Category Archives: Entrepreneurship

uOttawa startup weekend was awesome!

I was enormously privilege to be asked to be a judge at the 2016 uOttawa startup weekend.  And massively proud of what our students accomplished!

Startup Weekend enables entrepreneurs and business-passionate individuals to gather in one place for inspiration and ideas sharing. The third  successful Startup Weekend  took place at uOttawa’s Morrist Library over the weekend of November 18, 2016. This edition of Startup Weekend focused on current uOttawa students, and recent graduates. The goal of this event is to connect students across all faculties to encourage and promote entrepreneurship regardless of discipline of study.



The Horizons Fellowship


Just got this in my inbox…

The Horizons Fellowship

The Horizons Fellowship supports 10 outstanding university students in their pursuit to become tomorrow’s leaders in technology. The program is a part-time 6-month experience (or full-time summer experience) that teaches software engineering and provides students with the network and perspective needed to launch their careers in tech. The program requires no prior computer science or programming knowledge. It is open to current university students of all ages. Students develop the arsenal of highly employable software engineers as well as the perspective of entrepreneurs.

Application Process/Criteria

·         Currently enrolled in a 4-year university program

·         Submission of transcript, resume, and standardized test scores on

·         Series of fit and technical interviews

·         Applications are on a rolling basis. The final deadline is July 20th 2016 but we encourage students to apply sooner as the program is already filling up.

Horizons Fellowship Details

·         800+ hours of learning to build web applications

·         1-on-1 mentorship from technology industry leaders

·         Speaker series consisting of entrepreneurs, engineers, investors, product managers and designers from successful technology companies & leading venture capital firms

·         Lifelong access to the Horizons Career Network

Our NSERC CREATE is in the Ottawa Business Journal!

I was interviewed last week for a short article in the Ottawa Business Journal about our (awarded) NSERC CREATE Biomedical Engineering Smartphone Training program (BEST).

Check it out!

IEEE EMBS International Student Conference – Design Competition 

The IEEE Engineering in Medicine in Biology Society (EMBS) International Student Conference (ISC) 2016 taking place at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada from May 29 to May 31, 2016 will host a design competition for undergraduate students.
Teams of up to 5 undergraduate students are invited to submit their unique solution through engineering aptitude to a problem or issue within the biomedical science, medicine, and/or healthcare field(s).
The competition is sponsored by Carleton University’s Technology Innovation Management (TIM) Program. By joining the competition, students have a chance to share their innovative ideas, get noticed by leading experts and win top notch prizes!
Prizes for Top Submissions:

1st Place: $500 CAD + Special Prize

2nd Place: $300 CAD + Special Prize

3rd Place: $150 CAD + Special Prize
For more information on submission requirements, please visit:

Extreme Selfies!

A story by Kyle Bournes:

Extreme selfies

Young alumni André Bellerive (BASc ʼ14) and Marc Bjerring (BASc ʼ14) hope their swivelling selfie stick will capture the world’s “Whoa, dude!” action sports moments.


Marc Bjerring hangs in mid-air from the skid of a helicopter above fields and a river.
Daredevil and entrepreneur Marc Bjerring (BASc ʼ14) goes to great lengths to test out the Spivo Stick. Photo:

This spring, the chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Natalie Baddour, received a tweet from a young alumnus. It read “@natbaddour remember the rotating camera mount we designed in your class? It’s called the Spivo now! Andre.”

“Andre” is André Bellerive (BASc ʼ14), a current graduate student and co-founder/inventor of the Spivo selfie stick. As the tweet suggests, the Spivo Stick is a product that was born out of Baddour’s product design class in winter 2013.

André and Spivo co-founder Marc Bjerring (BASc ʼ14) are both thrill-seekers and action sports enthusiasts. They are not ones to stop and take their gloves off to change camera angles as they rip down a mountain. So they created the Spivo, the ultimate selfie stick for the action sports adventurer or half-pipe-loving weekend warrior. It took two years of development and fine-tuning, but the Spivo, based on the rotating camera mount, is now available on pre-order.

Bellerive says it all started in Baddour’s class.

“We got to make the first prototype, test it and see if the general public liked the idea,” he says.

Smiling faces of Pat Lalonde, André Bellerive and Marc Bjerring in wetsuits.
(From left to right) Alumni Pat Lalonde, André Bellerive and Marc Bjerring celebrate after finding a camera that had been lost in the ocean for four hours. Photo:

The first prototype was machined out of aluminum. Those who tried it loved it. However, to successfully bring it to market it had to be cheaper to produce. It so happens that last year the Faculty of Engineering opened its uOttawa Makerspace. André and Marc used it to build and test prototypes for free using the space’s 3D printer.

Having had success 3D printing in the Makerspace, they decided purchase their own 3D printer for further prototyping. This allowed them to build and test multiple versions until they could settle on a consumer-ready Spivo that was tough and easy to use. After all, Spivo users need these features when they are ripping down a mountain on skis, grinding a rail in the skate park or jumping out of an airplane.

As they built the Spivo, André and Marc added a couple of buddies to the Spivo team, Pat Lalonde (BCom ʼ14), a Telfer School of Management alumnus and past winner of the Jeux du Commerce Entrepreneurship Case competition, and Greg Dillon, who is Spivo head of marketing, to help build the business and the Spivo brand. Together, they hope to have the Spivo in the gloves of skiers and riders in time for this year’s ski and snowboard season.

To date the Spivo has received lots of love from the action sports community as well as the tech and gadget world. It has been featured in Freeskier magazine, Whitelines Snowboarding magazine and the Newschoolers online skiing community. MSN chose the Spivo as one of July’s top Kickstarter inventions and it was also featured on,, and a slew of other sites highlighting tech and gadgets.

The Spivo Kickstarter campaign collected over $17,000 to help bring the product to market. Although this was short of the goal of $30,000, it didn’t stop the Spivo team from making it happen.

“The second we didn’t hit our Kickstarter goal we opened up our online store to start selling pre-orders,” says Bellerive. “To date, the sales are going well, and we’re still on track to ship Spivos before the next ski season.”

André, Marc and their team have also continued to build a flashy brand, while turning to the uOttawa Entrepreneurship Hub for business advice. A strong social media presence means most of their customers are posting pics and videos of their action-packed exploits. The Spivo has been used by action sports enthusiasts in Canada, the U.S., France, the U.K., Asia and Peru — who’ve been spreading the word about its awesomeness.

A skateboarder poises on the edge of a concrete basin, taking a selfie photograph using the Spivo Stick.
Skateboarder Dan Gauthier takes a selfie with the Spivo. Photo: André Bellerive.

All of this dovetails well with the recent announcement that Professor Hanan Anis has been awarded the new Chair in Entrepreneurial Engineering Design (CEED) from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada. The chair will bring $1 million in funding to the Faculty of Engineering over the next five years. It aims to empower students to design, build and test solutions to engineering problems while keeping in mind proven market opportunities and business constraints. As with Spivo, entrepreneurship and engineering design will go hand in hand.

News of Spivo’s success is sure to stoke aspiring engineering-entrepreneurs, especially when they see the high-energy videos posted by Spivo users online or when a crew of helmet-clad skateboarders wielding Spivo sticks flies by. They’ll turn to their friends and say, “Dude, did you see that — that was awesome!”

Entrepreneurship and Makerspace updates

From Hanan Anis, Entrepreneurship poohbah at the Faculty of Engineering:

  1. Creative Entrepreneurship and the Maker Movement

Entrepreneurship Bridges – February 10th – 5:00pm – 7:00pm –Throughout the world, millions of engineers, makers, hobbyists, entrepreneurs and innovators are fueling what has been dubbed as the next “Industrial Revolution.” With the opening of our very own Makerspace, uOttawa students have access to state-of-the-art and low-cost digital fabrication tools such as 3D printing. Through an interactive panel discussion, learn how this revolution is poised to unleash an unprecedented new wave ofcreative entrepreneurs and how you can take advantage. Register. This discussion will be followed by a hand-on workshop on 3D printing. You can register for that oneventbrite (

  1. Makerspace update:

Makerspace workshops: The Makerspace continues to offer free workshops on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:30p.m. All you need to do is register on Eventbrite ( The 3D printing and Arduino workshops continue to be oversubscribed. There are spots still available in the 3D printing workshop on Feb10th as well as for the Arduino workshop on Feb.24th.

 Makerspace prosthetics challenge: The Makerspace had been approached by a local family, who needed a prosthetic hand to be printed for their 6 year old son, Sebastian, who had outgrown his 3d printed hand. So, we launched this challenge to give Sebastian an improved 3D printed hand. Many files can be found online at to start you off. Design a hand using 3D software (Solidworks, Tinkercad) or edit the files that are available online. 3D Print your files at the uOttawa Makerspace and assemble the hand! The prosthetic hands must be submitted to the Makerspace Team by March 13th, 2015 at noon. The top 3 designs will be provided to Sebastian for his evaluation. No matter how sophisticated the technology or the design is, what matters is how comfortable the prosthetic hand is for Sebastian. He will try on the different hands and make his choice, and the winner will be announced on March 20th, 2015 and will receive a $1000. To help you further along your ideas, we will be holding design workshops:

Prosthetics Design Workshop: January 27th, 2015 (today)

Design Feedback Workshop: February 17th, 2015

  • Make your own 3D printer-March 29th, 2015: Spend a day in the Makerspace with step by step instructions and guidance on how to construct your very own 3d printer to take home. There is no technical knowledge or experience necessary. The cost of the workshop is $350 and for that price we will supply all the parts and tools necessary to assemble the 3d printers. The cost will also subsidize one 3D printer for at risk youth. Space is limited to 12 participants so register if you are interested on eventbrite ( Please note that once you register, we will e-mail you a link for payment.
  • Attention all car enthusiasts: An Alumni of the University has reached out to the Makerspace for some help. The team is building an open class rally to compete in regional and National event across eastern Canada.  The team has 3 cars and is currently preparing to compete in Maniwaki, QC in two weeks with a G2 VW Golf rally car (car #24) ( The team is also building a new car that is  a highly modified 1990 VW Corrado with a modern 1.8T engine and AWD drive train.  The chassis is almost completed and they are at the point of assembling the car.  Assistance is required on the control side. The car will have 3 androids running various systems/apps. The team needs help to build and configure a Raspberry pi Wifi interface controlling a 12-relay board to control various equipment in the car (i.e. lights, fan, start/stop, washer etc.). Please contact Vincent directly if interested ( or (
  • Bragging rights-Project Codemakers: Actua, a national charity that supports STEM outreach program like Adventures in Engineering and Science from across the country, has just launched a newproject with Google called Codemakers and will be celebrating this partnership in our Makerspace. There will be over 60 delegates from 26+ universities at uOttawa for two keynote presentations (Steve Woods of Google and Pat Yongpradit of Code.Org) and the Makerspace team will be leading the delegates through the various technologies in the Makerspace.
  1. Entrepreneurship update:
  • Entrepreneurship Concepts PEI Student Competition (EC-PEI)- February 6th, 2015 (next Friday), 1-4 p.m in the faculty lounge (basement of CBY): Come and cheer our finalists for EC-PEI business plan competition. The winners will take home prizes and bragging rights ($5,000 first prize, $3,000 second prize and $2,000 third prize) and they need your support!

Entrepreneurial internships:  We have launched an internship program in the faculty. The intent is to enable students with an entrepreneurial spirit to advance their start-ups while getting paid through the University. Students start the internship with a business plan and drive to turn it into a real business. Each intern will be paid $6,000 per semester as well as mentorship and training. Please contact Dr. Anis if you have an entrepreneurial idea and want to be considered for this internship.


Frank Bouchard is alumni of our Electrical Engineering program and current director of Adventures in Engineering and Science. Frank is the instigator of a project called Wipebook, which is a reusable whiteboard notebook.  Check it out on kickstarter! The original goal was to raise $4000 and they’ve blown past that goal.

check it out at

It is interesting to note that Team Wipebook was formed in an entrepreneurship course at the University of Ottawa.