UBC Student Entrepreneurs

October 25, 2011

As many of you know I was part of the team that formed entrepreneurship@UBC, an incubator, accelerator and start up venture fund owned and operated by the University of British Columbia.

I am very pleased to see that the entrepreneurship@UBC Fund has announced its first investment: Aeos Biomedical.

Colin O’Neill and Nick Seto co-founded Aeos to commercialize their “Target Tape” invention. Target tape is a disposable, adhesive sticker that assists surgeons to better target their incisions. This idea is something that surgeons immediately understand and appreciate. I think this company has great potential.

Colin and Nick are terrific examples of what can happen when engineering students are partnered with commerce students. They play to their strengths, complement one another and are already on a successful track.

I am very happy for them and for entrepreneurship@UBC for helping foster some great student entrepreneurs.

Elected office

October 18, 2011

Over time politicians have come to be poorly respected alongside less ethical used car salesman (I know an impeccably ethical used car salesman). So when I consider who I’m voting for one of the key considerations is whether I think they are straight shooters.

Jack Layton, Ronald Reagan, Tommy Douglas, Ralph Klein and George W. Bush were all straight shooting politicians. Whether you liked them or hated them, you knew where they stood.

The other criterion I use is whether I think they can execute. Being a successful elected politician requires a lot of different skill sets, but chief amongst them is the ability to get things done. Barack Obama and Gregor Robertson would be two examples of leaders that can’t execute.

My friend Christopher Gorman is running for elected office in Kelowna, British Columbia. I have served with Chris on the UBC Alumni Association board and have seen him in action. I have also been a colleague of his at UBC when I was forming UBC’s entrepreneurship@UBC initiative.

Chris is a professional, honest and capable executive. He is a community minded person and does a great job at whatever I have seen him do. If I lived in Kelowna I would vote for him in a second.

If you will be voting in the forthcoming Kelowna civic elections I highly recommend Chris for School Board.


I have been helping UBC with the formation and launch of an exciting new program called entrepreneurship@UBC.

Along with the Sauder School of Business, the Faculty of Applied Science and the Faculty of Science, UBC’s UILO has been an integral part of the thinking behind what student entrepreneurs might need.

Enter a new and innovative program launching out of the UILO called “Start-up Services Voucher”.  If you’re a student, faculty, staff or a recent alumn (three years or less) you can receive up to $5000 worth of in-kind services including:

  • market assessments
  • IP assessments
  • business planning
  • grant writing, and;
  • company in a box resources.

Visit http://www.entrepreneurship.ubc.ca/2011/uilo-start-up-services-voucher to learn more!

Recently I attended a UBC alumni event in Silicon Valley wherein six UBC entrepreneurial ventures were pitched by their founders.

It was impressive.

These entrepreneurs are undoubtedly on their way toward building great business ventures.  If they don’t have great success with their first (and I’m certain that some of them will) then they will down the line.

Take a look at this brief vignette – it tells the story of this trip and even features some of the entrepreneurs themselves!

It’s all about me

March 28, 2009

I attended the University of British Columbia’s Commerce Undergraduate Society’s 2009 “Me Inc.” conference as a speaker this past Friday and, wow, what an impressive group of students and what a well run program.

The Me Inc. conference is organized by UBC’s commerce students for UBC’s commerce students (www.sauder.ubc.ca) and helps them to think about and research various career options available to them. Over the course of one day students can participate in various tracks including banking, finance, non-profit, entrepreneurship (my topic), real estate and others. Visit www.meinc2009.com to learn more.

They also organized a neat “power networking” session where speakers like me move from table to table over the course of lunch. It gave me an opportunity to meet and talk to far more students that I would have had otherwise. Hopefully the students found some value in it too!

By this post I send a hearty “congratulations” out to the organizers. They put together a topical, well run and effective conference. I only wish they were around when I was doing my degree at UBC!

Enterprize 2009

January 21, 2009

Enterprize 2009

As some of you know, I am consulting to the University of British Columbia in the formation of a campus wide program in entrepreneurship.  It’s been eight years since I owned my own business, so while I can’t consider myself a current entrepreneur, I certainly have the bruises to prove that I am entrepreneurial (stay tuned for the results of my current business pursuit).

I’ll post on our program as it evolves over the course of the next several months, but in the interim let me plug a terrific group of UBC students who are putting together Canada’s premier student run business plan competition.

Enterprize Canada (www.enterprizecanada.org) is a Canadian national business plan competition that provides students from across this country an opportunity to have their business concepts and plans vetted, critiqued and submitted for all sorts of prizes and accolades.  I know one of the organizers (Boris Remes) and if his method of operating is any indication of the quality of this event it will be a incredible buffet of entrepreneurial excitement!

As I go through the process of forming UBC’s entrepreneurship program, I’m constantly invigorated by this university’s entrepreneurial talent.   Whether it’s the 2nd year Applied Science student who has a growing business and is struggling to decide whether to finish his degree, or the young alumna who is building the next great web 2.0 business – these young entrepreneurs are incredible.

If you’re a business person who wants a look at the next generation of business leaders, an investor looking for the next great thing, a mentor give something back to today’s young entrepreneurs or even an entrepreneur looking for mentorship, skills development, money or profile then check out this event.