A new entrepreneurial resource is being offered through UFV’s school of business and the Entrepreneurship and Process Innovation and Incubation Centre (EPIIC).
A business incubator is an organization that offers resources and mentorship to new and startup companies in order to aid them in gaining traction and getting off the ground and into the market. Business incubators will typically share office space, offer mentors, and give young companies financial and marketing support.
In terms of UFV space, the incubator will use BH105 on the Abbotsford campus, which connects to the cafeteria and the large classroom in B121. Although it is open to anyone, very few ideas are actually accepted into the program; as an incubator, EPIIC is far from being a business assistance service whose purpose would be to administer support to as many businesses as possible. The goal here is to identify ideas and concepts with a strong potential for economic growth.
“To be very frank, I’m not really interested in just developing a new hot dog cart on the corner … or something like that — I’m interested in something that could potentially have some substantial economical impact,” says Mike Ivanof, associate professor in the school of business at UFV. Mike has worked extensively in the business world, consulting and managing.
An incubator such as this would look predominately for models that are scalable, modular, and can exist without inventory. Concepts that satisfy these metrics tend to be projects that are technology-related and internet-based, ideas that “have the potential of being born global.” However, Ivanof doesn’t want to narrow the scope of the project, saying, “We’re not opposed to any other idea that could have some economic value.”
Proposals submitted to EPIIC will be evaluated by a panel composed of four professors — three from the school of business and one from another faculty. There is also the possibility that representatives from the Discovery Foundation, a funding partner for the project, may also be involved in the decision making. The foundation was unavailable for comment.
For those whose proposals are accepted, the incubation centre will work with the needs of the business.
“All the way from concept to commercialization,” Ivanof says. “Many people have good ideas but they don’t have the resources, they don’t have the expertise to take those things all the way to commercialization.”
Through collaboration and mentorship, EPIIC intends to bring up promising businesses, then create an exit strategy to see these companies innovate and grow in profitability.
According to the American Psychological Association, groups “perform better on complex problem solving than the best of an equivalent number of individuals.” Ivanof highlights this, saying that, “In essence, innovation is a group process. One individual can be highly creative, but to actually transfer that idea all the way into an economic benefit, it takes a long time and it takes a lot of people.”