FAQ

What is the Coast Capital Savings Innovation Centre?

We are UVic's on-campus business accelerator. If you're an emerging entrepreneur, resources are available for you to research and potentially launch a new venture. Or maybe you already have an early venture but you haven't had an opportunity to raise outside money (beyond early "friends and family"). Maybe you're now reaching a stage where you need to polish a business plan and become "investor-ready." 

Whatever stage you may find yourself, we can help.

Who can access the services offered?

We are a free service available to all UVic students, faculty, staff, and recent alumni (up to three years). If you have no affiliation with UVic, past or present, then we encourage you to approach other resources available. See our resources page for some leads. 

What does it cost?

It's free. Really!

Our goal is to promote innovation, inspire entrepreneurial drive, and increase the number of new ventures created by people associated with UVic.

What about intellectual property (IP) ownership?

We do not take any direct ownership in the new ventures created. If you are dealing with intellectual property developed on campus through university research activities, you need to discuss ownership and dealing with any patent rights with UVic Research Partnerships and Knowledge Mobilization to clarify ownership and control.

Do you take any equity in a startup I create?

No. We do not take any equity in the new ventures created. If you are dealing with intellectual property developed on campus through university research activities, you need to discuss ownership and dealing with any patent rights with UVic Research Partnerships and Knowledge Mobilization to clarify ownership and control.

How long does the process take?

This is entirely up to you. We are prepared to work with present students who may not be graduating for some time and who can only work on their concept part time. For recent graduates or faculty/staff, we will work with you as quickly as your business plan matures.

I think I have a good idea, but I'm not sure where to start.

Everyone starts here. Your idea is just the beginning; let us help you reveal the rest.

If you have an idea, and are not sure how valid it is, we can give you some solid guidance about going after early market research and confirmation. If you have no experience with business planning, but a solid idea, then we can look into helping you find a partner who does. Forming a balanced management team is often a big step towards starting a solid business.

If you feel that an idea may lead to a persuable business, but are unsure about how to even guess at the potential, then just getting some guidance on your business plan can be a big help. We will give you a simple framework that you can use to clarify your idea.

Does my idea need to be for any specific industries?

No. While other startup initiatives focus on certain areas of the market such as high tech, we are open to providing assistance with a business plan for any industry.

Once your idea is mature enough to go through the full incubator program, we will do our best to find you the most appropriate Entrepreneur or Executive in Residence and specialists to assist you.

Do I need to go through all of the phases?

It depends on how far along your business plan is when you first meet with us. You may be able to fast-track some of the early work. You may also find that after analyzing the business model and market at the draft stage that you want to pause and come back to it later.

If you need to raise outside financing, the last phase of the program is key. This phase focuses on getting ready for investment. Investors may be equally excited about your plan, but they need to know how they are going to get their money back from investing in your venture, and you need to feel good about how much of your new company you give up in return.

Can't you just introduce me to investors?

Not so fast. We will only connect clients accepted into the incubator program with mentors, advisors, and investors. 

Before being accepted as a client, there are opportunities to casually connect with mentors, such as at our drop-in sessions or workshop series.

This seems like a complicated process. Is it worth it?

Deep breaths. Developing and launching a business is never easy but we're with you every step of the way from idea to launch.

Like any project, it's far simpler to make changes (pivoting) at an early stage, before serious money and time are spent. The time invested is in understanding your business thoroughly before you start.

The framework we provide helps structure it in a way that allows you and investors to view it critically. Investors often complain that an idea seemed brilliant, but declined to invest because the implementation plan just wasn't clear. This is the structure and discipline that we provide.

Despite the formal process, we are free access to experienced business mentors whose main goal is to champion you and your business venture. Totally worth it.