Velocity to split up offering with separate, student-focused incubator

The University of Waterloo-based entrepreneurship hub, Velocity, is launching a new pre-incubator campus program, called Concept, which will house all of Velocity’s student- and campus-focused initiatives under a new brand and team.

“We’re excited by the ways this new structure allows us to best serve students and startups.”

The program will offer funding, expertise, and coaching to aspiring entrepreneurs and those wanting to boost their entrepreneurial skills, and will exclusively target the University of Waterloo community. Although created by Velocity, Concept will replace all existing Velocity-branded offerings on campus and will also have its own team and new initiatives.

“Concept is improving student support based on years of past experience, primarily by taking an increasingly focused and customized approach to the resources we deploy on campus,” Velocity and Concept said in a joint statement. “We’re excited by the ways this new structure allows us to best serve students and startups.”

Some of the new programs being offered by Concept include the Capstone Stream, where Concept will work closely with students completing their Capstone projects. Another is the Concept $5K Grant, the successor to Velocity Fund $5K. This competition will award four $5,000 grants each term to students who pitch at the Concept $5K Finals.

Concept is also collaborating with the university’s Faculty of Science to provide business coaching and resources to teams of students and faculty members who have a product concept enabled by an element of biology, chemistry, or physics.

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Velocity said the decision to launch Concept came after its team took a step back this year to evaluate its activities within the changing entrepreneurial landscape at the University of Waterloo. Velocity said it realized it served two different audiences – students and startups – and that those offerings needed to be more tailored.

“We’ve talked to students, faculty, staff, and external partners and learned that the set of activities that Velocity represents are muddled. There was little clarity around Velocity’s activities on campus versus the incubator, located in downtown Kitchener,” Velocity and Concept said. “Segmenting our programs into Velocity and Concept will create internal and external clarity and allow for the highest quality support to be offered to each audience.”

Camelia Nunez will lead Concept’s campus focus as its director, and Jay Shah will continue to lead Velocity, now as director of startups. The new program is expected to officially launch October 10 with an event at the university’s Student Life Centre.

Image courtesy University of Waterloo

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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