Innovation Place Tenant Feature

Innovation Enterprise
– Summer Entrepreneurs Program

The Summer Entrepreneurs Program is a unique initiative that brings driven, inspired students and innovative technologies together. Steered by Innovation Enterprise, the University of Saskatchewan’s commercialization unit at Innovation Place in Saskatoon, the program offers its student participants the chance to begin a business with the strongest possible start.

As Lisa Wigerblad, Information and Content Specialist at Innovation Enterprise explains, "It’s a training program and, at the end of the program, also potentially and hopefully a startup for some.”

The inaugural cohort consists of 15 students from the University of Saskatchewan whose studies range from Engineering to Arts & Science and from Pharmacy & Nutrition to Commerce at the Edwards School of Business.

When the three-month program began on May 1, the students formed five teams (companies), and each team chose an innovative USask technology with startup potential. Then, in the true spirit of entrepreneurial hustle, just one week later, each of the five groups pitched their technologies to an audience of 22 possible mentors.

The mentors – industry pros from Saskatoon’s tech community, many from businesses located at Innovation Place – then joined forces with the teams that best aligned with their expertise.

Bolstered by their mentors’ guidance, each team began extensive market research, navigated the occasional pivot and plotted their journeys with many post-it notes, all in the name of building a commercialization plan for their new startup.

The program participants gather twice a week; usually on Mondays, they attend workshops where industry professionals present on topics relevant to entrepreneurship and business. On Fridays, they share their weekly milestones, learnings and progress in a pitch-style blitz where both feedback and collaboration are encouraged.

Collaboration is a key ingredient of the Summer Entrepreneurs Program. The very action of bringing students from varying disciplines together, and then adding mentors, is proof that the program recognizes the great things that happen when people work together.

Collaboration is also present in the program’s location. Innovation Enterprise’s headquarters is located in the Galleria, right in the midst of the Innovation Place technology park in Saskatoon. The entrepreneurs are able to grow their businesses alongside inspiring entrepreneurs and companies that range from startups to multinational organizations.

“It’s an inspiring place to be,” says Lisa, of being located at Innovation Place in Saskatoon. “The entrepreneurs [get] inspired by what’s going on where they are. …There are a lot of people with drive here.”

Innovation Place is pleased to sponsor the Summer Entrepreneurs Program, a catalyst for the development of future tech leaders.

For more information visit the Innovation Enterprise website.

- July 25, 2019