Mercer swings by the Neuroeconomics Lab, the Victoria Hand Project and the Faculty of Music see more
Canadian comedian, television personality, political satirist and author, Rick Mercer, paid a visit to the University of Victoria on Jan 16th's "Mercer Report" episode.
Mercer swings by the Neuroeconomics Lab, the Victoria Hand Project and the Faculty of Music. Click below to watch the segment!
Research hopes to get remote coastal communities off diesel-based power see more
Author: Travis Paterson
UVic draws $2.4M towards harvesting clean energy from the ocean
Research hopes to get remote coastal communities off diesel-based power
The influx of $2.4 million into clean energy is a stepping stone towards renewable energy alternatives for B.C.’s remote coastal communities and heavy-duty marine transportation companies.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Jonathan Wilkinson made the announcement at the University of Victoria on Thursday. About $1.4 million from the federally run Western Economic Diversification Canada will establish the Pacific Regional Institute for Marine Energy Discovery at UVic, which will strive to develop and commercialize wind, wave and tidal energy technologies.
“Clean energy is a critical piece of the [Canadian clean growth plan], the mechanisms are obviously different here than in Saskatchewan, and the marine side of it is something we’re very interested in,” Wilkinson said. “It’s an area still developing, it offers significant promises on both the West Coast and the East Coast, where they’re interested in tidal technologies.
“This type of technology offers the promise of being able to take [coastal communities] off diesel and put them on a renewable source.”
The other $1 million is coming from the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation, in conjunction with Seaspan Shipyards, and will go to a green transportation research team at UVic. Mechanical engineer Zuomin Dong leads the team and will work with UVic’s Institute for Integrated Energy Systems to find ways clean energy use can be implemented in the heavy-duty marine, mining and transportation sectors.
Brad Buckham, mechanical engineer and lead with PRIMED, said the $1.4 million is the latest of many grants and will continue ongoing research that will eventually help remote coastal communities, including Indigenous communities, move away from using diesel fuel generators to produce electricity.
Buckham said the more money they can put towards current research models now will save money for the communities, and companies, who eventually install the wind and ocean propulsion technologies to provide them with electricity.
Among the projects PRIMED has worked with are the wave monitoring buoys and a turbine that monitors wind performance.
There are several of the yellow wave monitoring buoys anchored in the Salish Sea and one off of Sombrio Beach. The wind turbine, on the other hand, is land based (mounted on a trailer) but will give way to ocean-based turbines, said Curran Crawford, a UVic associate professor and researcher with UVic’s Institute for Integrated Energy Systems.
“Putting the turbines on the ocean gets them away from people and avoids the NIMBY [issue], plus there is a lot of wind offshore,” Crawford said.
As the costs of wind-produced power have come down, the West Coast of Vancouver Island is being eyed for turbines that either float, or are on a base driven below the sea, Cawford said.
“As we tackle the many challenges posed by climate change, our researchers are leading the way in sustainable energy research, working closely with governments, industry and community groups to foster clean growth and low-carbon economic development,” said UVic president Jamie Cassels. “We’re very grateful to the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation and Seaspan for their investments in this vital work, which responds to one of our most significant national and global challenges.”
A group of UVic engineers is working with 3-D printers to help children in the developing world. see more
Source: Times Colonist
Author: Richard Watts
UVic engineers use 3-D printing to help children overseas
A group of UVic engineers is working with 3-D printers to help children in the developing world.
The bio-medical engineers use the printers to fashion corrective devices and braces to treat clubfoot and scoliosis, curvature of the spine. They will begin in Nepal.
The group has been awarded a $100,000 seed grant, one of 20 across Canada. The federal government’s Grand Challenges Canada announced $2 million in grants on Monday.
UVic team member Nick Dechev said the two orthotic conditions are no more common in developing countries than in Canada. But a visitor to the developing world is likely to notice adults and children with disabling deformities of their feet and bent spines.
Most people with the two conditions don’t receive the inexpensive and simple corrective measures in childhood.
“In Western countries, it is relatively rare to see an adult with a clubfoot,” said Dechev. “But if you go to the developing world, it’s not uncommon to see adults with their feet rotated outwards at 90 degrees.”
With scoliosis, in countries such as Canada, children whose spines begin to curve are often treated with corrective braces. These are worn for a few years until bones stop growing.
Dechev said his team believes that for less than $50 worth of plastic and printer time, effective treatment devices can be fashioned to assist a child overseas with either of the two deformities.
That’s to make immobilizing foot platforms and braces worn by infants and toddlers to treat clubfoot, and plastic girdles worn by children, ages six to eight, for scoliosis.
Dechev is part of the Victoria Hand Project, an already successful entry into assisting people in the developing world using 3-D printers. It has deployed scanners and 3-D printers to fashion customized prosthetic hands in Nepal, Guatemala, Ecuador, Haiti, Cambodia and Egypt.
The Victoria Hand Project partners with existing clinics overseas where it sets up a 3-D printer and scanner. It trains locals to use the machines to fashion customized prosthetics. Including the cost of materials and local wages, the cost of a prosthetic hand is about $300.
That same device in the developed world runs about $3,000, largely due to higher wages.
Dechev said it’s expected the latest move to treat clubfoot and scoliosis will piggyback on the Victoria Hand Project. That group has already installed printers and scanners and trained technicians.
“Eventually, it’s expected the Victoria Hand Project will inherit the orthotic technology and deploy it,” he said.
The latest research grant will be used to test the effectiveness of the 3-D-printed, plastic orthotic braces.
To do this, the research will initially see 12 scoliosis children fitted and treated, along with 24 clubfoot cases. They will be monitored by clinicians for two to three years.
Dechev said part of the grant funding will be kept on hand so people can step in and fit standard braces if the plastic ones start to go wrong.
“It’s not just thrown over the wall to people,” he said. “There is a process of two to three years of follow-up to make sure everything is going well.”
Grand Challenges Canada was started in 2010 as an independent, non-profit agency funded by Global Affairs Canada. Its mandate is to assist with new ideas in areas of women’s and children’s health in low or middle-income counties.
Since it began, 470 ideas have received funding. Of those, 60 per cent arose from the developing countries themselves and 40 per cent arose in Canada. All Canadian ventures must partner with local people to qualify.
Liam Brown, spokesman for Grand Challenges Canada, said 20 per cent of ideas funded so far have entered a phase where they are ready to scale up to a point where they will have a significant impact by 2030.
That’s a rate significantly higher than similar venture-capital initiatives.
Tech community members are invited to join these open discussions! see more
Software Engineering Research Seminars at UVic
A group of PhD graduate students at the University of Victoria run a weekly seminar to present and discuss current software engineering research. Presentations are conducted by UVic computer science/software engineering faculty, grad students, as well as the many visiting faculty and industry professionals that collaborate with the program. The seminars are held on Thursdays at 11am in the UVic Engineering/Computer Science building.
Members of the Victoria tech community are invited to join these open discussions! If you would like to attend, check the seminar website to see what's being presented each week or sign up for the mailing list: https://research-seminar.github.io/. If you have an idea for a seminar or would like to present something, please contact the organizers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UVic provides FREE legal information to anyone with a business-related issue. see more
University of Victoria’s Business Law Clinic:
Free Legal Information for Your Business Needs
The University of Victoria’s Business Law Clinic provides FREE legal information to anyone with a business-related issue. This includes entrepreneurs, innovators, and members of the technology sector in the Greater Victoria Area.
Since 1998, the students that staff the Business Law Clinic have worked to meet the legal demands of the community, notably helping those who lack the resources to retain a lawyer. Every year, the Clinic services approximately 100 clients, each with their own unique business-legal needs. Law students of the Business Law Clinic work closely with clients to assess the inquiry, and provide legal information catered to the needs of the client. Previous topics have included:
Incorporation (eg. sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, etc)
Financing (eg. the different ways to obtain capital)
Charitable Registration (eg. the next steps for a society)
Intellectual Property Protection (eg. copyrights or trademarks)
Business Liability (eg. your exposure and risks)
Partnership Agreements (eg. necessity and expansion)
Employment Law (eg. the rights of an employer or employee)
The Business Law Clinic offers important educational opportunities for students entering the legal profession. Students of the Clinic benefit from developing their practical skills on client-file management, conducting effective interviews, and examining the diverse legal issues affecting their community. The students will find guidance in Michael Litchfield, an experienced business lawyer and director of the Clinic, as well as from the lawyers across British Columbia that have volunteered to mentor their future colleagues.
Students at the Business Law Clinic are not lawyers, and therefore cannot provide legal advice, legal opinion, nor assist in active litigation. Students may only provide legal information related to business. If you require business law information and are interested in our services, please contact the Business Law Clinic today!
The Clinic operates year-round, except for the months of April, August and December. For more information, visit the Clinic’s website at www.uvic.ca/law/jd/lawclinics/businessclinic. To book an appointment, contact the Clinic at 250-472-4522 or email@example.com
The Trauma Resiliency Program is geared towards veterans, military members and first responders. see more
Source: CHEK News
UVic experts develops program to help those battling with PTSD [Video]
"Trauma tends to isolate people makes people want to disappear, disconnect," says Dr. Tim Black, "As people we don't survive and do very well when we're not connected"
The UVic psychology researcher announced the launch of the Trauma Resiliency Program geared towards veterans, military members and first responders. It's a collaborative project with Wounded Warriors Canada.
"A lot of people who have an operational stress injury like PTSD don't even know what it is or why it's causing them the symptoms and the struggles that they're living with," explains Scott Maxwell, Executive Director of Wounded Warriors Canada.
Maxwell says the group training will help those who have been exposed to traumatic events, to become more resilient.
"Traumatic injury is real and it's never gonna to go away," he says, "This is just the nature of the line of work for these people. So we want to be there in their time of need to help them."
Brad Cameron with the B.C. Ambulance Service says in the midst of the fentanyl crisis, the program couldn't come at a better time.
"It impacts not just the individual paramedic or first responders but also the family so it is something that we face and we're continuing to face every day."
The first training session is already full and begins this weekend in Sooke. Jason Campbell is among the participants.
"A lot of us with PTSD, we don't know how to deal with it so some guys you know go to drinking or push away from their family,' says Campbell, "Or you isolate yourself from the community."
The army veteran of 15 years says the program is a step towards removing the stigma around PTSD.
"We just got to talk more about it and talk with each other about it and help each other."
Wounded Warriors Canada hopes with additional funding, they will be able to take the program across the country and come back to Vancouver Island to give training to a new group in need.
Winter arrives with three decades of experience in the technology sector and government. see more
Source: Times Colonist
Author: Darron Kloster
UVic business school adds technology top gun
Alan Winter has joined the Peter B. Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria as an adjunct professor.
Winter arrives with three decades of experience in the technology sector and government. He is a director of Discovery Capital, the B.C. Business Council and Geoscience B.C., and is a member of the University of B.C.’s Research and Innovation Council.
Between 2001 and 2016, Winter was president and CEO of Genome British Columbia, a research group established in Vancouver to enable B.C. to become a world leader in selected areas of genomics and to develop a vibrant life sciences cluster in the province.
Winter’s other roles include founding president and CEO of the New Media Innovation Centre in Vancouver, president of the ComDev Space Group in Ontario, and president and CEO of MPR Teltech in Vancouver. Winter chaired the federal Communications Research Centre, served as deputy chair of the Council of Science and Technology Advisors and was a member of the Council of Canadian Academies.
At UVic, Winter will be a guest lecturer. He will provide career advice and be a mentor to students. He will work with faculty on research, teaching and curriculum development and ensure that courses line up with practices in specific fields.
"There are going to be some incredible new ventures coming out of the city." see more
Source: Times Colonist
Author: Andrew Duffy
University’s Innovation Centre adds to thriving tech sector
Greater Victoria’s burgeoning high-tech sector may want to brace itself — it’s about to get even bigger.
That’s the warning from Jerome Etwaroo, associate director of the Coast Capital Savings Innovation Centre at the University of Victoria, who said his campus program has been brimming with life since it was relaunched last year.
“Watch out Victoria. There are going to be some incredible new ventures coming out of the city. We can see the early signs here that something great is going to happen,” said Etwaroo. He noted the program has nearly tripled the number of ventures through its doors that its predecessor saw in its first few years of existence.
That mirrors the explosion of the local tech sector, which has set a goal of having combined revenues of $10 billion annually by 2030. Currently, technology revenue from Greater Victoria’s 880 tech firms is estimated by the industry’s umbrella group, VIATEC, to be in excess of $4 billion a year.
The new version of the Innovation Centre, which replaced the three-year-old ICE project in 2016, has a new mandate and focus and a broader appeal than its predecessor, and that seems to have translated into more interest on campus and beyond.
ICE was initiated in 2012 by the Gustavson School of Business, and expanded the following year across campus. The idea was to provide tools, expertise and space on campus to help entrepreneurs develop their ideas.
Since its start, ICE helped launch about nine companies and brought 21 companies from ideas to the stage where they were ready for investment.
Since it was relaunched in partnership with Coast Capital Savings last year — with a financial commitment of $450,000 over three years — the Innovation Centre has met with 75 ventures and helped about 20 to get to the marketplace.
“Over the last year, we have seen close to 75 companies. When we started last year that was our three-year goal,” said Etwaroo.
The difference has been the partnership with the credit union.
With funding from Coast Capital, the centre has offered seed money for prototypes, supported business-plan competitions to help entrepreneurs develop their ideas alongside community mentors and created learning opportunities with co-op terms for students working on their own business ideas.
Etwaroo said at the same time the Innovation Centre moved out from under the business school and into a more central role in order to appeal more broadly to the entire campus, and in so doing create partnerships between departments and faculties.
The centre takes no stake in the companies it incubates. “We have support across campus from every faculty,” he said, noting there has been a cultural shift toward eliminating silos and fostering collaborative efforts. “We have more examples of engineers wanting to work with business students and business students working with engineers. We are finding some real community building on campus.”
Tyler West, program co-ordinator for the centre, said they have seen a bit of everything come through their doors on campus.
“We have entrepreneurs from every faculty — we have a girl making traditional Chinese dumplings all the way through to some very high-tech projects,” she said.
They are dealing with companies of all stripes, including Pani Energy, which is working on renewable energy generation and storage systems for sustainable energy development; a mobile application developer called Antidose that is developing software to help people receive first aid in situations of opioid overdose; and an on-demand cleaning service called BnBreeze that bills itself as the Uber of cleaning services.
Etwaroo said as the program has grown in popularity, so has community support. “A big change in the last year is the number of people who have put up their hands willing to help,” he said. Organizations such as VIATEC and other business veterans have been willing to work with the early stage companies.
The Innovation Centre now has volunteer executives in residence and a large community of mentors willing to help.
Etwaroo said early signs suggest a deluge of great ideas are about to hit. “We think the business case for the [Innovation Centre] speaks for itself,” he said. “The indication is the impact has been a positive one and it’s reaching a lot of entrepreneurs and providing them support.”
It was nearly five years into the development of what was initially titled Dollhouse... see more
Source: Times Colonist
Author: Michael D. Reid
Gaming guru Mattrick receives UVic honour
Don Mattrick grins as he recalls a classic example of his legendary persistence, and how it spawned a $5-billion franchise while he was president of worldwide studios for the Electronic Arts gaming company.
It was nearly five years into the development of what was initially titled Dollhouse, a passion project the ambitious business mogul was working on with game designer Will Wright.
Even though his executive team threatened to resign, he soldiered on and Dollhouse morphed into the hugely successful life-simulation video-game series The Sims.
“Literally, for five years someone would come into my office and say, ‘This is never going to ship! This is the dumbest product you’ve ever had,’” recalled the amiable tech titan at the University of Victoria Monday morning. Mattrick, who on Monday night received the 2017 Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year award, was at UVic to inspire fourth-year Peter B. Gustavson School of Business entrepreneurship students.
“‘You have 75 full-time people working on this! All the rest of us are busy making a difference in our company,’” he said, recalling the reaction of some colleagues. “Does Will have compromising pictures of you?”
While executives accused Mattrick of having “this huge blind spot,” the Victoria-based entrepreneur’s tenacity paid off with a product that became one of the best-selling video games in history.
“You have to try and champion things,” said Mattrick, who has done plenty of championing since his teenage years when he offered to work for free at a ComputerLand store after unsuccessfully applying for a job there.
The Burnaby-raised visionary’s experiences inspired him to create Distinctive Software Inc., which would become Electronic Arts. So began a career turning startups into major businesses and setting the standard for video-game development during three decades in the technology sector.
Other career highlights include his tenure as CEO of Zynga, the social-media gaming company, and as president of Microsoft’s entertainment businesses, overseeing the growth of the Xbox console and its PC gaming businesses.
He has served on public and private boards, including the advisory board for the USC School of Cinematic Arts and is currently serving as co-chair of the Premier’s Technology Council.
As well, Mattrick is an honorary fellow with the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia, and holds an honorary doctor of laws from Simon Fraser University.
While Mattrick answered questions about his successes, he wasn’t above acknowledging his missteps. He recalled the one that got away in the 1980s — Tetris.
“I’d seen the first prototype,” he said. “Three friends pulled me aside and said: ‘We could write this in three hours! You cannot pay this money to license this.”
He said he considers having passed on the tile-matching puzzle video game released in 1984 a mistake — albeit one he’d learn from — since it went on to become a $2-billion franchise.
“It’s overwhelming when you start something,” he said. “But it gets easier because you learn how to accept failure and success in the same way. Give yourself permission to fail.”
Without revealing the person’s identity, other than to quip it wasn’t Mark Zuckerberg, Mattrick said he just spoke with an “Internet gazillionaire” friend. He asked for advice on how to inspire students at UVic.
“He said: ‘Just kick them in the rear and tell them to go do it,’ ” Mattrick said with a laugh.
“There’s no perfect entry point. The benefits of doing it are going to teach you a lot more than the benefits of trying to make a perfect choice.”
Mattrick said he was fortunate to have some great coaches who taught him the importance of time management, setting priorities and how to think strategically.
“At the end of the day, it’s about people and the first person you’re managing is yourself,” he said. “Be resilient.”
He emphasized that starting a tech company is “a team sport” and that his experiences in the U.S. have confirmed that Canadian entrepreneurs are as talented and as capable of success.
“In the U.S., they’re just more brash and competitive,” said Mattrick, who added that “I’m a bit of a hermit” who happens to be “super-competitive” but likes to think things through before taking action.
When asked to name his proudest achievements, one of his answers took some students by surprise.
“I married exceptionally well,” he said, referring to his wife of 25 years Nanon de Gaspé Beaubien-Mattrick, president and co-founder of Beehive Holdings, the investment firm that supports women entrepreneurs.
“My wife speaks five languages, is a literature and business school grad. She pulls me aside all the time and says: ‘I can’t believe you said that in a public setting. You are such a geek!’
“She’d remind me that most people wouldn’t care about the math. They’d care about the emotion.”
A DISTINGUISHED LIST
Previous winners of the University of Victoria Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year award
• 2016: Linda Hasenfratz, CEO Linamar
• 2015: David Foster, businessman, philanthropist and record producer
• 2014: Dennis Washington, founder of The Washington Companies
• 2013: Brandt C. Louie, chairman of London Drugs
• 2012: Dennis (Chip) Wilson, founder of Lululemon Athletica
• 2011: J.R. Shaw, founder of Shaw Communications
• 2010: Alex Campbell Sr., co-founder of Thrifty Foods
• 2009: Sir Terence Matthews, chair of Mitel Corporation, and chair and founder of Wesley Clover
• 2008: Clive Beddoe, founding shareholder in WestJet
• 2007: David Black, president of Black Press
• 2006: Gwyn Morgan, former president and CEO of EnCana Corp.
• 2005: Dave Ritchie, chair and former CEO of Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers
• 2004: Jeff Mallett, former president and chief operating officer of Yahoo!
The Victoria Hand Project started using 3-D printers to build low-cost customized prosthetic hands.. see more
Source: Vancouver Sun
B.C. non-profit's affordable 3-D printed prosthetics in the running for $750,000 prize
A B.C. non-profit society that makes three dimensional printed prosthetics for amputees in developing countries is one of the finalists for a Google grant worth $750,000.
The Victoria Hand Project started using 3-D printers to build low-cost customized prosthetic hands less than three years ago. Since then, it has fitted 70 people in Nepal, Guatemala, Ecuador, Haiti, Cambodia and Egypt who would otherwise go without. The project operates out of a biomedical design lab at the University of Victoria.
“If we win, we can expand into at least five new countries, and we can build hands for 750 people free of charge to them,” said Michael Peirone, a project designer and recent biomedical engineering grad. “Getting picked out of hundreds of projects in Canada, and by a company like Google, it’s pretty exciting.”
The prosthesis was designed in the 1990s by University of Victoria professor Dr. Nikolai Dechev when he was still a master’s student at the University of Toronto. It languished on a shelf for close to two decades because it was too expensive to produce. Then, in 2013, a mechanical engineering student named Josh Coutts came up with the idea of using 3-D printers to build the device.
The Victoria Hand Project partners with clinics in impoverished communities to set up a print centre with a 3-D printer, a 3-D scanner, and other supplies and equipment. It trains local technicians to use the machines, which print out a custom socket and prosthetic made of a bioplastic called PLA, or polylactic acid. The hand has an adaptive grasp and movable thumb and is activated by a shoulder harness.
The cost, which includes prosthetists and technicians, is about $300, a fraction of the usual $2,000 to $3,000 cost of a conventional prosthetic. Peirone, who has travelled to Ecuador and Nepal to set up the program, has witnessed first-hand the impact the prosthetics can have on people’s lives.
“In some countries, if people are missing a limb, they are ostracized from society or can’t get a job,” said Peirone. “After we give them a hand, they’re able to get a job. We have people using a pen and writing on a piece of paper again.
“When we work with patients and they say ‘thank you’ and their lives have changed, that’s what we do this for.”
The Victoria Hand Project is one of 10 finalists for the Google Impact Challenge, which will award $5 million to 10 non-profits. Judges will choose four organizations and the public will vote for one organization that will receive $750,000. Voting goes until March 28. The winners will be announced March 30 in Toronto.
There were robots and rockets and a talking glove, oh my! see more
Source: Times Colonist
Author: Michael Reid
Around Town: Geeking out at Discover Tectoria
There were robots and rockets and a talking glove, oh my!
It wasn’t just super-cool technological crowd-pleasers like these that made Discover Tectoria, the high-tech showcase that packed them into Crystal Garden on Friday, such a blast.
As one visitor remarked, almost as impressive as the high-tech doodads was that there were so many We’re Hiring signs displayed by dozens of local technology companies that participated.
While this family-friendly event did to some extent have the feel of a hiring fair, it was a predominantly educational and entertaining showcase for the region’s thriving tech sector.
“What is Tectoria, anyway?” was one question overheard from those not already in the know about the catchy moniker created by VIATEC (Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council) in 2011.
To quote its playful slogan, Tectoria, the umbrella title for the capital region’s tech sector, is “home to 100 killer whales and 1,500 killer apps.”
To describe the products and opportunites on view as mind-blowing would be putting it mildly, whether you were marvelling over the fun and games or the scientific applications.
Popular draws included Victoria Hand Project’s low-cost 3D-printed prostheses, used in developing countries where amputees have limited access to prosthetic care.
Another eye-catcher was Tango, the revolutionary glove designed to overcome the communications barrier between deaf and hearing individuals by using a glove equipped with sensors and a microcontroller.
A user’s hand gestures correspond to phrases or letters that, via Bluetooth, appear on a smartphone screen in a text format that can be output as a digitized voice.
Kamel Hamdan, Alaa Dawod and Abdul-Rahman Saleh head the development team for the University of Victoria project, working in association with Coast Capital Savings’ Innovation Centre.
Other highlights included LimbicMedia’s interactive blinking-light installation; VRX Ventures’ massive racing simulator; and the Holografx station’s Instagram photo booth.
“We’re creating a new prototype, our biggest screen at 49 inches,” said Anamaria Medina, a Colombia-raised electrical engineer who works at the Esquimalt-based company.
The tech firm develops innovative holographic tools used to showcase products, services and company logos, she said.
“We did the Instagram photo booth because this is what teenagers do now,” she said, pointing to giant hashtags and other social media tools.
Matthew McCormack said he joined a capacity crowd for an afternoon seminar on Victoria’s video game sector in the Innovation Theatre to learn about employment opportunities.
“I want to know how to get into the video game arts. What’s the best route to get my first job, to skip over working at the grocery store and get right to where I want to be working?” the Claremont student said.
McCormack, an avid gamer who plays Rainbow Six, a first-person shooter, and the futuristic vehicular soccer game Rocket League, learned being a fan isn’t necessarily enough.
“It’s a highly competitive industry. We don’t just hire you if you’re really into games,” said Eric Jordan, CEO of Codename Entertainment, with a smile.
“You’ve got to be really good at art, or marketing, or businesss or programming, depending on what we’re hiring you for.”
Jordan offered the crowd some pointers, including VIATEC’s Student Video Game Work Experience Program, which gives students a chance to work in a gaming studio.
Moderator James Hursthouse of DigiBC got a few laughs when he asked if “there is something in the water here” to explain why so many tech types come to Victoria.
“I think it’s where people want to live,” said Magda Rajkowski of Kano Apps. “It’s beautiful here, and there’s a lot of creativity.”
Even before you entered Victoria Conference Centre, it was hard to miss UVic Centre for Aerospace Research’s sleek carbon fibre-and-fibreglass drone parked outside.
“This is our workhorse, an aircraft designed to carry payloads, conduct research for companies or collaborators who want to test equipment,” explained operations manager Eldad Alber.
One software developer, for example, asked the team to design wings that would be flexible based on their software designed for such a purpose.
“Hopefully we’ll get more students interested in aerospace,” said Alber. “A master’s program for aeronautics is going to be available soon, so it would be nice to see more exposure and people applying for it.”
ArticleThe goal of this proposal is to extend the students’ experience beyond the classroom while... see more
UVic offers up course to improve your requirements collection process
Gathering, analyzing and communicating requirements is a key activity that can make or break a software project. At UVic we are teaching a course in which the students learn techniques for such activities. They typically apply them in student projects, gaining some insight into the difficulties but also strategies to overcome in the requirements engineering process. The goal of this proposal is to extend the students’ experience beyond the classroom while attempting to benefit the local industry in Victoria.
- Provides UVic’s graduates with the opportunity to learn about requirements engineering practices at Victoria’s software companies as well as
- Enhances the relationship between UVic’s Software Engineering entity and Victoria’s software industry
Proposed involvement in this partnership
The UVic students are enrolled in a Requirements Engineering course at UVic’s BSENG Program (Bachelor of Software Engineering) and conduct a course project.
In the second part of their project, this partnership allows them to also analyze a software company’s methods/processes to gather, analyze and communicate requirements with their customer base. The students are then tasked to produce a report on these practices. The report (1) reflects upon these practices relative to the techniques learned in the classroom and (2) recommend areas for improvements in the company’s processes/methods.
The software company agrees to be contacted by a group of students in the course (typically 5-6 students) and coordinates a number of visits to the company (as appropriate) during which the students learn about their methods/processes for requirements gathering, analysis and communication to their customers.
Period of involvement
The UVic course runs for 13 weeks between January and beginning of April 2017.
The students will be expected to conduct this study with the software company for about 6 weeks during mid February and late March. The companies are then invited to a final course presentation of all groups in the course and receive their report.
Software companies who are already participating in this project include: BeanStream, sendwithus, SierraSystems, Checkfront and Referral Saasquatch.
We are looking for registrations no later than January 15th. To register, please contact Rob Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org
New UVic course offers tips for navigating through technology integration in Business see more
New UVic course offers tips for navigating through technology integration in Business...
Managing in the Digital Economy: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You
VICTORIA, BC – This January, the University of Victoria’s Division of Continuing Studies is launching a new course, entitled Managing in the Digital Economy.
Designed for working business professionals, this online course examines how the evolution of information technology and systems is rapidly changing today’s business environment.
Instructor, Nav Bassi, says, “This course [aims to] demystify the opportunities and challenges created by technology and provide guidance on how to leverage technology for business success, while mitigating risk.”
It’s important to note that this is not an IT course; it is a business course that business leaders, managers and decision-makers from any industry will find applicable.
The course will explain what the term “digital economy” means and discuss some of the challenges that can arise from it. Participants will learn how to make decisions on applying technology to address business needs, while also understanding and managing the inherent risks.
Director of Business & Management Programs, Richard Mimick, observes, “Although this is the first time we’re offering this course, it’s obviously a topic that resonates within the business community, as we are already seeing better than average enrollment numbers.”
Managing in the Digital Economy begins January 16 and is offered exclusively online, convenient for working professionals.
Since its inception in 1963, the Division of Continuing Studies (DCS) has been an integral part of the University of Victoria, providing adult and continuing education programming. Partnering with all UVic Faculties, it provides stimulating, high quality education opportunities to local as well as international learners.
For more information, visit: https://continuingstudies.uvic.ca/business-technology-and-public-relations/courses/managing-in-the-digital-economy
Business & Management Programs
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LLC took off with coding workshops and networking events and is now in 22 cities with more than... see more
Source: Times Colonist
Author: Sarah Petrescu
Photographer: Trevor Ball
Co-ordinating a meeting with three women in different places — a downtown Victoria office, Seattle hotel room and Fairfield living room — is easy when at least two of them are technology buffs. “Let’s meet on Zoom. It’s kind of like Google hangouts, but better,” Erin Athene said of the web-based video conferencing service.
Athene and Christina Seargeant are co-leads of the Victoria chapter of Ladies Learning Code, a national non-profit launched in 2011 by a group of women in Toronto who felt isolated trying to learn computer programming, or coding.
The organization took off with coding workshops and networking events and is now in 22 cities with more than 25,000 participants and a branch for girls.
“I found out about Ladies Learning Code and asked if I could launch it in Victoria. I definitely saw a need,” said Athene, who moved from Seattle in 2013.
She had co-founded the software company Topaz Bridge Corp. and “did everything but the technical stuff,” she said.
“I realized there was a lack of power there and how much more affective I could’ve been with more knowledge on the technical side.”
Athene said being the only woman on an executive team also led her to launch Ladies Learning Code. The chapter got its start at the 2013 VIATEC Discover Tectoria showcase, where Athene set up a booth. More than 50 women signed up.
“It definitely piqued my interest,” said Seargeant from her office in Bastion Square at Workday, a finance and human resources software company.
She said many companies want to support women in feeling comfortable to enter the technology world. “And there’s a war for talent with not a huge pool of people to hire from. So they support building this up on a grassroots level,” Seargeant said.
The two teamed up to plan the group’s first HTML/CSS coding workshop and spread the word about the need for mentorship and skills for local women in the tech world. They needed $1,000 to hold the event and turned to the crowd-sourcing tool Tilt to fundraise.
“We started sharing the link on Facebook and within an hour Dan Gunn [the head of VIATEC] offered to match up to $5,000,” Seargeant said. They raised $11,000 and sold-out the event with more than 100 people attending and 50 more on a wait-list.
The turnout was diverse and included tech newbies, those already working in the tech field wanting to expand their skills, and senior developers wanting to mentor others.
In the three years since, the Victoria chapter of Ladies Learning Code has held more than 20 workshops on everything from building a website to WordPress and gaming. It has 600 members and holds events every month or so. This summer, Girls Learning Code was launched with a camp at St. Margaret’s School, and Athene said the next project will target kids and teachers who want to learn.
“Our goal is not that everyone codes for a living. Our No. 1 priority is to be that first stepping stone. We believe in digital literacy,” said Athene, a managing partner of PurposeSocial, a web development company that commits to having a technical team made up of at least half women and minorities. “I’m a lot more comfortable now in my work, understanding the landscape and what back-end and front-end development do,” she said.
Ryan Stratton has volunteered as a mentor for Ladies Learning Code since the first Victoria event.
“There certainly is a gender gap. When you look at the traditional tech office, it’s about 80 per cent [men] — including ours,” said Stratton, founder of Craftt, a software management company for craft brewers.
“When you build products for men and women you want your team to reflect that,” he said, also noting there are more jobs than technical talent in Victoria.
“For me, [mentoring] is the satisfaction of increasing digital literacy, but also investing in future employees and the community,” Stratton said.
Janni Aragon, a University of Victoria political science professor and the interim technology and society director, said the diversity problem in the tech world is well-recognized and needs to change.
“It’s not just about gender, but racial and ethnic diversity as well,” she said. Aragon has attended most of the Ladies Learning Code events in Victoria.
“At every one, a woman mentor gets up and says, ‘I’m the only woman on my team,’ and that’s why they are there,” she said.
While many computer science programs are still dominated by men, Aragon said she’s seeing an increase in women from other faculties such as fine arts and social sciences pursue technology skills.
“They are good sectors with good pay,” she said, adding students, usually women, in technology and society course say they want to be the change. “They want to be trailblazers and get out into these fields,” she said.
Is it French? Does it somehow involve weddings? Not quite. see more
Source: Gustavson School of Business
Author: Eve Olynyk
I actually really struggled to write this “day in the life post,” because there are incredibly few “standard” days in my work at VIATEC!
So to break the rules, in true VIATEC fashion, I welcome you to join me in “a week in the life” of an Engagement Concierge.
But first, just what the heck is an Engagement Concierge anyways? Is it French? Does it somehow involve weddings? Not quite. In essence, the Engagement Concierge’s role is to make VIATEC’s Accelerator Programs (think bootcamp for tech startups) run smoothly and carry out the vision of the Program Director.
Mondays are almost always free from meetings, as if there is some kind of unspoken rule between the four Executives in Residence (past-CEOs of multiple successful companies who now mentor companies in the Accelerator). After our team stand-up, I’ll use this day to plan out the rest of the week’s meetings and events, and catch up with emails. If there’s time I’ll work on side projects such as redoing the Accelerator website or updating our resources folder.
Intake Presentation days mean an early 8am start. After making sure agendas are printed, the conference room is ready, and AV is working, I’ll see that the Executives in Residence (EiRs), and external mentors (CEOs, Investors, IRAP reps) are set up with coffee before welcoming the first candidate. Following a pitch and Q&A, the panel considers: whether the company is viable, the founder is coachable, and whether we have the relevant skills to truly help them. One thing I love about Intakes, or Quarterly Reviews (which follow a similar format but are used to assess the progress of companies already in the program), is our tradition of Tacofino for lunch!
Once new companies are onboarded into the program, I’ll schedule their first EiR meetings. In the afternoon I’ll head to our bunker boardrooms where existing companies and their EiRs will tackle unique issues; everything from getting their first customers, creating financial projections, preparing pitch decks for investors, and firing underperforming employees. I have never learned so much about business strategy in all my schooling combined as I do in these meetings. In addition to note-taking, I bring up relevant bits of advice from other EiRs and see if there are any good introductions we can make between companies. Startups fail notoriously frequently, but strong connections and the sharing of talent allows the community to quickly adjust.
Back to back EiR meetings all day can be exhausting, but the networking events, fortside chats, or patio parties that Thursdays often bring make it all worthwhile! I’ve moved chairs from the Bengal Lounge, bartended, and even acted as a bouncer (at 5’1 this was more for show than anything). Beer is a must at VIATEC’s events, so I’ll finish off the night with a cold Phillips in my hand while watching a B2B company’s pitch or learning about a prominent local investor’s favourite spot to go running.
As if working at the VIATEC Awards earlier in the year wasn’t exciting enough, nothing could prepare me for the sheer joy of manning the VIATEC VIP Cabana with the rest of my team at Rock the Shores (shout out to our amazing server Erin; I don’t think I can ever wait in a food or beer lineup again). When I originally mentioned the idea as a joke to my marketing director, I never thought she would make it happen with just a few phone calls but… by the end of the weekend I was throwing several dozen whales off of a crane during Cat Empire! The crowd was screaming, the sun was setting, it was magical.
To conclude, this all sounds pretty freaking amazing right? And it is. However, what I didn’t highlight as much are the slower days without much to do, the lack of sleep that comes with lots of evening and weekend events, or the ambiguity and confusion that comes with such a dynamic company. And here’s why: this role is utterly and completely what you make of it. Good ideas are welcomed and encouraged, and being self-directed isn’t only expected… it’s an absolute must.
Sound like you? Then apply via LIM for Fall 2016!