UVic and Coast Capital Savings Partner to Relaunch Centre for Entrepreneurs

University of Victoria entrepreneurs will get additional vital support and mentorship through the relaunch of its Innovation Centre for Entrepreneurs (ICE), made possible through $450,000 in funding from Coast Capital Savings Credit Union.

The renamed Coast Capital Savings Innovation Centre (CCSIC) will expand its current offerings to include seed money for new ventures and prototype development, an entrepreneurship scholarship, an additional annual business plan competition and co-op opportunities for students to work on their ideas.

“With an emphasis on partnerships in UVic’s recently released Strategic Research Plan, the university has renewed and expanded its commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship,” says David Castle, UVic’s vice-president research. 

“This partnership with Coast Capital Savings creates new opportunities for our students and faculty to address social and economic challenges and have impact in BC and beyond.” 

The centre’s new focus will enable entrepreneurs including students, faculty and staff to develop a product or service to a more mature stage before it is presented to other incubator programs and venture capitalists. Entrepreneurial ventures can be in any industry or government sector, high tech, social, commercial or non-profit.

 “Coast Capital Savings’ partnership with UVic recognizes that young entrepreneurs are not only at the front edge of innovation, but their business success will ultimately result in job creation, economic growth and more financial well-being for all of us,” says Don Coulter, Coast Capital’s president and CEO. “We support innovation and entrepreneurship as part of our Youth Get It community investment program, which invests in programs that encourage entrepreneurial leadership and foster financial well-being.”

“We are excited to expand our relationship with the University of Victoria, and to help support young people follow their business dreams to success.” 

The CCSIC will add new elements as well as enhance current services. Now, entrepreneurs will get help for prototype development and students will have the opportunity to work full-time on their ideas, for instance by taking a semester off their academic courses to do an entrepreneurship co-op program. Money will also be available for other costs related to developing an idea, such as software, tools, workshop rental and third-party consultation.
Over the years, UVic has helped with the creation of over 60 companies, received almost 900 invention disclosures and filed more than 400 national and international patents. 
Initiated in 2012 by the Gustavson School of Business, ICE expanded the following year across all disciplines to deepen its support of new ideas and strategies to deal with society’s complex challenges. The centre provides tools, expertise and space on campus to help entrepreneurs develop their ideas and includes advisers and mentors from outside the university who provide innovators valuable input and connections. 

Since its inception, ICE has helped launch more than nine companies, brought 21 clients to the “incubation-stage” and met with more than 750 students, staff, faculty and recent alumni, such as Lindsay Goulet.

Goulet, founder of Hot Mama Health and Fitness, has grown her family-friendly business to 18 franchise locations since 2014 when she was provided with valuable assistance including being connected with a community mentor well-suited to her goals. “Working with ICE was pivotal,” says Goulet. 

With the relaunch, Coast Capital Savings Innovation Centre becomes part of UVic’sResearch Partnerships and Knowledge Mobilization (RPKM) unit, in the Office of Vice-President Research. RPKM connects UVic faculty and students with a wide range of external partners including industry, government, not-for-profit organizations, other post-secondary institutions, and Indigenous governments and organizations. 

Coast Capital Savings is Canada’s largest credit union by membership. A recipient of the 2015 “Outstanding Corporation” Giving Hearts Award, the credit union invested $5 million into local communities in 2015, focusing on empowering and engaging youth. Coast Capital is one of Canada's 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures™, a member of Canada’s Best Managed Companies Platinum Club, and an Imagine Canada Caring Company. It has 50 branches serving its 532,000 members in the Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island and Okanagan regions of BC. Product innovations include Canada’s first free chequing account from a full-service financial institution. To learn more, visitcoastcapitalsavings.com.

Contact: Denise Helm, University Communications + Marketing  dhelm@uvic.ca