TechE@SFU: An Innovate BC & Spencer Creo Program

  • Certificate Course
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring Semester
  • Summer Semester
Technology Entrepreneurship @ SFU

Tech e@SFU at a Glance

The 2022-23 cohort starts in Fall 2022
Tech e@SFU starts with BUS 494 or MSE 390 – Special Topics in Technology Entrepreneurship
BUS 494 works as an elective course in the Certificate of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Beedie Concentration in Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Tech e@SFU is open to students from all faculties
Tech e@SFU does not require prior knowledge of coding and tech (but you’ll pick some up)
Students who complete the Technology Entrepreneurship course will be eligible for the monetary $750 Ken Spencer Award
At the completion of the course, student teams will be able to pitch to advance into funded capstones and/or entrepreneurship co-op


High impact entrepreneurship happens when inspired ideas and strong teams are supercharged with hands-on training, mentorship, resources and funding. What makes those teams strong is complementary knowledge and talent. With the generous support of Innovate BC and the Spencer Creo Foundation, the Beedie School of Business, the Charles Chang Institute for Entrepreneurship and Mechatronic Systems Engineering (MSE) from the Faculty of Applied Sciences have come together to create conditions for those teams to thrive.

This year Tech e@SFU is being particularly entrepreneurial and adapting a new model to better address student needs and pathways.

As the first component of the Tech e@SFU program, students will work in cross-disciplinary teams of students from across SFU to develop needs-driven technological solutions to complex adaptive challenges. Teams will receive instruction and coaching on the importance of self-awareness and effective team building in the entrepreneurial journey, advancing creative solutions to wicked problems, prototyping and pitching. At the conclusion of the course, the teams will create an entrepreneurial concept to pitch for potential capstone funding, entry to Entrepreneurship Co-op (eCoop) or guidance down another entrepreneurial path. Applied science students must take the companion course, MSE 390 Technology Entrepreneurship.

So bring your expertise, energy, ideas, creativity and entrepreneurial mindset to this fast paced and stimulating learning environment and experience the difference you can make!

Applications for the 2022-2023 cohort are now OPEN! Spaces are limited, so apply soon.


About

In this transformative program, you get access to expertise, funding, resources, expert training, and exclusive networks! Tech e@SFU can help you create your own opportunities or make you invaluable to top employers.

We invite you to apply to Tech e@SFU: Where students who want to build real things and real impact take their education to the next level.

Through the Tech e@SFU program, third and fourth-year Mechatronics, Business, and interdisciplinary Entrepreneurship Certificate students are brought together to develop a market-inspired and solution-driven technological product and coached by experts through the process of taking their solution from class to market to impact! 


Program Requirements

Students from across faculties bring their diverse skills and passions together toward a common, meaningful goal: a solution-driven product and venture that address a challenge that is meaningful to them (it’s up to you!).

Previous teams have worked on everything from stand-alone energy, health devices, solutions for healthy aging, technology for education and more!


Program Structure

Phase 1: Elective Course*

Fall 2022

Enroll in BUS 494 or MSE 390: Special Topics in Technology Entrepreneurship. MSE 390 counts as an applied science elective and BUS 494 counts toward the Charles Chang Certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Beedie’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship concentration. Prerequisites for MSE 390: 60 credits.

Phase 2a: Funded Capstone

Spring 2023 – Summer 2023

Student teams who want to take their ideas forward in MSE, entrepreneurship or interdisciplinary teams can pitch for a funded capstone experience with weekly mentoring.

Phase 2b: Entrepreneurship Co-op

Spring 2023

One or more team members can pitch to go into eCoop, which comes with mentorship, community access, prototype funding and a $10,000 award so you can focus on your entrepreneurial dreams.

*Phase 1 ends with a pitch to proceed to phase 2a or 2b, or choose to apply your new skills and mindset wherever you’d like!  This is an educational program, so if you decide not to start a venture, that’s cool, too.

Do you have to commit to the whole pathway now?

No, your entrepreneurial journey is totally up to you! Take the first course and then make your choice which path to continue down.  There are opportunities to get paid to work on your own ventures through Entrepreneurship Co-op (eCoop)


Provided Resources

Students in Tech e@SFU gain access to a wealth of resources to help them commercialize new products.

Mentoring

Mentoring and access to networks is critical to new entrepreneurs and anyone trying to excel in their field, and this initiative provides expert leadership and guidance. Teams will have access to experienced business and technology mentors not available in traditional class settings. These mentors will provide deep and diverse support to project teams to help the student entrepreneurs to establish direction with their projects.

Funding

After phase 1, student teams who wish to continue will the opportunity to pitch for feedback and additional funding capstone or eCoop, based on their business and technological progress and potential.


Apply

The Tech e@SFU program was the highlight of my academic career. This program has opened so many opportunties for me, and substantially aided my pursuit of entrepreneurship.

Ryan Threlfall, Mechatronics Student

Tech e@SFU has inspired a lifestyle change and reshaped the way I think.

Joseph Fredrick, Economics Student

Teaching Team

Dr. Ramtin Rakhsha

Dr. Ramtin Rakhsha is an engaging educator and capable professional engineer with 16+ years of mechanical engineering, research, and design experience. He leverages the ability to tie engineering concepts and project management to real‐world applications, offering effective solutions to challenging problems. He is skilled in Haptics, Robotics, Distributed Control, and under-water biomimetic robotic systems. He completed his PhD in Mechanical Engineering (UVic) and the invention 2 Innovation (i2I) graduate certificate in science and technology commercialization (SFU).

Kate Dilworth

Kate Dilworth, BSN R.N. MBA, ICD.D, Director Health Programs and Term Lecturer, Beedie School of Business brings 34 years of experience in healthcare practice, learning design and consulting. Kate has designed and taught in customized programs for clients from diverse sectors, government, First Nation communities and professional service firms with a focus on specialized health programs. Kate is a graduate of the Institute of Corporate Directors-Rotman Directors Education Program. She is a Board Director with AEDES- Specialized Association and former Board Director of St James Community Service/Bloom Group and the Positive Women’s Network and Advisory Committee Member, Institute of Families for Child and Youth Mental Health and is a 12-year jury member, BC Innovation Council- New-Ventures Competition.

Doug Fast

Doug Fast is dedicated to sharing his experience with young entrepreneurs and helping them build successful companies. He has experience bending metal, writing code, building boards, and optimizing manufacturing. He also knows first-hand what happens when you let the magic smoke out of a component on the lab bench. Doug is a Mentor-in-Residence at SFU, the Founder and CEO of Dark Water Tek, a consultancy that provides guidance to clients in product commercialization – particularly products that incorporate hardware as a key element, and has held senior leadership roles at a number of companies, including one that scaled to hundreds of employees and $100+ million in revenue.

Supporting Team

Dr. Sarah Lubik

Dr. Sarah Lubik is Simon Fraser University (SFU)’s first Director of Entrepreneurship, promoting the power of, and need for, interdisciplinary teams to solve wicked problems. She is a lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Beedie School of Business and a researcher in university entrepreneurships. She is the co-founder and marketing director of a high-tech startup: Lungfish Dive System and has experience coordinating pan-European startup support programs. Sarah has been named one of Business in Vancouver’s Top 40 under 40 and an Innovation Leader by the Government of Canada. Sarah has a PhD from the University of Cambridge in Technology Commercialization.

Dr. Amr Marzouk

Dr. Amr Marzouk is a certified professional engineer in BC, and an experienced lecturer at Mechatronics Systems Engineering (MSE). Driven by the desire to make things that help people, he is skilled in embedded systems, instrumentation, industrial automation, control system design and digital signal processing. He completed his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at Simon Fraser University in Nonlinear Dynamics of Inertial Sensors.


Program Alumni

2014 – 2015 Alumni

Cthulights designs and manufactures digital lighting displays that enable commercial and pro-am DJs to create custom light shows that respond to musical changes in real-time and enhance their shows.

Acceleration Innovations is commercializing Birth Alert: An app-enabled device that accurately tracks the contractions of pregnant woman, bringing peace of mind to new parents.

Triton Systems develops a novel, app-enabled tank monitoring system for aquarists that provides real-time water monitoring and analysis with systems alerts.

Artemis Technologies is an image and data analytics company using drones to provide more timely and cost-effective crop monitoring services to Canadian vineyards.

Epione Technologies creates app-enabled medication management devices that combat medication non-adherence for people with complex medication regimes.  

2015 – 2016 Alumni

VAMO Tech‘s Game7™ is hockey’s smartest training device. Using a wristband and a net sensor, it provides valuable, ongoing information on your accuracy, power, and release time.   

Orello Hearing Technologies Inc.  offers the only custom fit hearing aid with built in tuning technology, giving people with mild to moderately severe hearing loss an easier and better user experience.

Brewstr offers a premium, app-enabled automatic brewing system for craft-beer enthusiasts who want to get into home brewing.  The product consists of an automatic brewing system, online platform, and recipe kits.

AVA Technologies is a cost-efficient, drone-enabled by-law enforcement service, providing municipalities the tools they need to keep illegally parked trucks from damaging valuable agricultural land.

2016 – 2017 Alumni

Bluehive Technologies is developing an installation-free battery system for residential use that allows users to reduce their electricity bills in areas with fluctuating electricity costs by smartly managing battery usage, and provides automatic backup power for ease-of-mind during outages and emergencies.

Zennea is a socially driven medical technology company making improved Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices to make treating obstructive sleep apnea more comfortable and discrete than traditional solutions. Initially driven to find a better sleep apnea solution for our family and friends, we now aim to create and deliver this solution to millions of people suffering from interrupted sleep.

Locus is a retail analytics hardware and software solution that provides managers with consumer behaviour information that augments their current data so that they can optimize product placement, pricing, and store layout.

In the face of a growing world population and the need for more efficient and cost effective methods of food production, Seren Technologies is developing an add-on system for soilless farms to automate the sprout transplanting and crop harvesting process. This allows hydroponic farmers to save money and time by reducing their reliance on manual labour while increasing the efficiency of their farms.

2018 – 2019 Alumni

Moment Energy strives to provide greater access to renewable and reliable energy storage. As creators of battery units that can be used in a variety of applications, they are currently focused on storing energy for offgrid, end of grid customers and plans on powering remote communities in the future.

Pine created an online shopping platform to promote environmental sustainability, social responsibility, and awareness

Eyeth Technologies is developing an unobtrusive wearable that can recognize sign language gestures and convert it to spoken text to allow for more natural, nearly real-time conversation between those who speak with sign language and those who do not.

Excelerate Robotics aims to provide educational tools and resources for educators to teach computing, programming and robotics in a fun and interactive way

Gomi Technologie exists to offer convenient and innovative solutions to reduce food waste through a convenient app and hardware solution that keeps track of the food in your fridge to prevent over-buying and offers solutions to use up food already in the fridge.

Altus Innovation is designing beginner friendly 3D modelling software to inspire and prepare the next generation of secondary school students for STEM careers. Altus Innovation streamlines the process from 3D design to 3D print, making it easy for teachers to teach and students to learn

Ruby designs products for people experiencing essential tremor or cognitive impairments. The team’s first device is an easy-to-program remote control that eliminates complicated buttons and commands to make it easier to watch television

Novion Technologies is developing a smart water monitoring system to allow users insight into their current water use in order to help users reduce water consumption and contribute to global sustainability goals

2019 – 2020 Alumni

IUVOX is a health tech company developing specialized air disinfection devices for dental offices. Our devices irradiate filtered far-ultraviolet light during routine aerosol-generating procedures to inactivate airborne pathogens in the air. We offer entirely automated devices so that oral health professionals can focus on providing the best care to their patients while also cutting down on outdated, laborious, obtrusive disinfecting methods.

2020 – 2021 Alumni

Elevate provides a smart resistance band handle with an integrated web and mobile application, allowing physiotherapy patients and their practitioners to view accurate and insightful information, and easily track their rehabilitation progress. This system provides increased patient accountability and quantitative feedback, enhancing physiotherapy treatment.

Irini, helping people stay fit and healthy, and less sedentary by infusing fun and exercise into daily life

ANTS Robotics is a dedicated venture committed to developing accessible, innovative robotic solutions which allow small and medium-sized enterprises to automate and scale tasks that are repetitive, dangerous or require a sufficient amount of precision. We do this through our modular mobile robot which is designed to reconfigure itself according to the task at hand which reduces cost while increasing efficiency.


Program History

Tech e@SFU is a high-tech entrepreneurship initiative in partnership with Innovate BC (formerly the BC Innovation Council) Dr. Ken Spencer, SFU’s Faculty of Applied Sciences and the Beedie School of Business intended to develop BC’s knowledge-based economy.


The Tech e@SFU program is a highly impactful, hands-on, entrepreneurial pathway for third- and fourth-year business, applied science and entrepreneurial students from all faculties that provides the funds, skills, mentorship and resources to move from teams and innovative ideas to successful new products, ventures and mindsets. Students enrolled in the program will design and prototype of market-driven products and systems and produce a prototype, a pitch and maybe even obtain a lead customer.

Tech e@SFU students will also have the opportunity compete for significant prototyping and eCoop funding to turn their ideas into startups.

About Ken Spencer

It is with great sadness that we share the passing of Kenneth “Ken” Albert Spencer on April 23, 2021. Ken, a pioneering technology entrepreneur and highly successful businessman, co-founded Creo Products in 1983 and acted as CEO until 1995. He remained active on the board until the company’s acquisition by Kodak for over $1 billion in 2005, and served on the boards of numerous other BC tech companies.

He was also a significant supporter and friend of SFU’s Beedie School of Business. An alumnus of SFU Beedie’s Executive MBA program (‘81)—where he met his wife Judy—Ken remained closely connected with the business school throughout his life. He served on the Dean’s External Advisory Board, and in 2012 made a substantial donation to create Tech e@SFU, an innovative, interdisciplinary partnership between SFU’s Faculty of Applied Sciences and SFU Beedie.

Read more about Ken’s Legacy here

The Chang Institute’s Statement

About Innovate BC

Innovate BC (IBC) develops entrepreneurial talent and commercializes technology. IBC 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.
 
In today’s economic climate, it is increasingly important for British Columbia to be competitively positioned in the global knowledge economy. IBC is developing an ecosystem that increases the number and success rate of technology startups in the province to promote economic development and strengthen BC’s contribution to the Canadian high-tech sector. IBC does this by developing programs and providing support for initiatives that develop entrepreneurs and promote the commercialization of technology.
 
IBC is a Crown Agency of the Province of British Columbia.



Contact Us

Tech e@SFU is supported by a dedicated team of faculty mentors from The School of Mechatronics Systems Engineering and Beedie School of Business that bring together years of industrial and entrepreneurial experience in the technology arena.

Interested students are encouraged to send questions to the teaching team.


Supported By:

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