams. The program offers virtual and resident
       support for idea phase, concept phase and business phase clients.

    -  Business Concept Competition: An annual competition to identify and
       reward the best business concepts created by SFU students.

    -  Student Entrepreneur of the Year: An annual competition to identify
       and reward students who have existing businesses.

    -  Workshops/speaker events: Workshops and speakers are presented
       throughout the year, some with practical advice and some providing
       inspiration from successful entrepreneurs.

    -  Venture Connection Affiliates: Venture Connection recruits business
       experts who are willing to speak to groups and classes, and mentor
       student teams, competitions or clubs.

About SFU

Ranked by respected national surveys as one of Canada's top three comprehensive universities for almost 20 years, Simon Fraser University is named after a famous explorer and known for its pioneering spirit. Spanning many disciplines in eight faculties (across three campuses, including Burnaby, Vancouver and Surrey) SFU offers more than 100 undergraduate major and joint major programs and more than 45 graduate offerings. Mentored by faculty acclaimed for their research and teaching abilities and coached by dedicated advisors and employers in a work integrated learning program, SFU's more than 100,000 graduates enjoy limitless career opportunities.

About BCIC

BCIC develops entrepreneurial talent and commercializes technology through startup companies and partnerships between industry and academia. BCIC focuses on competitively positioning British Columbia in today's global knowledge economy in order to provide significant employment opportunities and a high standard of living for British Columbians. For more information about BCIC, visit www.bcic.ca.

SOURCE BC Innovation Council

For further information: For further information: about SFU Venture Connection, please contact: Janice OBriain, Venture Connection Manager, Simon Fraser University, Tel: 778.782.8728, E-mail: jobriain@sfu.ca; Irene Phan, Marketing and Communications Specialist, BCIC, Tel: 604.602.5238, E-mail: iphan@bcic.ca

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