Engineering Entrepreneurship@UVic Director
Dr. Thomas E. Darcie

We are excited to offer this new opportunity to a select few Canadian engineering graduates.

Few career paths offer the excitement and personal growth potential of starting your own business. Without the appropriate resources, this is a risky endeavour. Many ingredients need to come together to successfully launch a new company: compelling business concept, sales channel, access to capital, brilliant technical team, prototyping space and supporting infrastructure, and seasoned veterans and business advisors.

For bright new graduates, these ingredients are generally not attainable. However, in this opportunity we are honoured to have Wesley Clover, a world-class innovation engine led by Sir Terry Matthews, working hand-in-hand with our students to learn about entrepreneurship through technically innovative market-facing projects. Wesley Clover is responsible for the successful launch of numerous companies. Generous support is provided by the British Columbia Innovation Council (BCIC), Western Economic Diversification, the newly created Alacrity Foundation, UVic and MITACS.

With our partnership we are able to offer all the ingredients necessary:

Compelling business concept: What will the customer buy? Ask them. Wesley Clover actively solicits customer input from their vast network of companies and affiliates and distils this input into entrepreneurial opportunities.

Sales channel:How can a small company afford to sell to globally distributed customers? Again, the Wesley Clover affiliates provide a direct channel to most global information technology companies.

Access to capital: Anyone who has tried will appreciate the pain and frustration associated with raising seed money to explore your concept and subsequent investment to bring a product to market. Between the Foundation and Wesley Clover, funding is assured for each phase, including academics at the start, prototype development and expanding the business once launched.

Brilliant technical team: Bright and motivated graduate students working with experienced industry leaders - a powerful combination.

Prototyping space and supporting infrastructure: Entrepreneurship@UVic has the complete support of the University of Victoria, with space and infrastructure provided within the Faculty of Engineering and resources available in UVic's Innovation Development Corporation (IDC).

Seasoned veterans and business advisers: To ensure every possible advantage in strategy, tactics and personal connections, our advisors include experts from Wesley Clover, BC IC, and the UVic Peter B. Gustavson School of Business, as well as a network of local business leaders all willing to share their valuable experience.

With our broad and unique group of participants and sponsors, chances of success are maximized. Even so, the world of business can be hard and unpredictable. What if your project does not skyrocket into commercial success? The entire student curriculum is wrapped around a Masters of Applied Science degree and a Business Diploma, both of which are independent of the commercial viability of the technical project. An advanced degree, full student funding, a great learning experience, an unparalleled network of professional associates - a pretty good fallback position!

In these times of stressed natural resources and global high-tech competition, investment in new info tech industries is essential for economic health; this is particularly true in BC with our strong reliance on resources. This need is reflected by the mandates or sponsor organizations - to stimulate economic growth by increasing the effectiveness of high-tech commercialization. The common model for university technology transfer involves innovating, then attempting to commercialize (technology push). This model often fails, since market needs are generally poorly understood in the research labs. In contrast, we innovate in areas predefined as market opportunities (market pull). Wesley Clover pioneered this approach and their continued success offers strong validation. With Entrepreneurship@Uvic, we have successfully merged this approach with a graduate degree research program.

So with sincere thanks to all those who made this possible, and to our pilot team who are blazing the trail, we hope you'll consider joining us for an interesting journey.


See Dr. Darcie's Bio