University of Victoria

  • VIATEC posted an article
    Submissions for challenges are now open for Victoria's first ever Health Hackathon see more

    The Victoria Health Hackathon – Call for Challenges!

     

    The first ever health and regenerative medicine themed Hackathon will take place in Victoria September 28-30, 2018. Health Hackathons are focused events that bring together interdisciplinary teams to develop innovative solutions to front-line healthcare problems. This event is being held with support from the Centre of Biomedical Research at the University of Victoria, the B.C. Regenerative Medicine Initiative, Starfish Medical, and Island Health.

    Call for Challenges: The Hackathon’s organizers are seeking a diverse array of health related challenges that can be addressed by groups of hackers in a one month time period as part of our Hackathon! These challenges can be addressed through a variety of engineering disciplines, including biomedical, electrical, mechanical, and software engineering. See below for the event timeline. Preference will be given to projects with strong in-kind support through either mentorship or donation of supplies or resources. The challenges should be no longer than 750 words in length.

    Please email Stephanie Willerth (willerth@uvic.ca) with your potential challenges for consideration with subject line “Health Hackathon Challenge” and you will be notified by mid-August if yours has been selected for the competition. Those wishing to serve as judges or mentors are invited to provide their interest via email as well.

    Deadline for submissions: July 31st, 2018.

    Dates / Format:

    Summer: Hackers, mentors, and judges will be recruited to participate

    September 7: Kick-off, to be held at the University of Victoria, where the challenges will be presented to the hackers, enabling them to create teams. The teams will have until the hacking weekend to think about their approach to challenges. During this period, we will have a team of mentors who will answer questions about the challenges during that time.

    September 28-30: The Hackathon itself will take place at Fort Tectoria, with the solutions being judged on Sunday, and an awards ceremony to follow.

    November 2: A status update on the hacks has been tentatively scheduled during the University of Victoria’s Biomedical Engineering Day on November 2nd, 2018.

    Register: Registration for the Hackathon will open in July

    Questions?

    Still puzzled about what a Hackathon is?  Check out the following links to similar events for inspiration!

    Questions can be directed to Stephanie Willerth (willerth@uvic.ca

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    A high-tech whiz kid who taught himself computer code at an early age and went on to create.... see more

    Source: Times Colonist

    UVic honours tech innovator Stewart Butterfield

    Victoria honoured one of its technology innovators on Friday at a soldout black-tie gala for Stewart Butterfield, a high-tech whiz kid who taught himself computer code at an early age and went on to create communication companies worth billions.

    Butterfield was honoured as this year’s University of Victoria Peter B. Gustavson School of Business Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year.

    He joins a prestigious group of previous technology winners, including Don Mattrick, former president of Microsoft Interactive Entertainment; Sir Terrance Matthews of Mitel Corp.; and Jeff Mallett, former president of Yahoo!

    Butterfield went to St. Michaels University School and graduated from UVic with a philosophy degree in 1996, earning a master’s degree from Cambridge University two years later.

    He is co-founder and chief executive of Slack, an enterprise communications platform with more than nine million weekly active users around the world.

    Slack is used by small and medium businesses, and about 40 per cent of Fortune 500 companies.

    In addition to developing Slack, Butterfield co-founded Flickr. The image- and video-hosting website was acquired by Yahoo! in 2005.

    “Stewart’s entrepreneurship is an inspiration to our students and our city,” said Saul Klein, dean of the business school. “It is wonderful to be able to celebrate a homegrown talent at our 15th annual gala.”

    The Gustavson School celebrates entrepreneurial excellence with its Distinguished Entrepreneur Award. Each year, it recognizes an inspirational entrepreneur who has had a significant impact on the global community through business leadership.

    In 2005, Butterfield was named one of Businessweek’s Top 50 leaders in the entrepreneur category. The same year, he was named to the TR35, a list created by MIT of top innovators in the world under age 35. In 2006, he was named to the Time 100, Time magazine’s list of the most influential people in the world, and also appeared on the cover of Newsweek magazine.

    In November 2008, Butterfield received the Legacy Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Victoria.

    In 2015, he was named the Wall Street Journal’s Technology Innovator.

    PREVIOUS WINNERS

    2017: Don Mattrick, Microsoft

    2016: Linda Hasenfratz, Linamar Corp.

    2015: David Foster, music producer

    2014: Dennis Washington, industrialist

    2013: Brandt C. Louie, London Drugs

    2012: Dennis (Chip) Wilson, Lululemon

    2011: JR Shaw, Shaw Communications

    2010: Alex Campbell Sr., Thrifty Foods

    2009: Sir Terence Matthews, Mitel Corp.

    2008: Clive Beddoe, WestJet

    2007: David Black, Black Press

    2006: Gwyn Morgan, Encana

    2005: Dave Ritchie, Ritchie Bros.

    2004: Jeff Mallett, Yahoo!

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Virtually every aspect of the city's tech scene is influenced in some way by UVic Engineering. see more

    Author: Mitch Wright

    Tech Sector's strength tied to UVic Engineering

    UVic's Faculty of Engineering has been a part of Victoria's flourishing tech community from the very beginning. With students in co-op positions, faculty working with startups, and alumni as CEOs, virtually every aspect of the city's tech scene is influenced in some way by UVic Engineering. 

    [Click here to read the full article]

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Give students the competitive edge they need to cut through the data jungle and make informed... see more

    UVic introduces new Business Intelligence and Data Analytics program

    [Click here for full details]

    The University of Victoria has just launched the Business Intelligence and Data Analytics program. The goal of the program is to give students the competitive edge they need to cut through the data jungle and make informed business decisions.

    Recent graduates or career professionals looking to add relevant and highly marketable skills to their resume or toolkit would be interested in this program:

    Program description

    This three-course Certificate of Completion program is designed to provide you with a combination of business intelligence knowledge, skills and ability that employers will value. Using the case study model, you will work in a multi-disciplinary team to enhance your knowledge and learn industry-accepted informatics tools and strategies for analyzing a variety of data sets.

    The Certificate of Completion in Business Intelligence and Data Analytics is the first program of its kind being offered by the University of Victoria. Delivered via a unique blended learning model, you will spend the first weekend of each course on campus in the classroom and then have the flexibility of four weeks of online studies. You will complete the entire program within six months.

    Program features

    • Residency requirement for each course — this face-to-face component will require students to attend the course on campus at the University of Victoria in Victoria, BC
    • Instructors are seasoned industry professionals who bring a practical, high level of knowledge to the student’s learning experience
    • Committed staff who provide excellent service to instructors and students
    • Opportunities in this field are growing at a phenomenal pace with projections estimating 30,000 new jobs to be created across Canada between 2014 and 2024*

    [Click here for full details]

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    The ACE program offered through UVic is receiving a $1-million donation from BMO. see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Carla Wilson

    BMO donates $1M to Aboriginal entrepreneurs

    A successful Aboriginal entrepreneurs program offered through the University of Victoria is receiving a $1-million donation from BMO Financial Group.

    The Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs (ACE) program has delivered entrepreneurial training to 26 First Nations communities in B.C. and has, so far, been focused in B.C.’s northwest and the Okanagan.

    For the first time, ACE training is being offered on Vancouver Island starting this month. It is aimed at Indigenous artists throughout the Island who are keen to start or grow their endeavours.

    Lianna Spence of Lax Kw’alaams, formerly known as Port Simpson, in B.C.’s northwest, is one of the 275 students who have completed the program. She attended the funding announcement at UVic Tuesday to talk about what the training meant to her. “I didn’t know anything about marketing, networking or writing a business plan but everything that I learned in this course has changed my life drastically.”

    A lawyer taught Spence about the importance of contracts, and she learned about the need to keep her life in balance.

    The ACE program not only helped in Spence’s career, but as an Indigenous leader in her community. “Every new professor who came in — my brain was like a sponge,” she said.

    Spence, who has a 14-year-old daughter, carves, makes jewelry and recently became a tattoo artist in Prince Rupert, with a three-week waiting list. She raised the first totem pole in her village in more than 100 years and hosted her first feast, keeping in mind lessons from her training.

    The 20-week ACE program was developed in 2013 in partnership with the Tribal Resources Investment Corp. and UVic’s Gustavson School of Business.

    Brent Mainprize, a UVic business professor, said as the program becomes stronger, students are becoming more successful. So far, 72 businesses have been started and more than 30 graduates have moved on to more education. Another 128 are completing business plans.

    Initiatives have involved artists, eco-tourism, taxis, trades businesses, coffee shops and music lessons.

    Miles Richardson, executive director for the National Consortium for Indigenous Economic Development at UVic, said the donation underlines the notion of bringing together Indigenous governments, federal and provincial governments and industry to support people like Spence.

    Richardson was at an ACE graduation in Prince Rupert attended by young people who needed skills and support. Program leaders worked with students, “helping them problem-solve, to get through the week, to get through the month, get through the program.”

    In some communities, 60 to 70 per cent of employment relates to art, Richardson said.

    “Learning business skills is going to be transformational. You don’t always have to bring it to a shop in Vancouver and have them double up the overhead. Maybe you can turn that money over in our communities, which is the beginning of having our own economy.”

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Mercer swings by the Neuroeconomics Lab, the Victoria Hand Project and the Faculty of Music see more

    University of Victoria featured on Mercer Report

    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!

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Research hopes to get remote coastal communities off diesel-based power see more

    Source: OakBayNews.com
    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.”

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    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.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    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 research-seminar@rigiresearch.com.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    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 blc@uvic.ca

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    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.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    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.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    "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.”

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    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!

     

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    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

    [Vote for them here!]

    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. 

    [Vote for them here!]