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Student Entrepreneur Advising Program

Submitted by kjcoyle on Mon, 01/23/2017 - 10:38am

The Student Entrepreneur Advising Program will be returning in Fall 2017 with a variety of new advisors.

Please stay tuned!

The Hunter Centre’s Student Entrepreneur Advising Program engages professionals from the entrepreneurial community who meet with individual students or founders from the University of Calgary regarding a new venture idea or plan. The SEA Program is open to registered students and post-doctoral fellows at the University of Calgary. Students are welcome to participate at any stage of the ideation process – from concept development to team formation, incorporation and initial operations.

The SEAP offers students the opportunity to spend up to 30 minutes with an advisor on Thursday afternoons from 1:30pm-3:30pm at Scurfield Hall 473 (Haskayne School of Business). In engaging with our advisors, students will receive impartial and unbiased advice on a broad range of new venture activities, including; support for ideation, product development, marketing, intellectual property law, finance, human resources and founder issues. These advising sessions are educational only, and are offered free of charge.  Students are welcome to participate in the SEA Program on one or multiple occasions as scheduling permits.

The industry expertise, skill and entrepreneurial experience of our advisors will vary (of course) from person to person, however, over the course of the year we expect to draw advisors and entrepreneurs from all major industries and functional areas of expertise (marketing, finance, law etc.) to participate in the SEA Program. These advisors are volunteering their time, they are not here to do the work for any student or team, nor are they there to make any specific connections (although they might).

How to Participate

Interested to meet with one of our SEAP advisors? Please follow the participation guidelines below:

  1. Please review the schedule, location and advisor profiles that are provided. Sign up for a session that fits with your schedule.
  2. All participants must complete the SEAP Intake Form as well as the Acknowledgement and Release Form prior to their scheduled advisor session. Please email these forms to by Tuesday at noon during the week of your scheduled advising session.
  3. All participants are responsible for ensuring that the SEAP Intake Form, to the best of their ability, contains accurate information regarding their venture or venture concept.
  4. All participants should arrive 10 minutes prior to their scheduled advising session.
  5. We expect all participants in the SEAP to be professional and courteous in their interactions with the advisor(s). While an ongoing relationship is not expected from the advising meeting, based on mutual agreement, participants and advisors may sustain a professional relationship and maintain contact outside of the SEAP.
  6. All participants acknowledge that the advisors are volunteers and are not on hand to do the work for the participant(s).
  7. All participants are expected to notify the Hunter Centre promptly to describe any problems in their advisor interactions as part of the SEAP.

January 19 - Juan Benitez

Juan Benitez

Business Advisor with Alberta Innovates
Executive in Residence with Kinetica Venture

I am passionate about leveraging Canada’s resources, diverse technical expertise, and large talent pool to dramatically diversify our economic base and position Canada as a leading global technology hub. 

If Alberta is to create jobs and diversify our economy, then we need to build successful companies. It takes a diverse team of experienced internal and external resources, and a good understanding of the commercialization path, to successfully build a company. I believe that my background, knowledge and experience can help companies progress.

Learn more about Juan...

February 2 - Jory Lamb

Jory Lamb

CEO at VistaVu Solutions

Through my career, I have successfully started and sold several technology based businesses. As a huge fan of the entrepreneurial spirit, I started the Calgary Accelerator program for EO, served on the EO Accelerator global board, acted as a judge for the Global Student Entrepreneurship awards, mentored over 20 startups and delivered talks to hundreds of existing and would be entrepreneurs on managing growth. Most recently I have been engaged by Innovate Calgary to assist a few start-ups with their go to market strategies.

Learn more about Jory...

February 9 - Mark Blackwell

Mark Blackwell

Senior Manager at SolarWinds

Mark Blackwell currently is the Entrepreneur In Residence at the General Electric Industrial Internet Accelerator in Calgary. Most recently Mark was the Chief Operating Officer of GNS3 Technologies, an enterprise networking start-up, which was acquired in October for over $30MM by Solarwinds. While at GNS3 the company grew to over 8000,000 monthly active users, 11MM downloads and was utilized by such organizations as the US Department of Defence, AT&T, Walmart, Google, Facebook and more. Mark also has experience as a venture investor while helping to run the Cenovus Energy Corporate Venture fund and investment banking with CIBC.

Learn more about Mark...

February 16 - Danny Way

Danny Way

President at The Viridis Group

I believe the future lies in smaller companies, who are amazing at one thing. These companies will leverage other amazing companies for the non-core work that needs to be done, so they can continue to be experts in what they do. It will take a special combination of outside the box thinking, hard work, and commitment to make these smaller companies successful. That combination of entrepreneurial thinking and the ability to work hard and learn from failures is what is required to get small business off the ground. 

Learn more about Danny...

March 2 - Jason Innes

Jason Innes

Partner at Uncommon Innovation

I am a business and technology minded professional with over 15 years of experience in designing, building, launching and selling new products that solve valuable global problems. I have helped launch new products in a variety of industries including consumer and enterprise software, e-commerce, online financial services, internet communications, industrial testing, robotics, and optics.

Specialty skills include: problem identification, business case development, market and competitor analysis, customer discovery, product and market strategy development, product roadmap planning, and marketing communications.

March 9 - Carey Houston

Carey Houston

Strategic Advisor at Flint Strategy Inc.

Proven strategic technology executive with over 20 years operational and advisory experience. Successful track record in developing winning strategies, launching and selling products, creating and motivating strong teams, and bringing discipline to planning and execution. Skilled in managing start-up and high growth tech ventures, including B2B software, hardware, and services. Keen to support the next generation of tech entrepreneurs, through mentorship.

Expertise: strategic and operational management; all aspects of marketing including mar com, product management, PR; business development.

March 16 - Jim Gibson & Joe Martini

Jim Gibson

Founder at Tip of the Spear

I have spent 30 years being at the center of technology’s evolution and adoption across the world. I have formed companies in spaces that didn’t exist prior to starting the business. I have succeeded – in varying ways and degrees - in most, and failed in some. I have been on the front lines of the very complex and difficult process of building real companies. I have put my c

ompany’s payroll on my VISA and I have raised millions in start-up capital.

Complementing my entrepreneurial and capital investment is my Management Consultant designation (CMC) along with a Bachelor of Commerce in accounting and an MBA in Finance. With this I understand both the accounting and the real balance sheets of the companies with whom I engage. 

Joe Martini

Director at Zone Startups Calgary

In my new role leading the Ryerson Futures/GE Technology Accelerator, I collaborate with a passionate team of colleagues to provide early and mid-stage startups with the industry/customer connectivity and support required to commercialize technologies primarily focused on:

  • IIoT (sensors, data capture and data analytics);
  • Energy technologies;
  • Power generation, transmission, distribution and usage; and
  • Smart buildings and smart cities

April 13 - Lynette Lefsrud

Lynette Lefsrud

President at Gridstone Marketing

Learn more about Lynette...