Whelen Family Innovation Fund for Graduate Students

The Whelen Family Innovation Fund for Graduate Students is an annual award to support graduate students from the University of Victoria solving real world problems through innovation. This annual award is intended to support the successful applicant to develop and advance their innovative concept, while receiving guidance, skills training, oversight and other support from the Coast Capital Innovation Centre (CCIC).

At least $7,500 is awarded to a current UVic graduate student to support the development and advancement of innovative concepts that have strong potential for real world application, whether in the private or public sector. Applications are encouraged from all faculties and disciplines.

Students must submit a resume and a two-page brief on their innovation (see more details below) and how it addresses a real-world problem through solutions that could include, but not be limited to, development and application of new technology, process improvement or policy innovation.  Proposals will be assessed on their potential for real world application and broader commercial or public sector/non-profit adoption. Applications must be submitted to the CCIC by March 31st. Please email your application to

Questions to address in two-page brief:

  • Define the problem you are planning to address
  • Who are the people/communities that are affected by the problem identified?
  • What is the proposed innovative solution?
  • How would you use the Whelen Family Innovation Fund award to develop your innovative idea?
  • What is the current stage of your idea, and what is the approximate timeline to bring your solution to market or make available to your targeted community/group?
  • Tell us about your background, skillsets and relevant experience. How is it relevant to the innovative solution you are proposing?
  • Identify any opportunities for leveraging this funding
  • Faculty
  • Department
  • Supervisor
  • Year of Program Completion 



Advancing entrepreneurial women

The W Launch Program is a 3-month program that helps women turn their big idea into a grounded business with paying customers. If you want to learn the skills to grow your company amongst a supportive group of likeminded women, this program is for you.

W Venture is a personalized 3-month program for women to accelerate their business. You will receive a curated experience with hands-on, individualized support, subject-matter expertise and a peer community of ambitious women.

In Fall 2022, the ventures participating include:

In fall 2020, the ventures participating include:

Contact  about both W Venture and W Launch Programs. 



Turning your idea into a work term opportunity

Have a venture idea? Need to fulfill a co-op work term assignment or want to take some time off from classes to pursue entrepreneurship and get co-op credit towards your degree?  

We can help you navigate starting up a business and provide necessary supports and resources through an entrepreneurial co-op work term. 

Contact your Co-op and Career coordinator for more information.