Annual Report 2016
The Institute For Innovation and Entrepreneurship What does the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship actually do?
JMH LaunchPad Program
The JMH LaunchPad Program was created to help MRU’s most entrepreneurial students pursue their passion and launch their own venture. 11
Supporting Curriculum and Faculty
Designing YOU takes well understood design, entrepreneurship and product management principles that have been used on all of the products that we love and applies these concepts to designing “you”. 21
Enactus Mount Royal
At Design4Change, we provide meaningful employment experiences in an agency environment to students on campus.
Enactus Mount Royal had an incredible year placing in the top 16 teams in Canada out of the 64 who competed at the National Exposition. 26
Engaged In The Community
With a steady increase in unemployment in Calgary, there’s no time like the present to expose our citizens to the benefits of innovative and entrepreneurial thinking. To do this, the members of the startup community recognize the importance of collaboration over competition. 31
Social Innovation Hub
MRU is in the process of building a new innovation hub focused on solving society’s problems, big and small. 33
We take the name of the Institute seriously and are committed to being recognized as innovative and entrepreneurial in the pursuit to graduate the most entrepreneurial minds in Canada.
Message from the Director. As the Institute approaches its fifth anniversary, we are proud of our accomplishments and excited by what the next five years will bring. We are a small team, funded completely by donations and driven to find innovative ways to graduate the most entrepreneurial minds in Canada. None of this would be possible without the generous support of our donors. David and Leslie Bissett and the RBC Foundation continue to provide the foundation for the Institute and JMH&Co and the BUSY Foundation are instrumental in the success of our LaunchPad program. We are proud that JMH&Co was awarded the Small Business Philanthropist, Generosity of Spirit Award. The JMH LaunchPad Program remains the core offering at the Institute. It provides workshops, funding, space, and mentorship to our most entrepreneurial students. This year, student entrepreneurs were the recipients of $88,000 in cash and prizes to move their ideas forward. By removing some of the financial barriers that young entrepreneurs face, we are giving them an opportunity to go further with their venture and therefore learn lessons that can not be taught in a classroom. As the Institute gets older, we start to witness the long term impact we have had on past students. It’s been amazing to watch Stephen Guppy and Andrew Browne from our class of 2013 become icons in the Calgary entrepreneurship community. It’s a reminder that the impact we strive for is a lasting one. Entrepreneurship is not a topic that you study and forget, it’s one that changes the way you think and live. The Institute’s relationship to faculty is critical for the success of our students. We are proud to support faculty by holding epic student events, providing expertise in the classroom, recruiting startups for inclass projects, and advising on new curriculum. Partnership with the Business School Research Network is bearing fruit with academic publications and presentations that will help guide business schools to a more impactful future. Design4Change continues to fulfill its mission by offering over 14,000 paid hours of meaningful employment in an on-campus marketing agency. Projects range from research snapshots for Mount Royal faculty to a remarkable 30-second commercial for the ALS society. The Institute’s role in the community continues to increase with deep involvement with the Chamber of Commerce, Innovate Calgary and primary and secondary schools. We clearly have expertise that is valued beyond the walls of Mount Royal University. We’ve also kicked off new initiatives including Designing YOU and the Social Innovation Hub. This relentless drive to do more is how we continue to self-identify as entrepreneurs and innovators. We sincerely thank students, faculty and the community for their support and inspiration.
Director, Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
The Institute For Innovation and Entrepreneurship What does the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship actually do? The answer is always best explained by the Director, Ray DePaul, through stories of Mount Royal University students. We inspire. I remember vividly the first day of our introductory ENTR 2301 class when Derek Rucki sat in the front row. He rushed up at the end of class and proclaimed, “I now know what I have to do with my life. I have to be an entrepreneur!” He later told me that just hearing my personal story about my involvement with BlackBerry and starting and selling my own company inspired him to think bigger than the career he had planned. It was a proud and humbling moment for me. Derek is now three years into the development of his business, TLink Golf. We push you outside your comfort zone. Every semester the Institute hosts big events such as the Innovation Tournament, the Venture Design Studio Finals, and the JMH LaunchPad Pitch Competition. The thought of pitching your halfbaked venture in a 300-seat theatre is considered outside of most our comfort zones. This past year, Carille Mendoza and Michaela Day were among the presenting ventures at LaunchPad. The two were in my LaunchPad Accelerator Course, and I was very aware of their fear of public speaking. The women not only did a phenomenal job pitching their venture, but walked away with $7,500 and a handful of business cards from audience members inspired by their story. Since then, Carille and Michaela have gone on to pitch at other events, including Innovate Calgary’s Tech Meetup. We encourage collisions. After seeing potential in both Derek Rucki and fellow student, Stefan Radeta, the Institute granted each of them a $2500 LaunchPad Grant to help evolve their respective ideas. It was through the meetings of grant recipients in our Slate Innovation Lab that they collided and become mutual admirers. I recall when Stefan sheepishly approached me about putting his idea on the backburner to join Derek’s budding TLink venture. I feigned surprise and encouraged the two co-founders to join forces. We bring the community in. We have tremendous support from the community at our events and in our classes. Getting exposure to literally dozens of executives and successful entrepreneurs has a profound impact on students. When a student is faced with a particular challenge requiring specialized expertise, we tap our personal networks to line up an introduction. When Jamie Salih’s Hyperheat business needed help building a prototype of his heated muscle roller, the Institute lined up a meeting with a local design firm to help out. To steal a phrase: it takes a community to build an entrepreneur. We send students out into the community. We live in a thriving Calgary entrepreneurship community. Instead of coddling our students in the halls of MRU, we seek out ways they can learn from and connect to the community. This year alone our students attended countless events and pitch competitions, including Paul Shumlich and Ozzy Lang pitching during ATB Boostr’s One Year Anniversary pitch competition. We fund great ideas. We stand behind the value of learning through experience, and if providing a small amount of funding allows our students to advance their venture while still in school, then we’ve done our job. As the big winner at the 2016 JMH LaunchPad Pitch Competition, Zac Hartley walked away with $30,000 in cash and services to put towards his venture, Smoke Barrel. Zac is just one of many students who has received funding over our four years to validate and launch their venture.
We mentor. Coming up with a solution to a problem is hard. Starting a company is even harder. Now imagine starting it when you’re in your 20’s and attending post secondary. While mentors can’t (and shouldn’t) remove all of the anxiety and uncertainty of launching a venture, they can help you personally steer through the minefield. I differentiate mentors from advisors. Advisors are critical and offer you sound business advice. Mentors are concerned about the person first and the company second. The goal of the Institute isn’t to grow startups, but to grow entrepreneurs. This year we had the honor of mentoring Torin Hofmann, a hard working student determined to launch his entrepreneurial venture before graduating in the Spring. Torin accelerated his learnings, failed hard and failed fast, launching two ventures before walking the big stage to get his degree. We incubate student ventures. TLink Golf was our first Student Startup in Residence. Prior to moving to their downtown office, they had dedicated space in the Startup Corner of Slate. I can’t imagine a more vibrant and supportive place to launch a company. Professors coming and going. Students feeding off their energy. Mentors and advisors always available. We help market innovations. The Institute and the Bissett School of Business operate an award winning boutique marketing agency called Design4Change. Staffed with students and recent grads, they are the marketing engine behind many projects in Calgary. A product that no one knows about is quickly a failed product. Sales and marketing expertise is a must for an entrepreneur. We personalize learning experiences. Paul Shumlich is a bright student who has demonstrated determination and resiliency throughout his entrepreneurial journey. He had taken all the formal entrepreneurship courses we had to offer, but still had so much to learn. Inspired by his thirst for knowledge and his ability to share his learnings with his peers, we designed a Directed Readings course that ensured that the exceptional path that Paul was having as the founder of Deepwater Farms resulted in a one-of-a-kind learning experience. We let you fail. Our goal is to build entrepreneurs, not companies. We don’t swoop in and save you from every little mistake. We couldn’t, even if we wanted to. After breaking crowdfunding records on the ATB Boostr platform, Quinn Wilton received the unpleasant news that he would have to return the $10,000 he worked so hard to raise for his venture, the Well Brewing Company, due to a legal issue regarding liquor sales. For most, this news would slow or even halt progress, but Quinn never looked back. Since the minor setback, he has continued to validate his business model, secured a local brewmaster as a partner, learned the ropes as an employee at one of the top craft brewers in Calgary, and brewed his first batch of craft beer. The Institute’s vision is to graduate the most entrepreneurial minds in Canada. This entrepreneurial mindset will help students from across campus bring passion, creativity, perseverance and innovation to the organizations they create or join. Fostering an entrepreneurial mindset will not only enable students to start their own ventures, but will make them invaluable as early employees of other startups or as innovators in established organizations. This focus on innovation is critical. As a city, province, and country, we have no shortage of good ideas, enabling technologies, and patentable inventions. Innovation is about leveraging these inputs to create economic or social value. The Institute is a key enabler of the next generation of innovators in Calgary.
JMH LaunchPad Program The JMH LaunchPad Program was created to help MRU’s most entrepreneurial students pursue their passion and launch their own venture. This year, $88,000 in cash and prizes was awarded to ten different student entrepreneurs and innovative thinkers. In addition to much needed funding, students also received valuable coaching, mentorship and access to co-working space. In September we launched the LaunchPad Founders Circle, a non-credit program for ambitious like-minded students eager to validate, launch, and build their ideas. This elite group of Mount Royal University movers and shakers hold each other accountable to goals, foster peer-to-peer mentorship, receive guidance from industry experts, and have opportunities for funding. Program Coordinator, Jenn Richardson says, “Going into this year we were eager to see the students progress with validating their venture idea. We were also excited to see a tribe form among the students, as they found their community on campus. Just like a hockey team, entrepreneurs need support. In times of uncertainty and doubt, they will have a team to connect with, to find common ground, and to share knowledge.” This year through the Founders Circle we awarded $13,000 to seven students. The highlight of the 2016 program was the annual JMH LaunchPad Pitch Competition held on April 5 2016. Two hundred high-energy supporters and a panel of esteemed judges watched seven incredible Mount Royal student ventures compete for over $75,000 in cash and in-kind services. Zac Hartley opened the night by sharing that he had an incredible $50,000 in sales of his beautiful Smoke Barrels. And when Green Cup shared their $10,000 in revenue selling advertising on compostable coffee cups, the audience knew that the stakes were high this year at the LaunchPad Pitch Competition. “Most forward-thinking universities have a entrepreneurship pitch competition. They are often tied to a business plan class, involve teams of 4 or 5 students, and have little to do with the really hard work of actually launching a venture. We do things a little differently at Mount Royal. Of course, we do have many classroom pitches which are critical to learning, but the annual JMH LaunchPad Pitch Competition is far more “real’ than that. There are no marks on the line - the only thing pushing the students is their entrepreneurial drive. There are no weak team members - small, diverse teams are the norm. There is no sense that it’s over when the pitches finish. For our students, win or lose, the real work is just beginning. The real work of building their business.” - Ray DePaul The program is made possible through a generous donation of $250,000 over five years by JMH&Co. This year Jerry Gartly, a partner in JMH’s Calgary office, and his team were awarded the Generosity of Spirit Award for Small Business Philanthropist in recognition for supporting organizations like Mount Royal. Jerry and his team’s contribution to the program has been vital to its success. Over the past four years they have extended their contributions beyond their generous donation by being present at workshops, at the LaunchPad Pitch Competition, and working one-on-one with student ventures to provide them accounting services. In addition to JMH & Co., the Institute received prize donations from The BUSY Foundation, Stikeman Elliott LLP, Design4Change, the Institute for Community Prosperity and the Institute for Environmental Sustainability. In total, $60,000 in cash and $15,000 in in-kind legal and marketing services were awarded to six different student ventures.
January - April
This program allows students to test their initial assumptions through customer exploration, peer-to-peer learning and mentorship. Successful student applicants are awarded up to $2,500 to put towards their venture or to pay themselves while they validate their business idea.
This course provides the opportunity for students to roll up their sleeves and apply the Lean Startup method to their venture inside a non-traditional classroom. Students experience the fast-paced demanding environment of a startup as they present weekly findings from engagements with potential customers, partners and mentors.
LaunchPad Pitch Competition April
Slate Innovation Lab
The LaunchPad Pitch Competition is a Dragon’s Den-style event with student teams taking the stage to pitch their venture to a panel of successful entrepreneurs and investors, as well as an enthusiastic audience. The students are competing for $75,000 in cash and services. In addition to the prizes, students receive mentorship and access to our co-working space.
LaunchPad participants, both graduates and current students, are encouraged to use our on-campus innovation space year round. This interactive room is filled with whiteboards, reconfigurable tables, breakout rooms, and of course, a coffee machine. Slate is the Mount Royal University hub for creativity, innovation, and mentorship.
Entrepreneur Spotlight: Zac Hartley Zac Hartley, a fourth year Business Administration student, may not have realized what he was getting into when he launched his company while still a student. Zac’s company, Smoke Barrel, converts discarded wine and whiskey barrels into top of the line smokers. The beautifully designed smoker includes high-end features such as a wifi enabled thermometer, cold smoke generator, and custom branding options. After Smoke Barrel’s demand skyrocketed following a CTV news story, Zac quickly proved that he was capable of juggling scaling his new business with completing a full-time degree, as well as a part-time job that he couldn’t abandon. At the 2016 JMH LaunchPad Pitch Competition, Zac shared his sales achievement of $50,000 and pitched his ambitious vision to a judging panel of seasoned entrepreneurs and investors. That night, Zac walked away with $30,000 in cash and prizes, including a $10,000 JMH LaunchPad grant and a $10,000 BUSY Foundation grant. Zac graduated a few weeks after the competition and will now focus full-time on scaling his young, successful business.
2016 LaunchPad Participants Smoke Barrel
Zac Hartley Founded by fourth year Bachelor of Business student, Smoke Barrel manufactures custom hand crafted hot and cold smokers from old wine and whiskey barrels. The most beautiful smoker on the market can also be customized to tailor the product for the most discerning customer. JMH & Co Award: $10,000 BUSY Foundation Award: $10,000 Stikeman Elliott LLP Legal Services: $10,000 (in-kind)
Emily Bartlett and Ozzy Lang Founded by partners Emily Bartlett and Ozzy Lang, Green Cup is a social enterprise aimed at reducing the amount of coffee cup waste in Canada. They sell advertisements on compostable cups and distribute those cups in the advertiserâ€™s target market. JMH & Co Award: $10,000 Institute for Environmental Sustainability Award: $2,500
Nomad Eco Products
Zachary Champoux Zachary Champoux, the Founder of Nomad Eco Products, produces a 100% recycled yoga mat that mends our relationship with the planet by making what is torn, whole again. The yoga mats are made from recycled denim and are as unique as they are environmentally friendly. JMH & Co Award: $10,000
Brad Williamson Brad Williamson is the Founder of Tang, a geographic-based, temporary social media network that allows users to see what people are up to around them. Users can search for relevant content based off of a hashtag, within a particular vicinity, or both. The user controls how long the content exists so they can share silly moments without the infinite history of most social media. JMH & Co Award: $10,000 7
Little Blue Cloud
Carille Mendoza and Michaela Day Co-Founders Carille Mendoza and Michaela Day launched Little Blue Cloud, an online/app-based resource for students struggling with depression and anxiety. Features such as an anonymous peer support chat system and a self-help database provide a comfortable, non-stigmatized environment where users can talk to others facing similar situations. Institute for Community Prosperity Award: $2,500 Design4Change Marketing Services: $5,000 (in-kind)
The Well Brewing Company
Quinn Wilton Fourth year Bachelor of Arts student, Quinn Wilton founded The Well Brewing Company, Alberta’s first community driven craft brewery well-positioned to take advantage of the booming craft beer industry. Members receive exclusive access to member only beer, tasting events, and democratic voting on names and the types of beer being produced. BUSY Foundation Award: $5,000
Mo Baig Fourth year Bachelor of Business student Mo Baig is the Founder of Appy Agent. Appy Agent enables real estate agents to build deeper, more valuable connections with their client by providing a personally-branded mobile app that gives clients access to MLS home search, a mortgage calculator, live chat with the realtor, direct contact (call, email, sms), and social media.
Alumni of The Year: Stephen Guppy Stephen Guppy was part of the first JMH LaunchPad Pitch Competition in 2013. He blew away the audience when he shared that his software application had been downloaded over 7 million times. No one was surprised when he walked away with a $10,000 JMH LaunchPad grant. But what he proceeded to build with that funding and mentorship over the next 3 years has been amazing. Surrounding himself with an incredible team, his company, GNS3, quickly became the world’s biggest community of networking professionals - over 600,000 users from companies like AT&T, Google, Visa, Starbucks, GE and NASA. Stephen’s exceptional strategic and sales skills ensured they could continue to self-fund the growing company. Instead of turning to investors, Stephen turned to his loyal users and crowdfunded over $600,000 in 30 days. Earlier this year, Stephen capped off an amazing run with an acquisition for tens of millions of dollars, all before his 27th birthday. Stephen continues to be a mentor and an inspiration for our LaunchPad students. Stephen is the wise “old” entrepreneur in the LaunchPad community that has grown at Mount Royal.
Student Entrepreneur Of The Year Paul Shumlich
Global Student Entrepreneurship Awards - EO Calgary Chapter On November 20 2015, five Mount Royal University student entrepreneurs took the stage in front a panel of 15 esteemed judges, during the EO Global Student Entrepreneurship Awards. MRU entrepreneurs included: Zachary Champoux, Paul Shumlich, Aislinn Grant, Jamie Salih, and Zachary Hartley. Paul Shumlich was named Student Entrepreneur of the Year by the Calgary Chapter. Paul’s startup, Deepwater Farms, is a closed-loop aquaponic system that brings fresh organic food to local partners year-round. The system creates an environment where fish and plants are grown and harvested in water. The farm not only produces fresh produce, but also raises edible fish. The waste from the fish provides nutrients to the plants and the plants then clean the water – it’s a zero waste way to grow food. He won a $5,000 prize and a trip to Toronto in order to compete in a Canada-wide competition.
Students Shining on a Bigger Stage HKCBA pitch competition: 2nd: Paul Shumlich, Deepwater Farms; 3rd: Zac Hartley, Smoke Barrel EO Global Entrepreneurship Student Award competition: 5 MRU students competed; Paul Schumlich wins $5000 and trip to Toronto for nationals Rocky Mountain Grizzly Den, Banff: Jamie Salih, Hyperheat Sportstank, Charlotte NC: Jamie Salih, Hyperheat (only student team invited to pitch) Alberta Boostr: Well Brewery, TikTiks, Deepwater Farms, Green Cup TSX Ignite: Paul Shumlich, Deepwater Farms Startup Calgary Mobile Mondays: Derek Rucki, TLink Innovate Calgary Tech Meetup: Carille Mendoza and Michaela Day, Little Blue Cloud Canadian Business Model Competition, Dalhousie: Zachary Hartley, Smoke Barrel Alberta Young Innovators Award: Stefan Radeta, TLink
Andrew Brown - Alumni Follow up In 2013, the Institute welcomed Andrew Browne to the team as the first Student Entrepreneur in Residence. In this role, he planned and attended events, assisted in curriculum development, and worked closely with faculty to help improve the quality of the program, build the community, and provided a face for the program. After graduation, Andrew was asked to join Startup Calgary, a not-for-profit organization that focuses on activating startups, connecting founders, and growing the tech startup community in Calgary, as the VP of Operations. Over the course of a year, Andrew built and managed a 30+ person volunteer team, developed and maintained relationships with partners and sponsors, contributing to the development of Calgaryâ€™s startup ecosystem, all just one year after graduation. Along the way, Andrew learned from each of the individuals and startups he came in contact with. But even after his contributions to the community, Andrew found himself craving more. He wanted to start a venture and see it through from the ground up. Three years after graduation, over a beer and a common love for hockey, Andrew and his co-Founder, Brendan Koch, an MRU Computer Information Systems graduate, founded TikTiks with a third founder. TikTiks is a mobile peer-to-peer exchange platform for sports fans. They help passionate sports fans buy, sell, and distribute tickets to each other securely from their phones. As CEO, Andrew leveraged his startup knowledge and community connections to get TikTiks in the hands of users just in time for the 2015 Calgary Flames playoff run. In early 2016, TikTiks was granted $100,000 from the Alberta AITF program to develop their disruptive product. Today Andrewâ€™s connection to MRU remains strong. His board of advisors include many of his early supporters as a student: Ray DePaul, Director of the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Evan Hu, Adjunct Professor and Serial Entrepreneur, and Stephen Guppy, alumni and fellow entrepreneur. In addition to being the Co-Founder of TikTiks, Andrew is also on the Board of Directors at Startup Calgary, a role few will hold just three years into their entrepreneurial careers. 10
Supporting Curriculum and Faculty
Mount Royal excels at providing curriculum that pushes students to learn what it takes to build an entrepreneurial mindset through experience. In 2016, through the delivery of 9 entrepreneurship courses, 1151 students were enrolled in at least one entrepreneurship class. The Institute is proud to share that 45% of introductory entrepreneurship courses are taken by students outside of the Business School, resulting in cross-campus collaboration. Some of the highlights each semester include the competitive events such as the Innovation Tournament and the Venture Design Studio Finals held in conjunction with the Entrepreneurial Experience introductory class (ENTR 2301). This exciting course offers the opportunity to experience entreprepreneurship first hand.
This was the 7th year of running the semi-annual Innovation Tournament, a unique program, inspired by a similar tournament put on by Stanford University, where students are challenged to create as much value as possible from an ordinary object. In the Winter semester for the first time ever, professors challenged the students to a new level of creativity by giving them not one - but two mystery objects and a word for inspiration: bobby pin, sandpaper and the word, fearless. In just ten days, the students create, build and sell their product, all while making a three minute video to showcase their process. This exciting journey of innovation and creativity is celebrated with a film festival style event, where the top ten videos are showcased, and a panel of external judges determine the top three value creators.
Venture Design Studio
In the Innovation and Entrepreneurship introductory course, ENTR 2301 - The Entrepreneurial Experience, students experience what itâ€™s like to discover and validate ideas from the ground up. Throughout the semester, teams pitch their idea to a panel of judges on four separate occasions. Judges provide insight and feedback. Students then iterate and improve their venture each time. Approximately 350 students participate in this exciting journey of entrepreneurship each year. To celebrate, we end each semester with a bang during the exciting Venture Design Studio finals where up to 7 student teams pitch their ventures in front of 175 of their peers and a panel of seasoned entrepreneurs.
Mount Royal entrepreneurs have three minutes to sell a dream Seven groups of young entrepreneur’s battle against each other at The Venture Design Studio Finals Words By Angie Lang Anticipation was high at the Venture Design Studio Finals on Tuesday, December 8, 2015. Nestled in the Leacock Theatre at Mount Royal University, seven groups of young entrepreneurs gathered to compete against each other, to pitch their business idea in front of a diversely experienced group of panel judges. Before the event began, nervous chatter filled the room. Students from all faculties and all years, eager to present their ideas that could potentially change the world. The first group to take the stage was Forward Capital, a group of five students trying to revolutionize how online fund transferring is done. Their goal is to create a system that allows transfer of funds to happen as seamlessly and risk free as possible between high interest savings accounts. They set the bar high and with only three minutes, took the crowd by storm. An idea that originated from one of the ladies in the group who deals with social anxiety, Jayden Whyte, when she was sitting in class, frustrated and had no one to text and didn’t want to take to anyone around her. The realization of, ‘I wish there was an app for that.’ Fox Force, wants to create an app for peer support that includes experts, as well as, students. Judges were blown away and Fox Force took home second place. Encas, a recyclable water bottle with built in soap lid stepped up to take on the world’s problems. By creating a bottle with built in soap using biodegradable products, not only can consumers use this product outside, they don’t need to worry about harming the environment. With a mock-up design in the hands of the judges, Encas, came in hard and took the title of third place.
Most of us have experienced flying in a plane, but how many of us know what goes on up at the front of the plane, except that we trust our lives in the hands of our pilots. Who knew what pilot’s headphones and sunglasses were at conflict with each other? A group of young pilots came up with the idea of putting a special crafted “gel” on the sunglass arm, so pilot’s headphones don’t press on the head, which can ultimately cause pain and frustration. Quick strings, a group of five young music lovers, presented their never before seen idea, of creating a detachable head/ bridge of a guitar. This idea will bring simplicity to touring musicians on the road. The idea is to reduce the number of guitars needed to take on tour for travelling artists. Next up, Baby Butler, a female strong group with a determined idea of transforming the babysitting service. Their goal is to create a high quality service for families, by hiring highly educated, responsible and trained staff that will establish relationships with families and children, while maintaining a cost effective system for low income families. Apps are taking the world by storm and is a multi-million dollar growing industry, so when the ladies of Fox Force presented their idea on a student mental health mobile app, judges were instantly curious. Last to be in the limelight, a group of male and female entrepreneurs with their idea of Redefine. Their idea of Redefine is taking on the beauty experience. Modernizing the way female’s view their beauty experience, Redefine is a mobile unit that will offer the necessary essentials that females require for a big night out, or the preparation for the biggest day of their life, their wedding. The mobile beauty experience will transport clients to and from their required destinations, while providing food, champagne, hair and nails, the total beauty service experience. The idea hatched
when out at the bar, because all good idea come with alcohol claims Torin Hoffman, one of the team members with Redefine. The thought sprouted behind a need for ladies to get ready in one place before they went out for the night. As the night came to a close, the night couldn’t be completed without a few words of advice from Kat Marcs, fashion designer, leather innovator and innovator, as well as, some advice from Ray DePaul, as he claims a “recovering entrepreneur.” They both spoke about what it takes to become an entrepreneur, Marcs saying “it’s about sacrifice, illusion, fluidity and desire.” She went on to talk about what it mean to “recognize opportunities” and what it ultimately comes down to is the desire, whether you’re an entrepreneur or working in a small business, the number one thing is, desire. DePaul gave insight into, “building experiences beyond your degree.” He said “it’s what you do outside of the class that’s going to make you special.” There will be hundreds of graduates lined up to get their degrees to and going to find jobs but, DePaul emphasizes on students “finding that something” that lets them stand out. Judges came through the doors that would ultimately decide the fate of one of the seven groups of young entrepreneurs who were crossing their fingers their vision would spark a reality one day. As anxious chatter came to a close, the judges came to their final decision. So it would turn out that the people’s choice award and the first place award would line up systematically together, Redefine won over the judges with their “mobile beauty experience” and the crowd. The Redefine group all agree that as they move forward to take this idea outside of the classroom that a first place win is a huge confidence booster and something that will be as DePaul states, “building experience beyond your degree.” 12
Inside The Classroom The Institute’s connection with classrooms is an invaluable relationship highly valued by the team and faculty. Whether inside an entrepreneurship class, an interior design, or computer information systems class, the Institute challenges students from across campus to apply innovative thinking to their specialized expertise. Ray DePaul is a frequent guest speaker, sharing his insights from his successes and failures in industry including Research In Motion (now BlackBerry) and RapidMind Inc where he was the CEO. Ray is often asked to speak on topics such as technologies role in innovation, the challenges of growing a startup, what makes an idea successful, and the Whole YOU. But the Institute’s efforts do not stop there. Each semester Ray, Dustin and Jenn enter the classrooms of ENTR 2301, offering their expertise through feedback during the Venture Design Studio iterations. This face-to-face connection between the Institute’s team and the students establishes an invaluable relationship that often carries on through the remainder of their studies at Mount Royal. Torin Hofmann launched his first venture inside the classroom. Excited about the lessons he’d learned and his progress over the semester, Torin was eager to continue to pursue his venture. Torin reached out to the Institute. Over the next year, Torin was accepted into the Founders Circle, attended workshops, received $2,500 in funding, and completed Ray’s LaunchPad Accelerator course. Today, Torin shows no signs of slowing down in applying his gained entrepreneurial mindset to two separate companies. Providing an integrated, personalized experience both in the classroom and beyond has been key to the success of our students. The Institute’s connection to the classroom also works in reverse, where the Institute leverages the collective knowledge of our students to advance a project. As part of a senior marketing class, students picked apart the Designing YOU course and offered invaluable advice. The Social Innovation Hub project co-sponsored by the Institute and the Institute for Community Prosperity engaged an Interior Design class to generate concepts of what Calgary’s first co-working space for Social Innovation should look like. Our students never fail to impress.
Growing The Enterprise Learning by experience is at the core of our values at the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. To ensure Mount Royal’s Entrepreneurship students are graduating with real-life, hands-on experience, the Institute secured 5 startups to collaborate with the students in Associate Professor Wendelin Fraser’s ENTR 4343, Growing The Enterprise course. Following in-class pitches from local startups, Tropic Pops, Tik Tiks, Decco, Keewave and Beep For Service, students divided into teams and got to work conducting market research and devising strategies for growth. Students had full access to the founders of the startups throughout the semester - an invaluable connection. In the end, students leveraged their knowledge from as many as six entrepreneurship courses to deliver recommendations for how the startups could accelerate their growth. It’s experiences like this that differentiate our students upon graduation.
Computer Information Systems There’s no doubt that innovation and entrepreneurship is a cross-campus initiative that benefits students regardless of their program. On November 9, five Computer Information Systems Students presented their ventures during the second annual Showcase Showdown, to a panel of judges and an excited audience for a chance to win a raspberry-pi. Jacob Steelback took First Place for the vision and development of his game, Steelbacks. Vikas Bhagria came back for a second time, this time taking People’s Choice for his app, My Price Alert. Thanks to the enthusiasm behind the Showcase Showdown, the Institute is proud to have collaborated with Computer Informations Systems instructor, Jordan Kidney, for the Winter 2016 semester to bring entrepreneurial thinking to the COMP 3504: Programming 4 course. Ray kicked off the course by exposing the students on how to build technology products that people actually use. Throughout the semester, the Institute arranged for tech industry experts, including two MRU alumni, to share their successes and failures with software design, architecture, platforms, and workflow techniques. At the end of the semester students showcased their work during at a demo event for their peers and community. The Institute’s deep connections in the community permitted the instructor to expose the students to experts as well as enable the students to start building their own network in preparation for graduation.
Jacob Steelbacks Founder, Steelbacks
Founder, My Price Alert
David and Ray then published an Op Ed in the Calgary Herald calling on students to take control of their own future. The positive feedback on the article reinforced that they were on to something. Designing YOU was born. Designing YOU takes well understood design, entrepreneurship and product management principles that have been used on all of the products that we love and applies these concepts to designing “you”. It encourages students to view their university career as developing a product that they will launch when they graduate that product being themselves. This will ensure that when they walk across the stage at their convocation, they have designed the Whole YOU that will not only be employable but will also put them on the path to success - however they personally define success.
Designing YOU The idea for Designing YOU has been percolating for almost two years. Dr. David Finch, Associate Professor of Marketing, had published research identifying the skills employers were looking for in new grads. The top skills were dominated by “soft skills” such as listening and communicating. It reinforced the belief that a student had to go beyond technical skills to be successful. Somewhat independently, Ray DePaul was asked to speak to an Interior Design class on the topic of personal branding. Ray decided to present a concept he had been working on called the Whole YOU which was followed up with a popular blog called “You are way more than your degree”. 15
With support from Mount Royal Career Services, David and Ray have been busy co-writing the book, Designing YOU. They will be co-teaching a sold out course of the same name in the Fall of 2016. To ensure the student’s voice was not overlooked in this project, 2016 Valedictorian Amanda Schaufele was brought on as a Research Assistant to build a Student Advisory Board to offer advice to the authors. In addition, to ensure the book was sensitive to gender-related issues, Leah Hamilton, Assistant Professor of Human Resources has contributed an invaluable gender perspective to the book. This project has truly been “made at MRU”. The Institute is proud to be part of such an important project. By leveraging our unique knowledge of how you design products that people love, we hope to impact tens of thousands of students as they embark on their postsecondary career.
Learn to Live A Life Youâ€™ll Love.
Slate Workshops In order to augment what is being taught in the classroom, the Institute hosts workshops for students eager to extend their learning outside of the classroom. Workshops inspire ideas, introduce validation and experimentation, assist in the launch phase, and encourage growth. Industry experts, donors, and alumni from the Calgary startup community volunteer their time. This year workshops included: Formula for Success, Brand Yo’Self, Marketing Archetypes, Startup Storytelling, Introduction to Patents, and Sales Training.
Knowledge is Power In many ways, one of the primary responsibilities of the Institute is to break down stereotypes and preconceived notions of entrepreneurship. To reshape the way people view the title and to empower them to find their entrepreneurial mindset. To do this, the Institute’s team has made a commitment to sharing the stories of MRU’s students and alumni and to provide easy access to knowledge and inspiration about entrepreneurship. This year the Institute has published a blog a week, featuring short publications written by Director, Ray DePaul, Program Coordinator, Jenn Richardson, students and alumni. Not only does this give our current followers a real-time trickle of valuable information, but also provides new students a treasure trove of advice and inspiring stories.
What’s your moonshot? By Ray DePaul Tuesday, June 28, 2016
What will you do with your 10,000 hours? By Ray DePaul Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Whatever You Do - Just Do Something! By Jenn Richardson Tuesday, May 31, 2016
You can’t teach entrepreneurship By Ray DePaul Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Passion is necessary but insufficient By Ray DePaul Thursday, May 19, 2016
The MVP Surprise
By Torin Hofmann Tuesday, May 10, 2016
My Entrepreneurial Journey at MRU By Zac Hartley Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Featured Blog Post
The entrepreneur’s path to employment By Ray DePaul
I had just quit an executive position at a startup for all the right reasons (mismatched values, lack of faith in and respect for the founder) and for the first time in my adult life, I was unemployed. Now with all humility, I was financially stable and I had a pretty good resume, but I still dreaded the question that everyone asks in a social and professional situation - “So, what do you do?” My initial answer to the question was the typical and somewhat desperate responses of “I’m looking for a new opportunity” or “I’m between gigs”. Out of sheer ego, I started answering that “I was starting my own company”. The response to that statement was the complete opposite of the one I had been receiving with my weak answers. The most common reaction was an enthusiastic,“Really! Tell me more!”. Now I wasn’t completing lying. I was in fact looking into how I could use my talents behind commercializing technology and see if I could connect with a brilliant technologist to start a company. I embraced this path and started setting up coffee meetings with anyone who was tinkering on something or had similar experience bringing products to market. The more conversations I had, the more I understood the challenges and potential solutions that faced tech startups. My growing knowledge made subsequent conversations far deeper than early ones. I was becoming far more interesting to the people I was meeting. The lightbulb went off during one of those conversations when the other person enthusiastically offered me a job at their company. I wasn’t looking for a job but the entrepreneurial process of getting out of the building and engaging with potential customers and partners had made me attractive as an employee! I turned down that job offer and a couple more. The short version of the whole story is that I found my brilliant founder and joined as CEO, selling the company to Intel less than 5 years later. While I’m fully aware that my situation is different than a graduating student in a tough job market, I think the approach can still work. If you find yourself unemployed or underemployed after graduating, consider starting your own company. Then go out and follow the lean startup and customer development model. Engage customers and partners with the enthusiasm and diligence that a founder does. Dig into the problems they encounter. Get smarter on your particular area of interest than virtually everyone else. It might result in you starting your own company, or it might result in you being so impressive that someone offers you a job. Good luck!
Sharing Through The Lens Of The Students Not unlike most businesses around the world, the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship has leveraged its social media to reach new and engaged students to share the importance of innovative thinking and lessons derived from the life of an entrepreneur. “Our students have so much knowledge they’ve gained from getting outside the building to validate and launch their ventures, and to me it’s so important we empower them to share this gained insight with their peers and the community. Since handing our Instagram feed over to a student or alumni for a week at a time, we’ve received great feedback from both the students but also the community on the quality and authenticity of the information the students are sharing”. - Jenn Richardson
Business School Research Network The Institute continued its founding support of the Business School Research Network (BSRN). The mission of the BSRN is to enhance the positive impact of business schools on students, professional practice, scholars and communities through facilitating collaborative research of business schools management and practice. The BSRN is composed of 21 researchers from 15 business schools who are involved in different aspects of our research. The BSRN had another successful year, publishing 2 papers, with 2 more under review, and 4 studies in process. In addition, 4 presentations of their work were condusted and a symposium was hosted.
Campus Transformation Challenge
The Campus Transformation Challenge was a day long student innovation challenge focused around three topics to help improve / transform the campus. The categories were waste, space, and culture. Over 20 students came together from diverse backgrounds and faculties to contribute to solutions focused on each of these categories. The students then presented to a panel of judges and university staff that in many cases, were in a position to work with these students on each of the ideas. The event was a large success with the winning team receiving funding to work with the University to make their idea a reality.
This past year, the annual 24 Hour Clean Tech Community Challenge was taken back to the classroom as marketing
students in the Professional Brand Studio capstone course executed a brand refresh. To reflect the sense of community, collaboration and vibrancy within city, Vivacity was created! With the refresh, Design4Change expanded the community challenge to engage 44 students of differing post-secondary institutions and disciplines to create innovative solutions and sustainable impact through re-design and activation of under utilized spaces within Calgary communities. The expansion saw the collaboration of mixed teams of students from six partner post-secondary institutions: Ambrose University College, Sait Polytechnic, Bow Valley College, University of Calgary, University of Lethbridge, and Mount Royal University. Additional support, collaboration and mentorship came from Calgary City Hall coordinators, MRUâ€™s Institutes for Community Prosperity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and Environmental Sustainability, as well as various community sponsors. The goal of the Vivacity 24 hour Community Challenge is to help lay the foundation to create civic minded individuals in an open and collaborative space. This event strives to develop and tailor the concept of â€œthird spaceâ€? where design solutions are conceptualized and executed in our communities by individuals from all skills and abilities. The level of engagement, collaboration and mobilization for sustainable social change demonstrated by each participating institution and their students in 2015 has set a precedence for upcoming community challenges and like events. 20
Where Marketing Meets People At Design4Change, we provide meaningful employment experiences in an agency environment to students on campus. This year Design4Change completed over 60 projects for 31 unique clients. This provided 14,380 paid hours of valuable experience to 8 students and 5 recent alumni from the Marketing, Information Design, Journalism and Accounting programs. Over the course of the next year, Design4Change plans to extend experiences to additional programs to reach even more students cross-campus. While the agency continues to work primarily with startups and commercial clients, they saw a return to their roots and passion for community focused organizations and projects that aim to improve social well-being to individuals, groups and neighbourhoods. This lead the Design4Change team the opportunity to work with and establish ongoing relationships with Children First Canada, Vivacity, and ALS Society of Alberta.
External clients ALS Society of Alberta - This past spring, Design4Change collaborated with the ALS Society of Alberta to produce a 30 second public service video announcement (PSA) for commercial broadcast. In addition to serving as an awareness piece for the society, the PSA promoted the Betty’s Run for ALS. ALS Society of Alberta approached Design4Change with a challenge; They wanted to change the stigma of hopelessness associated with ALS to coincide with their mission to make each day the best possible day for people living with and affected by ALS. In the past, broadcast pieces created for the ALS Society were bleak and focused on the degenerative aspects of the disease. Rather than focus on the negative outcomes of the disease, Design4Change shifted the focus to be on the amazing work the society does by providing equipment and client services necessary to help families make each day the best day possible. The entire PSA is based around the concept of ‘making it possible’. Design4Change achieved this concept by highlighting the value a single chair has contributed to making life better and possible for more than 25 individuals, their families, and countless friends. The commercial PSA for the ALS Society of Alberta was aired on CTV and Global between May 23 and June 12, 2016.
Skyline Concrete - Skyline Concrete has been working locally since 2002. As they have continued to grow and expand their focus to include Western Canada, they found they had to refresh their brand to coincide with their change.
New Managing Director
Design4Change was tasked with taking Skyline Concrete from foundation to finish by conceptualizing and designing a new logo and brand that was carried through to be used on their website and marketing collateral, including business cards, safety equipment and truck decals.
Internal clients Discovery Snapshots Design4Change championed a pilot program that strived to extend impact of academic work by putting a new twist on knowledge mobilization and exchange among scholars, students, practitioners and broader communities. The Discovery Snapshot is a two to four page overview of research methods and outcomes that are then simplified and translated into a visually engaging version of the original research. Design4Change collaborated with researchers and students from the MRU community to create 15 Discovery Snapshots to be used on websites, at conferences, summits and in media. Since the initial pilot, Design4Change has continued to collaborate and create Discovery Snapshots for researchers beyond the MRU research community.
When Change is in the name, you know that it must not only be embraced but designed in. Design4Change has been fortunate to have Tyler Massie as its Managing Director for the last 2 years. A graduate of Mount Royalâ€™s Marketing program, Tyler did an exceptional job leading this team. Tyler was given the opportunity to run virtually all aspects of a marketing agency, literally the day after he graduated. He created processes that didnâ€™t exist, he hustled new business for the agency and mentored the team to new heights. But in keeping with the mission of Design4Change, it was time to give another new graduate an opportunity to embrace this leadership role. As we thank and wish Tyler farewell, we welcome Nicole MacDougall as the new Managing Director. Nicole has a BBA with a Major in Marketing and has spent time at Design4Change as a student. With the guidance of Ray DePaul and Patricia Derbyshire, Associate Professor and Chair of Entrepreneurship, Marketing and Social Innovation, we are confident that Design4Change will continue to provide meaningful, paid experience to our students.
Enactus is an international non-profit community of students, academic and business leaders committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and shape a better more sustainable world. There are chapters in 36 countries, operating in 1,700+ universities, with 70,500+ members, resulting in over 1,950,000 people impacted since launching. Annual series of regional and national competitions provide a forum for teams to showcase the impact of their outreach efforts, and to be evaluated by mentors and executives serving as judges. National champion teams advance to the prestigious Enactus World Cup to experience excellence in competition, collaboration and celebration. Enactus Mount Royal had an incredible year placing in the top 16 teams in Canada out of the 64 who competed at the National Exposition. With 96 student members contributing a total of 8382 volunteer hours, Enactus Mount Royal improved on and created 7 projects directly impacting 869 individuals and indirectly impacting over 60,463 people. Projects include a social enterprise reducing the coffee cup waste in Canada, educating former sex trade workers in financial literacy, encouraging environmental stewardship to elementary students, and reducing smoke inhalation leading to sickness and death in Kisii, Kenya. Enactus Mount Royal is driven by the tireless faculty advisor, associate professor Wendelin Fraser. The Institute is honoured to be able to offer entrepreneurial guidance and administrative support to the students who year after year make us proud. This year 10 Enactus Mount Royal members travelled across the globe to participate in the prestigious Enactus World Cup in Johannesburg, Africa. Although the team did not make it to the finals they engaged with global entrepreneurs and had the opportunity to view and learn from other countriesâ€™ projects.
1st Place Entrepreneurship, Stoke, Western Canada Regionals 1st Place Environmental, Green Cup, Western Canada Regionals 2nd Place Financial Literacy, EmpowerU, Western Canada Regionals 3rd Place Youth Empowerment, Recreate, Western Canada Regionals
HSBC Woman Leader of Tomorrow On March 4 during the 2016 Enactus Canada Regional Exposition, Victoria Strosky was awarded the HSBC Woman Leader of Tomorrow award for Western Canada. Victoria has been a dedicated member of Enactus Mount Royal since 2012. Through the 2015 school year, Victoria held the role of Vice President, Project Research and Development. In March 2016, Victoria was named Co-President of Enactus Mount Royal. Victoria is a passionate leader and a driven social innovator. She received the HSBC award for her work with the Enactus Mount Royal project, EmpowerU. To date, the project has empowered 35 former sex trade workers to go back to school and take steps towards financial independence. Victoriaâ€™s work as a leader in social innovation began long before her post secondary career and will continue to thrive and grow long after.
STOKE In July 2014, after being inspired by her grandfather’s decision to invest in an orphanage in Tanzania, fourth year Bachelor of Business Administration student, Paisley Dressler decided to sign up for a volunteer term in Kenya. Paisley, determined to make a positive impact on the world, came home inspired and eager to share her vision with her Enactus team. Moved by the serious health effects caused by cooking indoors with an open fire, Paisley and her Enactus Mount Royal team got to work. To turn this idea into action, the team secured $2,500 in funding from Mount Royal’s Institute for Environmental Sustainability. In addition, they competed in The Change Tank, where they were awarded an additional $30,000! In July 2015, three students travelled back to Kisii, Kenya. While there the students connected with the expert stove builder in the country, training two more metal workers in Kisii on how to build the STOKE stoves. Together, they manufactured and sold 100 high-efficiency stoves, invented by Dr. Paul Anderson, that does more than just cook. Because the stove is enclosed, it is able to reburn smoke as it is produced, limiting the amount of smoke entering the homes of families. This reburning also produces a product called biochar, which, when added to the soil, increases crop yields. STOKE Co-Founder, Timothy Lipp will spend the summer in the University of Waterloo’s Greenhouse accelerator program, refining the business model and ensuring the highest level of social and economic impact is being made.
Green Cup For any individual, tackling one of the world’s largest sources of waste can be a daunting task, let alone while simultaneously working towards your Bachelor’s Degree. For Emily Bartlett and Ozzy Lang, giving up or making excuses was not an option. The problem: coffee cup waste. Alongside his Enactus Mount Royal Team, Ozzy Lang began brainstorming ways to combat the reduction of coffee cup waste in local Canadian landfills. What started as a grassroots initiative inside Ozzy’s garage, grinding cups and molding them into baseboards, shedding cups and using them as insulation, has now morphed into a social enterprise. After acknowledging their lack of knowledge in engineering, the team decided to steer away from bandaid solutions and started looking towards their team’s skills. By utilizing Emily’s marketing experience from Design4Change, together Emily and Ozzy launched Green Cup, a social enterprise marketing agency. Green Cup sells advertisement space on compostable cups and distributes those cups in the advertiser’s target market. “Over the last 8 months, I’ve had the pleasure to work with a couple of young entrepreneurs, Ozzy Lang and Emily Bartlett. They started their journey full of passion about the massive amount of waste that coffee cups contributed to our landfill. They tried collecting cups on campus and even ran a change.org campaign to raise awareness and received over 60,000 signatures on a petition emploring Tim Hortons to switch to compostable cups. Their passion took them pretty far, but it didn’t result in the tangible change that they had hoped for. 24
Then they started looking at the problem as an entrepreneurial venture rather than a cause. Why do coffee vendors use non-compostable cups? They are cheaper. What if it was actually cheaper to use compostable cups? Interesting. How could they make this happen? (I love the Why, What if, How approach to finding opportunities - give it a try.) - Ray DePaul, Passion is necessary but insufficient May 19 2016, Institute For Innovation and Entrepreneurship Blog
Fast forward three months later, Ozzy and Emily took the big stage during the JMH LaunchPad Pitch Competition, sharing that they had made their first $10,000 in sales and are showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. They plan to continue making an impact, one cup at a time, through controlled environments such as high schools and events. “Passion started this journey and it was necessary to fuel everything that followed, but it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t until they viewed the problem as entrepreneurs - understanding the needs of the customer, talking with dozens of people, negotiating with suppliers, crunching the numbers, and closing a sale - that they actually achieved their original goal. Because of Ozzy and Emily’s entrepreneurial approach, hundreds of thousands of coffee cups will be diverted from Calgary’s landfill, and these young entrepreneurs will be financially rewarded for their innovative efforts.”
Ozzy Lang & Emily Bartlett Co-Founders, Green Cup
Engaged In The Community Calgary Entrepreneurship Ecosystem With a steady increase in unemployment in Calgary, there’s no time like the present to expose our citizens to the benefits of innovative and entrepreneurial thinking. To do this, the members of the startup community recognize the importance of collaboration over competition. To bring a new energy to the city, and to revitalize job creation, the leaders in the startup community are going to work together, leverage each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and share knowledge and resources. The Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is just one of many proud members of this community eager to get involved and give back to their community.
Thought Leadership Ray DePaul continues to play an important role in the broader Calgary innovation and entrepreneurship community. After serving on the board of directors of Startup Calgary for three years, Ray was invited to serve on the board of Innovate Calgary. Alongside other directors from the University of Calgary, the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, and the entrepreneurship community, a collaborative approach will accelerate Calgary’s innovation economy. Ray was also named the inaugural Innovator in Residence at the Calgary Chamber of Commerce. In this role, Ray will be able share his experiences with Calgary’s small and medium enterprises and play a small role in preparing the local economy for a more innovative future. Ray is a popular speaker at Chamber events including the Onward conference with 1300 attendees and as the keynote speaker at the 125th Chamber AGM. Ray can also be found a couple of times a week having an early morning coffee or an after-work beverage with local entrepreneurs in the community, offering advice and support whenever possible. It is through these valued engagements that the Institute can reach out to the community to help our students. For example, Ray met Adam Keeling, the founder of Keewave a year ago, offering him startup advice. Adam’s company went on to be one of the live case studies in the Growing the Enterprise course. Ray tipped Adam off to an investment opportunity and now Adam is in discussion with Design4Change to provide marketing support for an upcoming crowdsourcing campaign.
Ray DePaul Director, Institute For Innovation and Entrepreneurship
The Institute believes that any barriers between post secondary institutions and the broader community are largely self-inflicted. The Institute doesn’t merely engage with the community, we are an integral part of the community. 26
Middle School Entrepreneurship
On February 26, Institute Program Coordinator, Jenn Richardson, joined fellow startup community members, Jim Gibson, Melissa Bell, and Stephen King inside Mountain Park School’s Grade 8 classrooms. Teachers, Wendy Wasylciw and Melony O’Neil spent the school year guiding their students through the early stages of entrepreneurship, from the idea stage to getting out into the community to see how realistic their goals are. The students started the unit with discussions around the Greeks and Romans being true innovators. Jenn spent a few hours inside the classroom, sharing her lessons as a young entrepreneur and answering questions from the eager students. “They’re going for the moon and we as teachers, we give them as much expertise as we can, but I’m not an engineer,” said Wasylciw. “So, we’ve been working with them to connect with experts in the community.” - Calgary Metro, Wednesday, January 27 2016
Calgary’s Teacher Convention
On February 11, students Tori Storsky, Quinn Wilton and Carly Fielding, with MRU’s Social Innovation Animator, Dustin Paisley and Program Coordinator, Jenn Richardson spent the day inside a classroom at the Calgary Teacher’s Convention empowering K - 12 teachers to bring entrepreneurial thinking into their classrooms. Lead by Stephanie Chan, a Learning Leader for the Calgary Board of Education, teachers from across the city were lead through problem discovery and the Lean Business Model Canvas, to bring the lessons into their daily teaching practices and into their lesson plans.
World cafe with the World Food Bank
Recently, the Calgary Food Bank has been asking a number of intriguing questions about the role it plays in the greater ecosystem of a community. We all know the basic function a food bank serves, but when we go beyond the food, we uncover a number of unique and interesting set of challenges ranging from logistics & supply chain, waste diversion, government policy, and organizational structures. These are not the typical questions or conversations one would expect when speaking to a food bank. In 2015, Mount Royal University and the Calgary Food Bank signed an MOU to explore these questions. This year, in collaboration with the Institute for Community Prosperity, Dustin hosted a World Cafe to explore potential areas for collaboration and intersection.
Community Gathering for the Social Innovation Hub
On November 30th, alongside the Institute for Community Prosperity, a group of over 30 community members working within social innovation convened for a discussion about the possibility of an on-campus innovation hub.
The group discussed challenges in the community, opportunities for growth and various design and operating preferences that would help to make the hub successful. True community engagement requires bringing the community into the design process and that is exactly what we are doing with the Social Innovation Hub. More on the HUB on page 31.
University of Calgary Legal Clinic Collaboration
The success of entrepreneurs is not only driven by their ambition and dedication to their venture, but by the community’s dedication to supporting them. Through collaboration with the University of Calgary’s Legal Clinic, five Mount Royal student companies received legal guidance, while also allowing the U of C students to broaden their horizon and put their learnings to practice. Staffed by senior law students, but mentored by volunteer lawyers, this service ensures students are able to start ventures while in post secondary, without the burden of large, unattainable bills. It’s relationships like this that decrease the barrier to entry for Mount Royal students starting a venture.
SAIT NSERC Collaboration
As any good entrepreneur will tell you, you have to identify your own weaknesses and develop relationships with others to fill the gap. When successful student company, TLink Golf, was looking at designing their second wearable watch, the Institute introduced the founders to SAIT’s Applied Research group. TLink and SAIT were awarded a $25,000 NSERC Engage grant to help design version 2 of the highly successful golf GPS watch.
The Institute as a Connector
Playing the role of a connector is a serious commitment. In order to be able to connect MRU students to people in the community, it’s vital to get out the building and go to where the community lives. Attending Startup Calgary events, the Chamber of Commerce, Innovate Calgary, and ATB Boostr pitch competitions, along with frequenting coffee shops early in the morning and grabbing a drink after work, creates a powerful ecosystem and is often cited as the most important thing governments and institutions can do to support entrepreneurs. Being able to connect students to people that can help also means that the Institute has the ability to connect the community to other members of the community. These vital connections often come in the form of angel investors, mentors, industry experts and international connections.
Rod Brown - Mentor Extraordinaire As a young entrepreneur, having a mentor to guide and support you is an invaluable asset to your personal and professional development. Rod Brown is a familiar face around Mount Royal. Not only is he an alumni from a couple of decades ago, he is also a serial entrepreneur with a string of successful ventures and a valuable network. Three years ago, after being invited by the Institute to a Mount Royal Entrepreneurship event, Rod met Derek Rucki, the student founder of TLink Golf. Derek’s maturity and drive instantly blew Rod away. Rod was once again exposed to Derek’s entrepreneurial mindset when Derek pitched TLink Golf on stage at the Venture Design Studio finals, taking first place for his succinct and well developed idea after just one semester. Rod went on to mentor Derek and act as an advisor. After recognizing the strength of their partnership, Rod joined Derek as an investor and is now the Chief Operating Officer of TLink Golf. Relationships between people like Rod and Derek only form when the Institute makes the connection. Some of these connections flourish and the results can be transformative for the students and the community.
Virtual Institute Team The Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Entrepreneurship program would most certainly not be where it was today if it were not for the countless community volunteers who are present in the students lives, both inside and outside the classrooms. The Institute’s challenge is often not a problem of limited external assistance, but rather finding ways to manage the large number of individuals and organizations willing to jump in to support students. We continue to look for creative ways to leverage the remarkable goodwill sent our way.
Alumni Engagement Graduation doesn’t mark the end of student connections with the Institute. Since graduating, Aislinn Taylor, one of the first recipients of a JMH LaunchPad grant, has launched a new, successful venture. Aislinn has returned to Mount Royal on several occasions offering expertise and mentorship to students from across campus. Aislinn and her team partnered with the Mount Royal Marketing Society and the Institute to host a Brand Yo’Self workshop. Twenty five eager students filled the Slate Innovation Lab during a highly interactive workshop teaching the importance of understanding your values, both as an individual and as a company. Students walked away with tangible resources to implement what they’d learned. Aislinn will return in the Fall semester to once again deliver this exciting workshop to a new group of students. Aislinn’s efforts to give back doesn’t stopped there. She’s offered 1:1 mentorship to students like Bryton Udy, an MRU marketing student who launched his own agency. After attending the 2016 JMH LaunchPad Pitch Competition, Aislinn graciously offered to help Quinn Wilton, the founder of the Well Brewing Company, with his branding. It’s efforts like this that make the Mount Royal Entrepreneurship community a thriving network of alumni, students and mentors. But it’s not just about alumni giving back to MRU. Many of the alumni continue to leverage the relationships they’ve built with people like Ray DePaul and adjunct professor Evan Hu.
MRU is in the process of building a new innovation hub focused on solving society’s problems, big and small. A joint initiative of the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Institute for Community Prosperity, this new social R&D space is a shared working and learning space. It will be a place on campus where social-purpose businesses and organizations, with a strong culture of learning, innovation, and collaboration, will be able to co-locate with, mentor, and engage MRU’s emerging student changemakers. This is a shared office space, where the students and community organizations with a social mission will work alongside and with one another. These organizations span the spectrum of socially-purposed commercial for-profit entities, to non-profit community organizations. The common thread is that organizations are making a positive impact on the world. Part of the vision of the hub is to act as a social R&D space, where the space itself acts as a place where the research, experimentation and prototyping can lead to the development of new breakthrough collaborations, and new innovative social-purpose solutions. The hub sits at the intersection of learning, community, and innovation. The Institutes see the hub for social innovation as a catalyst for supporting Calgary’s social innovation community, serving as a unique and urgently needed social R&D space as part of a larger innovation ecosystems of hubs, labs, incubators, and accelerators throughout the city. What makes the MRU hub thoroughly unique, however, is that learning will be core to the mission of the hub; it will provide real-time, curriculum-tied learning experiences to student changemakers, along with reciprocal learning to community changemakers. These exchanges can range from lunch-and-learn workshops, and one-on-one mentoring to classroom collaborations, to formal research projects. The social innovation hub is still in the planning stage, but we hope 2016/2017 will see the launch of Calgary’s first such space and welcome between 30 and 60 hub members to the Mount Royal campus. With a mixed use space of offices, shared desks, and hot desks, there is opportunity for many organizations to work on campus within the hub. With ample common space to allow for coffee chats, collisions, social labs, workshops and team meetings, the space is designed purposely and collaboratively to serve the needs of students and the greater community. 31
Social Innovation Hub
Forward Thinking As the Institute approaches its fifth anniversary, it will be a time to reflect but also to plan what the next five years will hold. The Institute has been a catalyst for innovation and entrepreneurship on campus, and there is no question that we have had a tremendous impact on students and the community. As we look forward, we will be looking for ways to scale that impact. We envision scaling in two dimensions: scaling up and scaling out. Scaling up requires providing a greater impact for those we already serve. That will mean providing more financial resources and mentorship to our student entrepreneurs. Scaling out requires us to look beyond the current stakeholders we serve and expand the impact we are having to new groups. Launching the social innovation hub to support community innovators and taking an active role in high school entrepreneurship are examples of the areas we are exploring. We take the name of the Institute seriously and are committed to being recognized as innovative and entrepreneurial in the pursuit to graduate the most entrepreneurial minds in Canada.
The Team Ray DePaul
Director The Institute is led by Director Ray DePaul, a strategic visionary with 25-years of experience working in high-tech and innovation. Before joining the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Ray was the President and CEO of RapidMind Inc., a spin-off company from the University of Waterloo. Ray steered RapidMind through $11M of venture funding, significant market growth, and turned the company into an industry leader, resulting in the acquisition by Intel Corp. Prior to Rapidmind, Ray spent five years with Research In Motion (now BlackBerry) and was responsible for product management of the iconic BlackBerry. Ray developed and executed RIM’s business plan, product strategy and product launches to help to guide BlackBerry through the exciting early adopter stage in 1999; ultimately establishing the BlackBerry brand as the smartphone market leader. Ray holds a Bachelors of Mathematics degree in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo and a Masters of Business Administration from Wilfrid Laurier University. Ray was the recipient of the 2011 MBA Alumnus Award for Outstanding Innovation and Achievement.
Tracy Pfeifer Administrative Assistant
Tracy moved from Winnipeg to Calgary in July 2001 and started with the Institute in August 2001 when it was originally created. She left her position working with the dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of Winnipeg to make the move with her husband. Tracy’s motto is “change is good” which has served her well as her roles are always changing and she loves the diversity her position brings. Tracy feels very fortunate to work with such an amazing team at the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Community Prosperity.
Jenn Richardson Program Coordinator
After graduating from Mount Royal University in 2014, Jenn joined the Institute eager to further establish a thriving community of students from across campus looking to step outside their comfort zone, to learn through experience, and to validate, launch and grow their idea. Jenn is also a successful entrepreneur with her own photography business, Azra Images.
Dustin Paisley Social Innovation Animator
Dustin is a recent graduate from Mount Royal University where he focused on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, with a particular interest in Social Innovation. While in University, Dustin was President of Enactus Mount Royal where he worked on community development projects and learned how to use the positive power of business to change lives. Dustin is an advocate for social innovation and plays an active role in the greater social impact community. Today, he works in conjunction with the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Community Prosperity building MRU’s Social Innovation Hub. Dustin is also a successful entrepreneur as co-founder of the popular Local Laundry brand of clothing and accessories.
Annual Report 2016
Stories of the most entrepreneurial minds in Canada. Mount Royal University Calgary, AB
Published on Aug 23, 2016
Stories of the most entrepreneurial minds in Canada. Mount Royal University Calgary, AB