Earlier this week, the Entrepreneurship Society hosted the first ever #InnovaTour! On Tuesday night, eager students and a dedicated team of their peers toured around the most innovative stops on UWaterloo’s campus and in the region.  #InnovaTour stops included the Velocity Residence, St. Paul’s GreenHouse, the Accelerator Centre, the Conrad Centre and the Communitech Hub. Attendees were given a tour passport for the event (which doubled as a great take-home resource!) that included trivia facts about every stop, contact information and a map of all the destinations.

Brent, a current UWaterloo student living in the Velocity residence, kicked things off with a great presentation in the Velocity Great Hall, telling #InnovaTour participants that Velocity was a four-month residence option for current upper year students interested in entrepreneurship. At 70 beds small, the Velocity residence offered a tight-knit community of motivated innovators. In addition to seeing the Great Hall (which held all of Velocity’s events), participants also saw the Maker Space and the War Room.

A quick walk led participants straight from Velocity Residence to St. Paul’s GreenHouse where Lexi Salt, the GreenHouse Program Coordinator, showed off their space and gave a very informative presentation. Attendees learned about social innovation at UWaterloo, some of the current GreenHouse social innovators, and heard about students that have gone through the program and continued to tackle their problems – like Richard Yim of Landmine Boys and Rachel Thompson of Marlena Books.

The group then hopped on a bus and travelled to North Campus to visit the Accelerator Centre (AC) and the Conrad Centre, both conveniently located in the same building. Clinton from the AC gave an informative and inspiring talk about the program and showed off the impressive graduate wall.  #InnovaTour participants learned that the AC focused on a hands-on approach to help companies scale up, develop their team and create a gameplan through customized blueprints. Students also learned about Momentum, the AC’s newest program designed to help products and companies fit into their desired market.

At CONRAD Centre, Amanda and Wayne warmly welcomed the group into their space with hot chocolate, timbits and an informative video. At this stop on the tour, participants learned all about the Masters of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (MBET) offered at the Conrad Centre, which is a 1 year program focusing on experiential learning with practicum courses to help experience new venture creation. The presentation also outlined Enterprise Co-op, the Bridging Entrepreneurship to Students program and how to minor in Entrepreneurship.

Tour attendees then boarded the bus and headed to downtown Kitchener for the final destination: the Communitech Hub. While on the bus ride, the group was quizzed with trivia and awarded with swag like Velocity t-shirts, Conrad water bottles, lanyards, and sunglasses! Upon arrival at the Communitech Hub, Karen and Holly were excited to show participants Space 151, the Back Alley, the West Wing, the Laurier Launchpad, the Velocity Garage as well as a space for big corporations to focus on internal innovation in a collaborative environment. Attendees were able to truly understand Communitech’s dedication to helping local tech companies start, grow and succeed by seeing Communitech’s space and hearing about their programs.

Following the #InnovaTour was a Fireside chat with Joseph Fung of Netsuite Waterloo. This event hosted both UWaterloo and Laurier students, who asked the guest speaker difficult and intriguing questions.

After the Q&A, attendees played a fun networking game and made their way to Firkin at the Tannery for a social to finish off a great night.  

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