Beedie Newsroom » innovation Faculty of Business Administration at Simon Fraser University Fri, 19 Sep 2014 23:09:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 SFU launches interdisciplinary Entrepreneurship and Innovation concentration Mon, 15 Sep 2014 08:00:35 +0000 A new interdisciplinary Entrepreneurship and Innovation concentration offered by Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business and its partners will teach undergraduate students the teamwork, problem solving, and creativity skills that are increasingly required to create opportunities after graduation.

The revised concentration – launched in fall 2014 and taught mainly at SFU’s award-winning Surrey campus – will feature a new open access Introduction to Entrepreneurship and Innovation class available to second year students from across SFU.

Completion of this introductory class will, for the first time, provide a gateway to students from other disciplines at SFU to access other entrepreneurship and innovation courses offered by SFU’s Beedie School of Business.

In addition to building foundational entrepreneurship and innovation knowledge, a final integrative capstone class will require students to combine all of their skills, working in teams to create their own startup ventures.

“Innovation often happens at the intersection of disciplines, skillsets, and opportunity,” says Dr. Sarah Lubik, co-director of Technology Entrepreneurship@SFU, and a lecturer in entrepreneurship and innovation at SFU Beedie.

“By offering second year students from all disciplines a route into entrepreneurship, they learn from an early stage to think creatively and utilize complementary skillsets in teams.”

The program’s interdisciplinary cohort model will utilize experiential teaching methods, which will see students work with real life entrepreneurs, including clients of SFU’s student incubator Venture Connection.

Through this experiential approach, students will learn to find market-driven solutions to social and environmental challenges.

Current teaching partnerships that will be integrated into the concentration include Technology Entrepreneurship@SFU, in partnership with SFU’s Faculty of Applied Sciences’ Mechatronics Systems Engineering and the BC Innovation Council; platFORM, in partnership with Emily Carr University; and Change Lab, in partnership with SFU’s Faculty of Environment and social innovation lab and venture incubator RADIUS.

“As educators, we have an obligation to teach important skills that students from all disciplines need to be successful,” says Andrew Gemino, Associate Dean, undergraduate programs at SFU Beedie.

“Innovation and entrepreneurship require a mindset where students identify and pursue opportunities to make their own career after graduation, and this concentration will ensure they have the skills to do so.”

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Beedie partners with Emily Carr to tackle sustainability through entrepreneurship Mon, 08 Sep 2014 17:49:54 +0000 Beedie School of Business Dean Daniel Shapiro was the platFORM students' first customer at their pop-up shop.

Beedie School of Business Dean Daniel Shapiro was the platFORM students’ first customer at their pop-up shop.

This summer, undergraduates at SFU’s Beedie School of Business and Emily Carr University showcased and sold sustainable products of their own design in the culmination of the interdisciplinary entrepreneurship platFORM program.

The platFORM program is a partnership between Emily Carr’s Faculty of Design and Dynamic Media, the Social + Interactive Media (SIM) Centre at Emily Carr, and the Beedie School of Business. Participating students were tasked with utilizing their respective skill sets in interdisciplinary teams to create sustainable products with sustainable business models to address real world issues.

The collaborative nature of the platFORM program sees business students – who possess entrepreneurial skills but do not necessarily know how to make quality products – paired with design students, who can create beautiful products, but may not have the skills to create business opportunities or run design firms.

After creating their products, the 17 participating students displayed and sold their products for one week at the Chinatown Experiment, a store front for pop-up shops in Vancouver’s downtown east side.

Supervised by program organizers Lisa Papania and Sarah Lubik, of the Beedie School of Business, and Emily Carr’s Maia Rowen and Andreas Eiken, the five student teams conducted market research, developed products and business plans, and launched their ventures within six weeks.

The final products included an app to combat social isolation; a convenient travel drying system allowing backpackers to save both money and energy; a ‘first aid kit’ for clothes to help minimize textile waste; a solution to divert cotton swabs from landfills; and a band for sealing food containers to encourage people to bring food from home and reduce take out food container waste.

The launch event held on August 15 saw the store packed with members of the public, students, and leaders from both schools, including Emily Carr President Ron Burnett and Beedie School of Business dean Daniel Shapiro, who was the first customer to purchase one of the student products.

“There is a need to engage students in developing innovative solutions in consideration of local and broader social and environmental issues,” says Papania, who developed platFORM along with Rowan and Eiken after two years of collaboration on innovation and design projects related to Vancouver’s greenest city goals. “This is especially needed to help reduce and divert waste in order to help uplift local communities.”

For more information on the platFORM program, click here.

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Ian McCarthy ranked among Top 50 Professors on Twitter Tue, 26 Aug 2014 16:11:43 +0000 McCarthy_Ian_crop

Ian McCarthy, associate dean of graduate programs at the Beedie School of Business.

Ian McCarthy, associate dean of graduate programs at SFU’s Beedie School of Business, has for the second year in a row been included on a prestigious list of the top 50 professors using Twitter.  

McCarthy’s inclusion in the Leadership section of the LDRLB Top 50 Professors on Twitter sees him named alongside some of the most influential academics who are active on social media today.

The LDRLB list honours the top 50 professors on Twitter in three categories; Leadership, Innovation, and Strategy, as well as giving honorable mentions to five professors who do not fulfill the criteria of the three main categories.

LDRLB is an online think tank that shares insights from research on leadership, innovation, and strategy. The Top 50 Professors on Twitter list recognizes those professors who consistently build upon their body of knowledge and further the goal of evidence-based leadership through the use of Twitter.

McCarthy’s inclusion in the list sees him ranked alongside distinguished luminaries from institutions such as Harvard University, Stanford University, London Business School and the University of Oxford.

“It is a great honour to be selected for this list for the second year in a row,” said McCarthy, who is also Professor and Canada Research Chair in Technology & Operations Management at the Beedie School of Business. “Social media plays a prominent role in my academic research, not only in terms of studies on the subject, but also in broadcasting my research to a wider audience.”

The top 50 professors were selected through a combination of recommendations from past winners and new nominations. The field was then further narrowed through the use of prominent social media metric Klout’s scores instead of follower count.

By using Klout – which measures influence through data compiled through selected media channels, such as unique mentions and Facebook comments and likes – as opposed to the number of followers each professor has, LDRLB aimed to reward those professors who focus their influence on smaller fields as much as those tweeting about more mainstream subjects.

To view the full Top 50 Professors on Twitter list, visit

To follow more Beedie School of Business faculty on social media, visit

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Georgia Straight: Vancouver student entrepreneurs learn new ways to launch ventures Wed, 20 Aug 2014 23:13:07 +0000 Lubik_Sarah (20)fin

Sarah Lubik, lecturer in entrepreneurship and innovation at the Beedie School of Business.

The following is an excerpt from the full article published in the Georgia Straight on August 20, 2014, and features comment from Beedie School of Business lecturer in entrepreneurship and innovation Sarah Lubik.


A small pop-up shop on the edge of Chinatown seems like an unusual location for a post-secondary business-education class. But here at 434 Columbia Street between Pender and Hastings on a Sunday afternoon, Emily Carr University of Art + Design master’s students Andreas Eiken and Maia Rowan are teaching more than a dozen undergrads.

Half are from their institution and half are from SFU’s Beedie School of Business. The undergrads are hunched over laptops, chatting in groups, sitting near a sewing machine, or being filmed for a documentary.

In an interview outside the store, Eiken explains that five groups of design and business students are working here for a week trying to sell products, most of which were created to promote greater sustainability.

“There’s a kit to help people learn about how to repair their clothes themselves,” he says. “Another project is to help people do laundry while travelling so…people won’t bring as much stuff with them. There’s an app to help people connect with the community.”

Another product, called the Box Band, secures home-cooked food in containers that don’t leak. A product called Jayde enables single-use bathroom products to be composted rather than sent to landfills.

Rowan points out that design and business students worked collaboratively at the outset, rather than coming up with ideas separately.

“They did their research together,” she says. “They generated ideas around what their product would be and also looked into what the business model would be to get those products into the world.”

It’s part of the platFORM program bringing together Emily Carr and SFU students—one of many imaginative postsecondary initiatives advancing entrepreneurship across the Lower Mainland.

Whether it’s learning about the “lean launchpad” movement for startups at UBC’s Sauder School of Business, enrolling in a 10-week accelerated venture program at the B.C. Institute of Technology, or taking part-time courses at Langara College on owning a business, there’s a plethora of educational opportunities for would-be entrepreneurs.

Sometimes the students come from abroad. In October, for instance, Douglas College will host 10 young people from Zambia who will learn entrepreneurial skills. It’s part of the college’s Zambia Global Leadership Program, which also offers Douglas students a chance to do three-month practicums in the southern African country.

Sarah Lubik, a lecturer in entrepreneurship and innovation at the Beedie School, tells the Straight by phone that SFU is emphasizing an interdisciplinary approach to education in this area. The platFORM program is just one example.

Lubik, also SFU’s director of technology entrepreneurship, mentions that the school is close to gaining final approval for a grad certificate for postdocs and PhD students in science-and-technology commercialization. This fall, SFU will introduce a 200-level introductory course on entrepreneurship and innovation that will open upper-division classes to everyone from every faculty. It will emphasize team-based approaches to bringing together people from different disciplines.

“The reason I keep saying ‘team’,” she says, “is because traditionally, business schools have tried to teach entrepreneurship to business students, not realizing that as soon as you get out into the real world, you’re going to be working with people who don’t speak that language—who are completely different from you, who speak science or speak engineering or what have you. Not having any real experience at working with those kind of people doesn’t give you a realistic experience.”

Lubik, who’s involved in a diving-related startup, points out that you don’t have to take courses in business fundamentals—such as economics, managerial finance, or accounting—to learn about entrepreneurship at SFU.

She adds that students can study marketing, project management, product development, and resourcing skills, including where to obtain financial help. While economic factors influence some students to want to launch their own companies, she says others draw inspiration from famous entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson and Mark Zuckerberg.

“When we’re talking about entrepreneurship at SFU, we’re not just talking about starting your own business,” Lubik states. “We’re talking about whether you want to be an innovator in a big company, whether you want to start your own business, whether you want to start a not-for-profit, whether you want to be some sort of change maker—environmental or social change maker. We want to make sure our students have the tools to tackle whatever is their burning desire.”

To read the article in full, visit the Georgia Straight website.

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CKNW’s CEO Series returns to Segal Graduate School Sat, 16 Aug 2014 00:08:48 +0000 CKNW_LEADERSHIPTALKS_640x200_SIMI

The Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University will this fall welcome back Vancouver radio station CKNW News Talk 980 to the Segal Graduate School to garner leadership insights from some of BC’s top CEOs in the Leadership Talks Series.

The Leadership Talks Series is a special edition of CKNW’s CEO Series, focusing on how BC’s top bosses achieved their success, the lessons they have learned during their journey to the top, and what they foresee in the future of their industries.

Following the retirement of previous CEO Series host Bill Good, the program will feature six CEOs in a series of one on one breakfast interviews with new host Simi Sara. Sara will explore how the CEOs have fostered successful organizational cultures, and uncover the foundations upon which these leaders have built their successful careers.

The series will commence on Tuesday, September 9 with John Montalbano, CEO of RBC Asset Management.

Subsequent broadcasts will feature Wayne Drury, CEO of Coast Tsimshian Resources; Sue Paish, President and CEO of LifeLabs Laboratory Services; Shahrzad Rafati, Founder and CEO of BroadbandTV; Kari Yuers, President and CEO of Kryton International; and Jeff Booth, President and CEO of BuildDirect.

Each interview will be held at a breakfast event at the Segal Graduate School in downtown Vancouver, where the revelatory hour-long interviews will be conducted in front of a live audience.

Previous series of The CEO Series hosted by the Beedie School of Business included notable business leaders such as Ryan Holmes of Hootsuite; Jim Treliving of Boston Pizza and Mr. Lube; Tom Gaglardi of Northlands Property Group and owner of the Dallas Stars; Christine Day of Lululemon; Greg Saretsky of WestJet; and Brian Hill of Aritzia.

Tickets are now on sale for CKNW’s Leadership Talks Series. For further details or to purchase tickets, please visit

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CMA Innovation Centre: Measuring entrepreneurial resilience in five brothers Wed, 13 Aug 2014 23:02:26 +0000 Di Bella

Jessica Di Bella, Head of Mannheim Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Mannheim in Germany, presented her case study on entrepreneurial resilience at a special CMA Centre for Innovation event.

Over the course of a decade, five brothers in Bavaria, Germany all started business ventures in the food service industry with varying degrees of success. Given their near-identical backgrounds, what are the psychological and micro-social factors that affected the subjects’ entrepreneurial resilience, ultimately leading to their success and failure?

Jessica Di Bella, Head of Mannheim Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Mannheim in Germany, explored this topic in a fascinating presentation in a special CMA Innovation Centre event on August 12 at the Segal Graduate School of Business.

Opening with an explanation of her interest in entrepreneurial resilience – why do some entrepreneurs thrive despite significant adversity while others fail – Di Bella related it to stories of successful entrepreneurs such as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and even Madonna, who had experienced risky starting conditions yet ultimately succeeded in building flourishing businesses.

The case study explores the concept of positive development in high-risk status or consistent competence under conditions of extreme stress. The brothers’ similar backgrounds provided Di Bella with a consistent test group for the study, with the three elements necessary to evaluate the subjects all present: multiple risk factors; measurement of entrepreneurial success; and a moderating effect of some kind of protection.

The five brothers’ experience as entrepreneurs had resulted in two being regarded as successful, two failing to a degree, and one who had given up on entrepreneurship after his first venture failed after six months and been in stable employment since then.

Utilizing both quantitative and qualitative methods of data gathering – including bio-data questionnaires, measurement of entrepreneurial success, resilience scales, micro-network analysis, and semi-structured interviews – Di Bella’s research revealed a number of factors related to resilience which dictated the success of the brothers. These included the support network available, personal relationship security, and adaptive and innovative capacity.

Interestingly, when conducting interviews between the individual subjects themselves and external parties to evaluate how successful they perceived the subject to have been, Di Bella discovered that the widest disparity existed for the brothers who had been entrepreneurial failures.

This showed that the wider the gap between personal assessment and external assessment, the greater the predictor of failure was. “The more adversity they faced, the more they estimated that they must be resilient and are therefore still successful,” said Di Bella.

Much of the adversity that had led to the brothers struggling revolved around personal circumstances, such as trouble in their marriages or illness. Di Bella concluded that individuals can train for all forms of resilience, but that personal circumstances are difficult to account for. “It is possible to reduce risk but you cannot predict life events – risk is about multiple factors, and you cannot prevent all life factors by building a protective portfolio,” she said.

Concluding the presentation, Ian McCarthy, director of the CMA Innovation Centre and associate dean of graduate programs at the Beedie School of Business, remarked that the research had left him with a number of key takeaways. He cited the extent of keeping fit and healthy as a factor in success and resilience; the effect of the order of birth in a family on success; and spousal commitment to supporting entrepreneurial ventures as areas in which he would like to see further research conducted.

For more information on the CMA Innovation Centre, visit, or watch the full presentation on the video below.

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24 Hours Toronto: Specialized MBAs on the rise Mon, 11 Aug 2014 17:51:04 +0000 Daniel Shapiro, dean of the Beedie School of Business, teaching the Americas MBA for Executives cohort.

Daniel Shapiro, dean of the Beedie School of Business, teaching the Americas MBA for Executives cohort.

The following is an excerpt from the full article published in 24 Hours Toronto on August 11, 2014, and features comment from Beedie School of Business associate dean Ian McCarthy.


Specialized Masters of Business Administration (MBA) programs allow students to study in a “Silicon Valley culture” but as the number of specializations grows, it’s important to consider whether the credential you’re considering is simply a fad or if it will survive the litmus test.

“Business schools around the world are trying to distinguish themselves with specialized MBAs but you have to be careful which program you choose,” says Ian McCarthy, associate dean of graduate programs, Beedie School of Business at B.C.’s Simon Fraser University.

“I think there’s going to be a big burst of innovation with lots of specialist programs coming up but I think there will also be a big failure rate as they work out which ones the market really wants.”

McCarthy points to Beedie’s management of technology MBA as an example of a program with staying power. The first of its kind in Canada, it offers business and management education within the framework of technology/ biotechnology organizations.

The bulk of specialized MBAs focus on either an industry or a topic and if you’re certain of the direction you plan to take upon graduation, one may fit the bill. Some are even tailored to meet the needs of a corporation, including Beedie’s Teck graduate business program. “Teck is one of the world’s largest mining corporations,” McCarthy says. “All the classes are focused on learning outcomes related to people in that organization and the industry they work in.”

To read the article in full, visit the Toronto 24 Hours website.

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Blaize Horner Reich appointed dean of SFU’s Beedie School of Business Thu, 17 Jul 2014 20:01:00 +0000 Dr. Blaize Horner Reich, RBC Professor of Technology and Innovation at the Beedie School of Business.

Dr. Blaize Horner Reich, RBC Professor of Technology and Innovation at the Beedie School of Business.

Professor Blaize Horner Reich has been appointed dean of Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business, beginning her new role September 1.

Dr. Reich, the School’s RBC Professor of Technology and Innovation, will succeed current dean Daniel Shapiro, who is completing his term in this role.

Dr. Reich is an internationally recognized expert in IT governance and technology-based organizational transformation. She worked as an industry consultant in both Asia and Canada before joining the Beedie School of Business in 1991.

She has made many contributions to business within Canada, serving as academic leader for the national Business Technology Management (BTM) program and as board member of the CIO Association of Canada, the Information and Communications Technology Council and the Canadian Women in Technology.

In 2012, Dr. Reich was honoured as a recipient of Business in Vancouver’s Influential Women in Business Awards.

“Business school research and teaching can make a significant contribution to BC and Canada’s success in a global environment,” says Dr. Reich. “The Beedie School of Business is playing an important leadership role in many of the emerging areas, including sustainability, technology, globalization and entrepreneurship.”

“I’m honoured to succeed Professor Shapiro. He grew and established Beedie as one of the top business schools in Canada during his tenure, and I intend to build upon the solid foundations he laid for the School’s continuing success.”

Professor Shapiro was appointed dean of the Beedie School of Business in 2009, successfully developing the School’s strategic focus on globalization and emerging markets; innovation and technology; and governance and sustainability.

In 2011 he oversaw the largest gift in the School’s history: a $22 million endowment from alumnus Ryan Beedie and his father, Keith. Consequently, SFU’s Faculty of Business was renamed the Beedie School of Business.

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SFU student innovation and interdisciplinary collaboration highlighted at Opportunity Fest Fri, 11 Apr 2014 16:00:16 +0000 Undergraduate student entrepreneurs from across Simon Fraser University gathered to celebrate innovation at the fourth annual Opportunity Fest, a marketplace-style showcase of student creativity, entrepreneurship and innovation. 

This year the event, held on March 31 at SFU’s Surrey campus, included innovators and opportunity-seizers from across the university. In addition to business, students also came from disciplines as varied as Communications, Interactive Arts and Technologies (IAT), International Studies, Mechatronics (MSE), and Psychology, and several working with cutting-edge SFU researchers in areas like 3D printing and realistic avatars.

The event underscored the Beedie School of Business’ engagement with the wider business community, with a total of 30 guest judges from academia and industry on hand to give feedback on the student entrepreneurs’ projects.

“Part of the importance of the event is student empowerment through innovation,” says Eric Gedajlovic, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategy at the Beedie School of Business and founder of Opportunity Fest. “The exhibits on display represent not only the fruits of the students’ intellectual efforts – they also represent their interests and concerns, and relate to topics and issues that they feel passionate about.”

The event featured a number of categories, including Most Innovative Technological Opportunity, Most Impactful Opportunity, Most Investable Opportunity, the Entrepreneur’s Choice Award, and Mr. and Ms. Opportunity, awarded to the most engaging student presenters.

The Opportunity Fest grand prize, the Charles Chang Student Entrepreneurship Award, went to two teams: Noushin Emami, Anne Bedry & Anne Semeriai, for their designer shower head that changes colour to warn of excess water use; and to Amandine Subias, Mark Anthony Wijaya, Yann Chevalier & Noémie Frohn, who presented a hand-crafted chutney made with ‘rescued’ fruit and vegetables. The teams shared a prize of $1000, donated by Beedie BBA alumnus Charles Chang, founder of nutrition company Vega.

The winner of both Most Innovative Technological Opportunity and the Entrepreneur’s Choice award was EveryWare, a cloud-based software development platform that is the brainchild of Rizwan Qaiser, Karen Aflalo, Caroline Prax & Sarah Viala.

The award for Most Impactful Opportunity went to Aavis Bhindi, Raymond Kaila & Helen Shi for their work on Brain Shield, a safety patch developed in the MSE department for football athletes that can be applied to the outer shell of any helmet to reduce concussions and head trauma upon impact.

First prize for Most Investable Opportunity was a tie between Maxime Pautet, Morgane Auffret, Louis Vagogne & Carole Attia’s venture, La Tartine, a food truck specializing in authentic French food, and Synergy Solutions, Tim Samarasinghe, Carmen Javier, Kevin Kumar & Noelia Brillante’s car control system which provides smart phone users real time control and reports from their vehicle.

This year’s event invited students from Surrey’s Fraser Heights Secondary who excelled in their own innovation week, with an award category designed exclusively for them. The Junior Innovators award was presented to Jay Dhanju, Jayce Dinza and Shaan Sidhu for their interchangeable shoe soles venture, K-Sliders. Their prize package included SFU sweatshirts and a networking lunch with current SFU students.

“It is important that we make these students aware of the all of the options available to them at SFU and that they can be innovators no matter which discipline they choose,” said Sarah Sarah Lubik, Director of Technology Entrepreneurship@SFU. “The most impactful and revolutionary innovations often happen when disciplines collide.”

For more information on Opportunity Fest 2014, visit

View photos from Opportunity Fest on the Beedie School of Business Flickr page.

Opportunity Fest 2014 was held on the mezzanine level of SFU's Surrey campus.

Opportunity Fest 2014 was held on the mezzanine level of SFU’s Surrey campus.

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Geek Speak: Chantelle Buffie, cofounder of FIXO Tue, 08 Apr 2014 16:00:10 +0000 The following article was published by the Georgia Straight on April 4, 2014 and features an interview with Beedie School of Business BBA student Chantelle Buffie.

By Stephen Hui.

If you’re a tenant, how do you contact your landlord? Simon Fraser University business student Chantelle Buffie is hoping that you’ll soon be using FIXO.

A 24-year-old Surrey resident, Buffie is one of the undergraduates selected for the 2014 cohort of The Next 36 entrepreneurship program in Toronto. She will graduate from SFU in June.

Buffie cofounded FIXO with a student at the University of British Columbia and another at the University of Toronto. The startup’s product is an application that facilitates communication between residential property managers and tenants. A prototype app is in the iTunes Store, with a launch expected in May. Web and Android interfaces are also planned.

In March, FIXO won the top spot in the newcomer category of the entrepreneurship competition at the 2014 National Business and Technology Conference in Toronto. Buffie was named Enactus Canada’s 2013 HSBC Woman Leader of Tomorrow.

The Georgia Straight reached Buffie by phone in Vancouver.

What led to the development of FIXO?

It was a combination of things. For myself, personally, I’m interested in the future to own and manage properties. So, I was looking for a tool that eventually in the future I could potentially use for my properties. For Jon [Yam], my cofounder, and Armin [Mahmoudi], my other one, they’re both tenants, so they have experience on the tenant side and with some of the problems that we’re looking to address. So, it came out of personal interest and talking to other tenants, building managers, private landlords as well.

What’s wrong with having a simple email list?

The problem with simple email lists is all emails get cluttered. For instance, if a tenant wants to contact a property manager, a lot of times they get lost in all the other emails that property managers get. There’s not a simple kind of categorization for property management companies. A lot of property management companies that we’ve spoken to still use Excel, still use simple email folders to organize all their communications.

When a tenant communicates with them, there’s a lot of times when they have to forward it off to different parties as well. When they do have to forward it off, it’s difficult for property managers to keep track of, “Okay, now this update has happened, now I have to relay it back to tenants.” We want to create a more streamlined process where property managers are able to keep their tenants informed a lot more easier, so they don’t become dissatisfied.

Tell me how tenants would use this.

It’s pretty easy. There’s four different features to it. Right now, a feature that we’re focusing on is submitting electronic maintenance requests. Let’s say a tenant has an issue in their unit or their home, they would pull out the application, they would take a picture of it and write a quick description, and it would be sent off to the property manager.

Another feature is the ability for property managers to send out electronic building notices. Right now, there’s still a lot of paper notices that go around, that get slipped underneath doorways, or posted in elevators. Building managers or even security guards have to walk around to each individual unit from time to time.

What’s the business model?

Property management companies would pay for the service. There would be both a mobile and a web component to it. It would be starting off at $1 per unit per month, and the more volume of units they have, the less it would be.

What kind of interest have you had from property management companies?

We’ve gotten quite a bit of interest in terms of testing with us. Right now, we’re still in the prototype phase. At the end of April, we’ll be testing with a University of Toronto student residence, out in the East, just because student residences are a hotbed for the demographics that we’re looking to target as well.

What are your plans for after graduation?

I will actually be moving to Toronto at the end of this month to be completing the [Next 36] program until about mid August. Depending where the venture goes, I’ll be looking to continue on with it after the program.

Do you have any advice for other business students getting involved with a startup?

First is to just to do it, because there’s really no risk right now as a student. A lot of times, the people that you reach out to, the people that you talk to, they’re more than willing to help because you are a student. So, definitely leveraging that is a great tool to have. That would be my top one.

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Beedie alumnus Milun Tesovic named on BC Business 30 Under 30 Mon, 07 Apr 2014 17:02:34 +0000 Beedie School of Business alumnus Milun Tesovic, co-founder of, the most comprehensive database of music lyrics in the world, has been named one of BC Business’ 30 Under 30.

The BC Business 30 Under 30 celebrates the province’s top young businessmen and women who excel in their respective industries, give back to their community, and who will lead business in the province in the future.

A serial entrepreneur since his early teens, Tesovic co-founded MetroLeap Media Inc., the parent company of MetroLyrics, in 2006 along with Beedie executive MBA alumnus Alan Juristovski. MetroLyrics was acquired by CBS Interactive Music Group in 2011, and now has a database of over one million songs and 20,000 artists.

Since the acquisition, Tesovic has remained with the company as General Manager, implementing innovative lyrics applications and services that appeal to the site’s large user base. He has also maintained an interest in entrepreneurship, advising and investing in a number of startups.

In 2008, he was named SFU Student Entrepreneur of the Year, gaining entry for MetroLeap Media Inc. as the inaugural client in SFU’s Venture Connection’s early-stage incubator, VentureLabs.

Tesovic will be a guest at the BC Business 30 Under 30 reception, to be held from 5.30 to 7.30pm on April 30. For more information on the BC Business 30 Under 30, visit, or read the BC Business profile of Milun Tesovic.

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BBA Chantelle Buffie wins national entrepreneurship competition Fri, 28 Mar 2014 17:14:45 +0000 SFU-Beedie-Chantelle-21A new student venture that will provide a dedicated communications channel for residential property managers and tenants has won the Newcomers category at the National Business & Technology Conference entrepreneurship competition.

The venture, FIXO, is being developed by Beedie School of Business student Chantelle Buffie, a member of the 2014 cohort of the Next 36, Canada’s leading undergraduate entrepreneurship development program.

FIXO will allow property managers to receive maintenance requests, send out electronic building notices, respond to general inquiries and gather feedback from tenants through a mobile application.

With the venture currently in the beta stage, Buffie and her co-founders Jonatham Yam and Armin Mahmoudi will be working with several property managers that have access to over one thousand rental units to test the system.

Held on March 22, the National Business & Technology Conference entrepreneurship competition is one of Canada’s largest entrepreneurship competitions. It provides aspiring entrepreneurs with the platform to present to a panel of industry judges and network with patent firms, venture capitalists, and angel investors.

FIXO beat off competition from 19 other ventures to earn top spot in the Newcomer category, for entrepreneurs with an idea that is yet to go to market. Their pitch earned a prize of $2,000 cash, $4,000 in coding workshops, and $1,500 in mentorship.

“We are thrilled and confident in the potential of FIXO, and winning the Newcomers category reinforces that we are building a product that others find valuable,” said Buffie. “The support and feedback from our mentors in The Next 36 program have greatly contributed to our progress to date. Our success in this competition is another boost that will help us move forward.”

Along with fellow SFU student Sonam Swarup, Buffie co-founded Fusion Kitchen, a social venture aimed at empowering immigrant women to obtain jobs by working with them to teach cultural cooking lessons.

The Next 36  addresses Canada’s deficit of high impact entrepreneurship by providing resource-rich education programs to promising young entrepreneurs. It is supported by over 300 Canadian business leaders and academics and is championed by Founding Patrons W. Galen Weston, Jimmy Pattison and the late Paul Desmarais, Sr. SFU is an academic partner of The Next 36, whose ventures have created over 150 jobs and raised over $18M in funding since 2010.

For more information on the National Business & Technology Conferenceentrepreneurship competition, visit

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SFU President’s Faculty Lecture series: How business can alleviate poverty Sat, 22 Feb 2014 00:09:42 +0000 Sudheer Gupta, an associate professor at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business, will share details of a study on how entrepreneurs in developing countries are finding innovative ways to solve some of society’s “most wicked problems,” as part of SFU President’s Faculty Lecture series. The lecture will be held at SFU’s Surrey campus on February 27 at 7 p.m.

Gupta collaborated with Infosys Ltd., a global IT services company based in India, to carry out interviews with dozens of “passionate” entrepreneurs in developing countries over a two-year period. In his lecture, he will share how they are finding innovative solutions and creating sustainable businesses without philanthropic support.

“With the majority of these populations lacking many of life’s basic necessities, their examples provide powerful lessons on the interdependence of business and society, and the need to propagate businesses that foster inclusive growth, and shared prosperity,” says Gupta, who is also director of the Jack Austin Centre for Asia Pacific Business Studies.

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, along with the Jack Austin Centre and the Beedie School, provided support for the study.

Gupta’s research focuses on innovation and development in emerging markets as well as social responsibility, as it relates to global value chains. He connects research to practice by engaging students in projects and collaborating with industry on joint research.

He also engages broadly with communities through regular public seminars and lectures at the Jack Austin Centre, collaborations with the Asia Pacific Centre—including a project focused on understanding foreign direct investment patterns from China to Canada, and as a board member of the Canada India Business Council, mandated to promote better relations and trade between Canada and India.

Gupta came to SFU in 2005 and has taught at the Surrey campus. He is a former faculty member at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Texas, Austin, and HEC Paris.

The event is free. For more information and to register, visit

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BC Business: Adapting to Change Fri, 14 Feb 2014 22:13:02 +0000 The following article was published by BC Business on February 3, 2014, and features comment from Kate Dilworth, Adjunct Professor and Director of Learning Design at the Beedie School of Business.

Executive Education used to be reserved for senior management. Today it’s geared toward helping entire organizations stay agile.

Executive education is not about learning facts and theory; it’s about the spaces around the learning. That means developing innovation-enabling processes, relationship building, cross-sector exchanges and cultivating creative intelligence. “Universities aren’t just there to download their knowledge,” explains Kate Dilworth, adjunct professor and director of learning design at SFU’s Beedie School of Business. “Yes we have some knowledge, but we don’t have all the answers and so we bring that into the space.” The learning depends on input from everybody, she says.

Executive education programs are meant to address the challenges facing businesses and organizations, but the accelerated pace of corporate change in recent years, including the growth of social technology and increased global connectivity, has created a demand for programs focusing on adapting to change itself.

“The programs we’re seeing fully subscribed are those where you get the skill set to ask better questions, to be more innovative, to lead people through change, to help organizations better design their organizational structures for the future,” says Zoe MacLeod, director of the Centre for Coaching and Workplace Innovation in the Faculty of Management at Royal Roads University. “We’re seeing a need for whole-systems transformation and how people in organizations develop their people. It’s basically a re-imagined organization and so those are the things that we see as necessary skills for the future.”

While training in change leadership is in constant demand, other hot topics in executive education today include transparency, cultural diversity, corporate social responsibility and sustainability.

Executive education used to be a perk reserved for the ranks of senior management, but today it’s becoming woven into corporate culture at increasingly junior levels. “We are definitely seeing younger leaders and the desire for leadership development, not just for the top tiers in organizations but at much earlier stages in emerging leaders,” says Dilworth. “We’re really seeing a diversity in terms of where people are at in their career and their ages.” She further notes that it is less the individual and more the company that is seeking training opportunities, offering development to young leaders as a retention strategy.

MacLeod says that five years ago the majority of students in RRU’s Graduate Certificate in Executive Coaching program were planning to go into business for themselves, hanging a shingle to be an executive coach. Now, by contrast, about half the program’s participants will be executive coaches within their organization.

Off the rack or made-to-measure?

Those seeking professional development through certificate-granting institutions face two main options: open enrolment, where students sign on to pre-defined courses and programs, or custom-developed programs designed to meet the specific needs of an organization.

In 2009, the organization representing family physicians across the province was faced with choosing between the two options. The General Practice Service Committee, a partnership between the B.C. Ministry of Health and the B.C. Medical Association, was contemplating education alternatives in response to various health care reforms that were about to affect how family doctors do business.

Dr. Garey Mazowita, committee member and department head of Providence Health Care’s Department of Community and Family Medicine at St. Paul’s Hospital, recalls the meeting: “We really felt quite strongly that there were some very specific leadership skills that were required.” The committee looked at a number of options, but Mazowita and another committee member kept coming back to the positive experience they’d both had with a custom-designed program at SFU.

The committee asked SFU’s Kate Dilworth to come in for a meeting, and in 2010 they ultimately chose to have SFU design a custom program for family physicians across the province. Since then, the demand for the custom program has been high, “and it’s continued to be high because the feedback from their colleagues that have taken it has been so positive,” says Mazowita.

However, the customization process is not for everybody, cautions Dilworth, because it demands constant feedback. “We want clients to participate,” she says, explaining that the initial assessment of the client’s needs is just the beginning. SFU maintains a close relationship with the client during and after the customized program to tweak it and respond to new needs or goals. Dilworth explains the relationship: “We’re so connected to them because we’re designing something especially for them, based on an impact that they’re trying to have. That’s one of the important ways that we’re able to stay current, because we are not guessing what’s going on out there; we’re working directly with folks who are being challenged.”

These custom-designed programs might be a course ranging from one to 12 days in length, or could go as far as a fully customized MBA program. Custom executive education is suited primarily for organizations with enough employees to warrant it. The alternative is open-enrolment programs, which can offer training in general subjects or highly targeted, sector-specific topics.

RRU’s focus is on its open-enrolment programming, but that doesn’t translate into cookie-cutter classes. It combines in-person sessions with distance or self-directed learning. For example, one of RRU’s most popular courses (it’s full for the next three sessions) is the Graduate Certificate in Executive Coaching. Students start the program on campus, then work from home for a few months and reconvene on campus for their final sessions.

Dilworth and MacLeod agree that whether employers choose open enrolment or custom programs, the education option has to resonate quickly with the busy professional and respond to what the professionals are facing in their world. These are the challenges that inspire Dilworth. “It’s an exciting time for executive education because we just have a lot of challenges in society. But with that comes opportunity,” she says. “And really, the power is in the people. People are innovative and they’re smart; they can be creative if you give them the right tools.”

Visit the BC Business website to read the full article.

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President’s Dream Colloquium: MIT’s Scott Stern talks entrepreneurial strategy Sat, 08 Feb 2014 01:56:40 +0000

Dr. Scott Stern, David Sarnoff Professor of Management of Technology and Chair of the Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Management Group at the MIT Sloan School of Management

For many startup businesses, overcoming a lack of resources often proves to be an insurmountable hurdle, resulting in failure. Entrepreneurs would do well to examine innovative methods of commercializing their ideas and taking the time to understand the role strategy plays in order to accelerate their ventures – thereby creating and capturing value in a competitive environment.

Dr. Scott Stern, David Sarnoff Professor of Management of Technology and Chair of the Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Management Group at the MIT Sloan School of Management explored this topic recently in a public lecture at SFU as part of the President’s Dream Colloquium on Entrepreneurship.

“Ideas are, in some sense, easy to find, but what’s really hard is turning those ideas into strategy that captures value,” said Stern. “The challenge is less about coming up with ideas, but rather, commercializing it in a way that creates unique value for an end user while allowing the entrepreneur to capture value on an ongoing basis.”

Stern’s objective is to provide a novel framework that allows entrepreneurs to choose how their company evolves, and helps to align the disparate decisions made during the earliest stages of a venture.

He emphasized the importance for an entrepreneur in choosing an entrepreneurial strategy, choosing their competition, and putting the framework into practice. He also discussed a number of potential dangers for entrepreneurs who did not have a coherent strategy in place, such as suppliers stealing the entrepreneur’s idea when approached about a potential partnership.

“The power of entrepreneurship is the ability to not only identify and implement exciting opportunities but to make choices that allow you to create real value for the world and capture value for your stakeholders,” said Stern. “The more exciting and disruptive the innovation, the more important those choices are for your ability to commercialize and build a new company with competitive advantage.”

In addition to the public lecture, Beedie faculty were invited to hear Stern present his latest research paper, Control Versus Execution: Endogenous Appropriability and Entrepreneurial Strategy – the first time the paper had been presented to an external audience for feedback.

Throughout the public lecture Stern utilized much of the research he covered in his research paper, comparing the benefits of control strategies – where the entrepreneur holds the product back from market until such time as it can be thoroughly tested – against those of execution strategies – where the entrepreneur brings the product to market immediately and then refines the product based on consumer feedback.

He also touched on the benefits for an entrepreneur in experimentation and learning, suggesting that bringing a product to a smaller market in order to generate initial revenue and study the product’s performance, before launching it to the intended larger market is a viable strategy under the right circumstances.

“The process of choosing an entrepreneurial strategy requires a venture to come to terms with the core value that it will create, and the logic of how it will capture value on a sustainable basis,” Stern concluded.

The President’s Dream Colloquium brings leading thinkers to SFU in a series of free public lectures that create an interdisciplinary forum for dialogue between faculty members, students and diverse community groups.

Click here for more information about the President’s Dream Colloquium on Entrepreneurship, or click here to watch the full lecture.

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Beedie undergraduate innovation showcased at I-3 competition Mon, 13 Jan 2014 17:58:20 +0000 I-3 Competition winners 2013

The 2013 I-3 Competition winners. From left to right: Samuel Wilsher, Thomas Fairburn, Nicholas Schoepfer, and Nico Bescos.

BBA students at the Beedie School of Business demonstrated their entrepreneurship and innovation skills in front of a guest panel of some of BC’s top business minds at the annual I-3 competition.

The I-3 competition, formerly known as the Ken Spencer Competition, is held in conjunction with the Business 477: New Venture Planning class. Each year, students are asked to design a new product or service and a viable business plan to commercialize their venture, and present their ideas in front of a Dragons’ Den style panel of judges.

The winning venture was Zorb, a convenient charging solution for customer mobile devices targeted at the hospitality sector. The team, which consisted entirely of students from the University of Bath in the UK on exchange at the Beedie School of Business, saw members Nico Bescos, Thomas Fairburn, Nicholas Schoepfer, and Samuel Wilsher take home the first prize of $500.

Second place went to Intercare, a healthcare software provider whose services would include e-prescription capabilities and electronic health record management, earning $250 for team members Renee Chau, Sybil Loo, Nancy Li, and Jason Yu.

The bronze medal went to Trenddy, an all-encompassing social media software platform that displays social media trends for fashion products, with Alicia Wong, Robin Dong and Jackson Chao winning $100 for their efforts.

“The New Venture Planning class sets students a challenging task – to create not only a new venture concept with a viable business plan, but one that is attractive to angel and venture capital investors,” said Beedie lecturer and class instructor Bernie Maroney. “The competition has resulted in some remarkable business concepts over the years and this year was no exception. These aspiring entrepreneurs can be immensely proud of the ventures they have created.”

The judging panel this year consisted of experienced angel investors and coaches from the local business community, and included three graduates of the Management of Technology MBA at the Beedie School of Business:  Glen Lougheed, founder of NodeFly; Frederica Bell-Jensen, bio-tech consultant and entrepreneur; and Rahul Sharma, Senior Sales Manager, Commercial Banking and Capital Markets, HSBC.

Other members of the panel were Deb Durocher, Director, Managed IT Centre of Excellence, TELUS; and Stewart Marshall, CFO at web-based communication management system InTouch Technology.

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BBA alumnus Lance Uggla receives SFU Outstanding Alumni Award Wed, 11 Dec 2013 01:01:33 +0000 Lance-UgglaLance Uggla, Beedie School of Business alumnus and CEO and co-founder of global financial-services information company Markit, has been announced as winner of the Professional Achievement award in SFU’s 2013 Outstanding Alumni Awards.

Each year, SFU and the Alumni Association honour the most accomplished graduates with the Outstanding Alumni Awards. Since being introduced in 1983, the awards have become one of the university’s most celebrated traditions, with nominations for the awards made by alumni, faculty, staff, students, and the community.

Uggla will receive the award at a special dinner event on February 26, 2014, along with the three other recipients of the 2013 SFU Outstanding Alumni Awards.

An exceptional business leader with an innovative mind and entrepreneurial spirit, Uggla has been widely credited with transforming the credit derivatives market. He received his BBA from SFU’s business school in 1985, before embarking upon a career in the financial sector.

After roles with Wood Gundy, CIBC World Markets and TD Financial, in 2001, Lance spotted an opportunity in the market for a business that would provide transparency around credit swaps and pricing information while significantly reducing customer risks.

He co-founded Markit, and since then has transformed it from a five-person company run out of a renovated barn into a global financial-services giant with over 3000 employees across the globe. Today, Markit provides independent data, valuations and trade processing across all asset classes, and has a client base that includes the most significant institutional participants in the financial marketplace.

Since becoming CEO of Markit in 2003, Lance has seen the company’s valuation rise to over $5 billion. In 2012, he was recognized for his entrepreneurial talents with the Ernst and Young UK Entrepreneur of the Year Award, beating 43 other entrepreneurs to the title.

Uggla fosters an entrepreneurial spirit in Markit through shared ownership, with over 28 percent of the company owned by employees. He is a supporter of a number of charitable causes, primarily focused on giving children a better start in life. Most notably, with his wife, he founded a school in Zambia for street children, which today has over 440 pupils.

For more information on the SFU Outstanding Alumni Awards, visit

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BBA student and entrepreneur Chantelle Buffie chosen for The Next 36 Fri, 06 Dec 2013 01:26:49 +0000 SFU-Beedie-Chantelle-21

Beedie School of Business undergraduate student Chantelle Buffie has been selected for the prestigious Next 36 program. (Photography by Klik Photographic)

A Simon Fraser University Beedie School of Business student who has received national recognition for her leadership and entrepreneurship joins the 2014 class of The Next 36. Chantelle Buffie is one of 40 successful candidates gleaned from a field of about 1,000 applicants nationally for a spot in the prestigious program, aimed at stimulating new ideas among brilliant young minds. She is the third SFU student to secure a place in the competitive program. The young entrepreneurs will spend the next nine months building companies with the support of mentors, a unique academic program and a pool of business advisors. “It’s important for students to take advantage of every opportunity that comes their way,” says Buffie, who recently began working full-time at TELUS following a co-op term. “The world is at your fingertips, and it’s up to you to grab what you want out of life.” The 2012 program manager of Enactus SFU’s Student Entrepreneur of the Year initiative, Buffie was earlier named the 2013 HSBC Women Leader of Tomorrow for Western Canada. Together with student Sonam Swarup, she created Fusion Kitchen, aimed at empowering immigrant women to obtain jobs by working with them to teach cultural cooking lessons. The venture, no longer running, earned a BC Ideas recognition in the university solutions investment category. Buffie, of Surrey, was also named a Top-24-under-24-award recipient by the Vancouver daily newspaper 24-Hours. “The faculty support and resources available to me at the Beedie School have been instrumental in my success as an aspiring entrepreneur,” says Buffie, who participated in SFU’s Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator, which fosters student start-ups, and has also worked with RADIUS, Beedie’s interdisciplinary social innovation lab and venture incubator. While at SFU, she created Jumpstart, an eight-week accelerator for SFU students with ideas that could be launched into businesses, and also spent a term studying at the Universita Commerciale Luigi Bocconi in Italy. Previous SFU participants to The Next 36 include SIAT student Michael Cheng, who created Needle HR, a talent acquisition platform, and Beedie undergraduate Jessica Fan, who used the program to develop her business venture Penyo Pal, an app that teaches children to speak Mandarin. Earlier this year, SFU became an official academic partner of The Next 36, solidifying SFU’s reputation as a Canadian leader in fostering entrepreneurship and innovation. The Next 36 has the support of more than 200 Canadian business leaders. Its first three cohorts raised over $18 million and created more than 150 new jobs.

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Globe and Mail: Universities that teach you to change the world Wed, 23 Oct 2013 17:19:42 +0000 David DunneThe following extract is from an article published in the Globe and Mail on October 22, 2013, and features commentary from David DunneAdjunct Senior Fellow at the Beedie School of Business, and chair of RADIUS.

New initiatives are popping up on campuses across the country.

This fall, the University of British Columbia in Burnaby, B.C., offered a new course, informally known as Entrepreneurship 101 and developed in collaboration with its Sauder School of Business, for students in second year or above from any faculty.

Last spring, Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business, also in Vancouver, set up an interdisciplinary social innovation lab and venture incubator, for students across campus to develop and market “radical ideas, useful to society.”

Last year, Ms. Nowak’s Social Economy Initiative introduced an elective in social entrepreneurship and social innovation and has plans to add more undergraduate courses.

The University of Waterloo’s Conrad Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology Centre, part of the engineering faculty, offers a for-credit co-op option for students starting their own business in any field.

Mr. Rivard graduated from the centre this year with a master of business, entrepreneurship and technology, founding CANGO Consulting Inc. to provide management consulting services to philanthropic funders.

The typical trajectory after business school of joining a large firm at the entry level held no interest.

“It didn’t seem appealing to me and I don’t think it is appealing to a lot of people,” he says. Instead, with one full-time colleague and several more on contract, Mr. Rivard’s Waterloo-based company works with donors such as the United Way of Kitchener-Waterloo to improve the performance of non-profit agencies.

“It is incredibly exciting,” he says of his startup. “I’m 28, still in my prime and fresh out of my master’s program,” he says. “This is my career and what I get to do for the rest of my life. It is exactly what I want to be doing and I couldn’t be happier.” His outlook resonates with David Dunne, a senior fellow at SFU’s Beedie and chairman of RADIUS, the social innovation lab and new venture incubator set up earlier this year.

“What I see with younger colleagues and with students is that there is a real sense they are not prepared to buy in to the business agenda as they see it out there,” he says.

“What they want to do is reshape business on their own terms.”

Prof. Dunne says RADIUS (short for radical ideas, useful to society) was established to solve what he calls “wicked problems” – critical, chronic problems in society and business with no clear start or end point.

This fall, 60 students from business, environmental studies and design are to work in teams at the lab using new analytical methodologies, such as problem-framing and ethnography, to solve real-world social problems.

Click here to read the article in its entirety at the Globe and Mail.

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Beedie research explores the social benefits of Brazilian soccer Tue, 03 Sep 2013 19:03:11 +0000 Hulk

Beedie School of Business professor Jeremy Hall has partnered with a soccer school owned by Brazilian international player Hulk (pictured above, left) to conduct research into the social inclusion benefits of soccer in Brazil.

With the 2014 World Cup in Brazil less than a year away, reports of social unrest and mass protests among Brazilian citizens may suggest that soccer no longer holds the power to unite the nation to the extent that it once did. However new research from Beedie School of Business professors Jeremy Hall and Stelvia Matos suggests that the social inclusion benefits Brazilian soccer makes possible might provide a light at the end of the tunnel for the nation.

The pair have partnered with a soccer school in Brazilian city Campina Grande to explore the opportunities for social inclusion made available to poorer regions through participation in soccer. The school is owned by Brazilian soccer international Givanildo Vieira de Souza, more commonly known by his nickname Hulk, and run by former professional soccer player, and Hulk’s former coach at youth level, Mano.

Through the partnership, the researchers aim to explore the social inclusion policies that have been implemented in Brazilian soccer, in particular those that encourage Brazilians to participate in the sport, and in the process become better citizens

“From an academic perspective, soccer makes an effort to take on important social issues, such as anti-racism and social inclusion,” says Hall. “FIFA (the international governing soccer body) are trying aggressively to encourage participation from poor countries, which is one of my main areas of research. The soccer school’s business model is about identifying football talent, but at a deeper level they’re encouraging good citizenship through discipline. Hulk is very keen on social inclusion, and is always eager to talk about the soccer school and the benefits it has for the community.”

Hulk, who plays for Russian club Zenit St. Petersburg following a $63 million move from Portuguese side Porto and is a starting member of the Brazilian national team, grew up in Campina Grande, a region often overlooked by soccer scouts seeking young talent. Having experienced poverty as a child, being unable to afford equipment and the fees for soccer school, Hulk was subsidized by Mano, an act of kindness that still resonates with him to this day.

“Today, I have a privileged social position, but I don’t forget that I come from a poor background,” Hulk responded, when asked about the recent protests in Brazil. “They are right to protest. What they say and what they hope for is in the right direction. We have to listen to what they say.”

Hulk’s soccer school continues to subsidize underprivileged children, where he now hopes to “link the good with the useful,” by providing soccer training for impoverished youths and in the process provide them with fundamental skills to ensure they have a better future.

Hall and Matos have conducted numerous research studies in Brazil previously, and view the project as an extension of some of their previous research on entrepreneurship in poorer regions of developing countries. The pair are partly basing their research on a framework developed by William Baumol, which explores the idea of productive, unproductive and destructive entrepreneurs, and how these types of behavior are shaped by institutions.

Productive entrepreneurship – innovation – is when a cheaper and/or better quality product enters the market, resulting in a win for the seller and the buyer. Although some such as incumbent sellers lose, the end result is a net societal gain.  Destructive entrepreneurship is when there are more losers than winners, for example, in organized crime, when intimidation is used to extort money for a net loss overall. Unproductive entrepreneurship, meanwhile, occurs when entrepreneurs exploit legal loopholes and engage in rent seeking, resulting in no net societal gain.

The researchers have suggested that many Brazilian entrepreneurs are engaged in unproductive and destructive activities, especially in poor communities. Hulk, however, may fit the criteria of a productive entrepreneur who has come from a deprived background and become a contributor towards society by creating value.

“Here is someone that was practically barefoot 15 years ago, who came from a very impoverished community,” says Hall. “Now he owns his own soccer school and operates it through his former coach Mano, and they are seeking out talent in this region that has for the most part been ignored by the rest of the country. We have to conduct more research to determine whether he fits the criteria of an entrepreneur who is generating something that benefits society, which is bigger than him. He may well be the elusive productive entrepreneur that came from a poor background.”

The research is in the early stages, but Hall believes it has potential to be put to use in social inclusion issues closer to home, with parallels to be drawn in encouraging people from inner cities and First Nations groups, who have a historically poor participation rate in Canadian soccer, to become more involved.

“In Canada, the majority of talented athletes get funneled into hockey or football, whereas in Brazil they are much better at finding talent in poorer communities,” says Hall. “If we were to start engaging with these other communities in the way that Brazil does, there is great potential for including people that would otherwise be overlooked.”

This story was first published in the August edition of Ideas@Beedie magazine, the Beedie School of Business’ iPad, Android and desktop magazine showcasing the business school’s academic research, industry impact and engagement with the community. To view the full digital magazine or download the iPad and Android apps, visit

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Ian McCarthy named a Top Professor on Twitter in leadership, innovation and strategy Mon, 12 Aug 2013 23:10:05 +0000 Beedie School of Business Professor Ian McCarthy

Beedie School of Business Professor Ian McCarthy

Ian McCarthy, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Technology & Operations Management at SFU’s Beedie School of Business, has been named to a prestigious list of the Top 50 Professors on Twitter, ranking him as one of the most influential academics using social media in the fields of leadership, innovation and strategy.

The LDRLB list recognizes those professors who consistently build upon their body of knowledge and further the goal of evidence-based leadership through the use of Twitter. LDRLB (pronounced “leader lab”) is an online think tank that shares insights from research on leadership, innovation, and strategy.

McCarthy’s inclusion in the list sees him ranked alongside such illustrious names as leading urban American studies theorist Richard Florida; Michael Porter, a recognized authority on company strategy and regular contributor to Harvard Business Review; and leadership expert Karl Moore.

“I am honored and delighted to be on this list,” said McCarthy. “Social media is increasingly being used by academics as a tool to broadcast to, and listen to other academics, policy makers and practioners. It has proven invaluable for me in disseminating my research, promoting the Beedie School of Business, and learning about new trends, findings and events that help shape my research and teaching.”

After a public vote to nominate the top professors on Twitter in the fields of leadership, innovation, and strategy, LDRLB compiled the list based on prominent social media metric Klout’s scores of the chosen professors. By using Klout, which measures influence by using data from selected media channels, such as unique mentions and Facebook comments and likes, as opposed to the number of followers each professor has, LDRLB aimed to reward those professors who focus their influence on smaller fields as much as those tweeting about more mainstream subjects.

In being selected for the list McCarthy joins several other distinguished luminaries from notable institutions such as Harvard Business School, Stanford University, London Business School, and Oxford University. McCarthy’s inclusion on the list is the latest recognition of his influence on social media. In 2012 he was named on Business Insider’s list of “54 Smart Thinkers Everyone Should Follow on Twitter”, as well as OnlineMBA’s “50 Business Professors You Should Follow on Twitter” list.

His social media activity – along with social media output from Daniel Shapiro, Canada’s first business school Dean on Twitter, and other professors – has helped the Beedie School of Business maintain its place as the most influential Canadian business school on social media according to Klout metrics.

To view the full list, visit

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Aboriginal Business Champion distinction for SFU trailblazer in management education Fri, 26 Jul 2013 23:22:31 +0000 Mark_Selman

Beedie professor Mark Selman has received the Aboriginal Business Champion of the Year award from the Industry Council for Aboriginal Business (ICAB).

Mark Selman, director of the Executive MBA in Aboriginal Business and Leadership at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business, is the 2013 recipient of the Industry Council for Aboriginal Business (ICAB) award for Aboriginal Business Champion of the Year.

The Aboriginal Business Champion award is given to a non-Aboriginal individual who exemplifies leadership and best practices in Aboriginal engagement and business relationship development. The honour is a part of the ICAB Recognition Awards, which highlight individuals and corporations who have demonstrated leadership in developing Aboriginal/non-Aboriginal business relationships.

Selman is a longstanding business education innovator at Simon Fraser who led the university’s effort to establish the EMBA in Aboriginal Business and Leadership – the first and only program of its kind in North America. The new EMBA meets a growing need for senior-level management education for Aboriginal managers and entrepreneurs, as well as individuals and organizations collaborating with Aboriginal communities. It provides executive-level education that reflects the growing role of business development for First Nations. The program has received widespread acclaim across the country from both Aboriginal and business communities — most recently receiving the “Most Innovative” distinction from BC Business Magazine.

“Mark has done an extraordinary job of championing Aboriginal business in British Columbia,” said Daniel Shapiro, Dean of the Beedie School of Business at SFU. “Having known him for many years, I can say without a doubt that he is highly deserving of this important honour.”

With an extensive management education background, Selman has helped build customized degree programs with business, both with First Nations and the natural resource sector. He has also worked with First Nations communities on social and economic development.

ICAB is a non-profit, member-focused organization guided by a volunteer Board of Directors. ICAB fosters successful working relationships between industry and Aboriginal business through effective programming and by promoting mutual respect and understanding. ICAB launched the BC Aboriginal Business Association in February 2012 to support British Columbia’s Aboriginal business owners and entrepreneurs by initiating knowledge sharing and business skills development.

The ICAB Board of Director’s Executive selects the recipients by evaluating the benefit of the business relationship to the Aboriginal community and the corporation; the qualities of leadership and potential for best practices in business development; and the development of the relationship that formed the foundation of the business undertaking.

For more information, visit

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BC Business: Tech Meltdown Wed, 26 Jun 2013 22:35:42 +0000 The following article was published by BC Business on June 26, 2013.



Yesteryear’s darlings are giving way to a nimble new generation.

A generation ago, in 1982, the launch of QLT Inc. under UBC cancer researcher Julia Levy ushered in the future of B.C.’s biotech industry. Levy was 48 years old at the time and virtually alone in a B.C. business landscape dominated by forestry heavyweights, mining hopefuls and merchant families with names like Woodward, Pattison and Louie. University research had yet to be recognized as the jobs generator it is today, and spinoff companies such as Quadra Logic Technologies Inc.—later QLT—were making do with whatever support they could find.

Sure, Geoffrey Ballard had founded Ballard Research—today Ballard Power Systems Inc.—in 1979, but the tech boom wouldn’t get started in earnest until the early 1990s. A generation later, those pioneering companies have largely sold off the discoveries that won them fame and made the province’s name as an innovative hub.

QLT sold off Visudyne, its flagship product, in 2012. It had been bleeding money for years despite strong revenues, and the sale provided a kind of closure for a company now a shadow of its former self. Similarly, Angiotech Pharmaceuticals Inc.—maker of the wildly successful Taxus stent—has been grappling with bankruptcy proceedings. Ballard Power Systems Inc. exited the much-touted automotive hydrogen fuel-cell business in 2007 with the sale of its automotive assets to Daimler AG and Ford Motor Co. It has since reinvented itself, focusing its efforts on fuel-cell stacks used primarily in stationary generators and batteries for forklifts.

The new generation of technology companies, like the reinvented Ballard Power, has focused on environment-friendly technologies. Westport Innovations Inc., which specializes in clean and efficient natural gas-powered engines, is now the brightest of the ventures spawned by research at UBC, where life- science ventures once accounted for 60 per cent of spinoffs. Today, life sciences accounts for less than 15 per cent of new ventures from the university.

While the tech sector is increasingly looking like a greener, more sophisticated version of the nuts-and-bolts sectors that drove the province for much of the 20th century, even the clean-tech sector doesn’t offer an easy ride.

Companies like Day4 Energy Inc. rose and just as quickly fell; Carmanah Technologies Corp. saw revenues decline by a quarter in 2012 versus 2011. Wind-energy companies have yet to post significant revenues.

Unfortunately, today’s risk-averse investors do not favour companies with high startup costs and long gestation periods. That means new tech companies have to be nimble and faster to market, with an eye to rapid growth.

While companies like QLT and Westport Innovations took 10 to 15 years to achieve a critical volume of staff and sales, Angus Livingstone, managing director of the University-Industry Liaison Office (UILO) at UBC, hopes companies might be able to commercialize new developments and become enterprises with up to 50 employees in as little as five years.

UBC hopes to accelerate the development of new ventures through entrepreneurship@UBC, a new program supported by Livingstone’s office. Unlike the spinoffs that commercialize innovations stemming from UBC research, and which typically have a gestation period of seven to 12 years, the new program supports ventures by students, staff, faculty and alumni in which UBC has no ownership stake.

“Since these companies are usually responding to a perceived market need, they are quicker to get into the market and mature,” he says, pointing to Recon Instruments, a developer of heads-up display (HUD) systems for action sports goggles. Based on a student project, the company incorporated in 2008 and now has more than 50 employees. Partnerships have been struck with California sports gear manufacturer Oakley Inc.

Elicia Maine, Academic Director at SFU MOT MBA program

Elicia Maine, Academic Director at SFU MOT MBA program

Elicia Maine, academic director of the Management of Technology MBA at SFU’s Beedie School of Business, studies the formation and growth of science-based ventures and acknowledges that startups attempting to parlay scientific research into viable ventures face tough times.

B.C. has seen its share of venture-capital financing decline dramatically since 2008—more so than Ontario and Quebec, which garner the lion’s share of funding—and many science-based tech startups have entered hibernation until conditions improve. The companies that are thriving are the lithe startups that require smaller venture-capital investments and can deliver a return in five years.

“Technology companies that have less capital requirements and much shorter timeframes—those who are app developers, those who are software companies that can go from idea to profitability in less than three years, sometimes in less than a year—those firms are doing well,” says Maine.

The shorter development timelines mean many of those companies won’t be around long enough to become one of the province’s top 100 companies. Many are snapped up—usually by international players—by the time they achieve $50 million in annual revenues, and sometimes as little as $20 million. They’re attractive because they’ve engaged in innovative developments and proven them at market, but need outside capital to grow. A sale provides that capital, as well as management expertise and new markets for the technology they’ve worked hard to build.

“We have had several multinational firms look in and say, ‘Huh—interesting ideas coming out of Vancouver,’” Maine says. “When a multinational acquires a local science-based venture, it doesn’t mean we have a local company on the Top 100 [but] it still can mean we have R&D intensive jobs here that are valued by and part of international organizations.”

Click here to view the article in its entirety on the BC Business website


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Opportunity Fest 2013 showcases Beedie undergraduate innovation Sat, 13 Apr 2013 01:05:47 +0000 Opp Fest

An innovative process to create pallets from recycled car tires, an online community for people with disabilities, and locally sourced prepackaged meals were just some of the innovative business ventures showcased by Beedie undergraduates at the 2013 Opportunity Fest.

The annual marketplace-style showcase of student creativity was held on March 26 at SFU’s Surrey campus. The event allowed participating students to demonstrate their business creativity by tackling perceived challenges through entrepreneurship and innovation.

For the past few years, guest judges from industry, academia, and the wider community have evaluated the participating teams’ endeavors and awarded prizes to students enrolled in the Entrepreneurship and Innovation concentration. Opportunity Fest 2013 welcomed judges from a wide variety of organizations, including Make, Global Agents for Change, BC Technology Industry Association, the City of Surrey, Central City Brewing, Ayoudo, Vancity, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Indel Therapeutics, and TD Commercial Banking.  

This year’s event also encouraged interdisciplinary collaboration through entrepreneurship, with judges from SFU’s schools of computer science and engineering science, the faculty of environment, and the SFU Innovation Office complementing those from industry.

In addition, SFU’s Student Entrepreneur of the Year Michael Chen, an undergraduate student in SFU’s School of Interactive Arts and Technology, addressed the participants with an inspiring keynote speech.

This year, 37 teams vied to impress the judges in three categories: Best Product, Most Investable, and Most Impact. Winners in each category were awarded $1000 and mentoring from industry experts, and for the first time ever, competing students were also able to vote for their favourite venture in the Entrepreneur’s Choice award.

Enviro-pal, designed by Beedie undergraduates A.J. Ahmad, Evan Li, Tadaaki Sun, and Wesley Li, was voted “Best Product” and “Most Investable”. The judges were impressed by the venture’s concept of utilizing recycled rubber instead of wood in the manufacturing process of pallets, creating a more durable, environmentally friendly product, which would last five times longer than a standard wood pallet.

The “Most Impact” award went to Picasso Foods, which aims to create food products with fresh produce sourced from small local farmers. The brainchild of Kelvin Chen, Conroy Hui, and Michael Jung, the venture creates consumable products from overlooked produce that does not meet the beauty standards of supermarket purchasers, thereby decreasing food waste, and providing more opportunities to local farmers.

Meanwhile EnableLife, an online platform providing education and information exchange for people dealing with various forms of disabilities earned its creators Farhan Patel, Aamir Sheriff, Xinyan Chen, and Samuel Chan the recognition of their peers as they took home the Entrepreneurs Choice award.

The titles of Mr. and Ms. Opportunity, awarded to the most engaging student presenters, were presented to A.J. Ahmad of Enviro-Pal and Lynn Shinto of One Big Family, a home health care service for aging seniors.

“Increasingly, Beedie’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation program is integrating students from across the faculties and Opportunity Fest shows how successful these interdisciplinary teams can be,” said Casey Dorin, Executive Director, undergraduate programs at the Beedie School of Business.

“The students’ ideas and ventures all possessed great potential to represent viable business concepts and the judges were impressed with their ability to find new opportunities to address the issues that mattered to them.”

For more information on Opportunity Fest 213, including an overview of all business ventures on display, visit

To view photos from the event, visit the Beedie School of Business’ Flickr page.

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SFU’s EMBA in Aboriginal Business and Leadership captures BC Business Most Innovative award Thu, 11 Apr 2013 16:54:14 +0000 Aboriginal Logo

INNOVATORSThe Executive MBA in Aboriginal Business and Leadership at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business has been selected to BC Business Magazine’s list of British Columbia’s most innovative companies.

Launched in 2012, the EMBA program is the first graduate business degree of its kind in Canada.

“B.C.’s aboriginal business community has a big stake in the province’s economic future,” notes BC Business Magazine in its April 2013 issue in referring to SFU’s newest EMBA cohort. “The program (has) attracted business leaders, administrators and senior officials as students, including Squamish Nation Chief Ian Campbell, and former mayor of West Vancouver, Pam Goldsmith-Jones.

BC Business Magazine’s annual list recognizes the top 20 organizations in the province that have used an innovative idea to build a company and redefine an industry.

The EMBA in Aboriginal Business and Leadership program is the only selection from the higher education sector on the list, which also includes business ventures such as a transportable ground satellite station and field hospital military solution, and a pioneering micro-lofts development for affordable housing in downtown Vancouver.

SFU’s Executive MBA in Aboriginal Business and Leadership meets a growing need for senior-level management education for Aboriginal managers and entrepreneurs, as well as individuals and organizations collaborating with Aboriginal communities.

“The Executive MBA in Aboriginal Business and Leadership is a reflection of SFU’s commitment to using its education and research resources to support Aboriginal peoples and communities,” said Andrew Petter, President of Simon Fraser University at the time of program’s launch. “This program is particularly needed at a time when Aboriginal peoples are striving to overcome longstanding challenges and seeking to take advantage of new challenges.”

For more information about the Executive MBA in Aboriginal Business and Leadership, visit

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Finning boss Mike Waites mixes business and baseball at CEO Series Wed, 03 Apr 2013 16:08:41 +0000 Mike Waites, CEO of Finning being interviewed at the Beedie School of Business by CKNW host Bill Good.

Mike Waites, CEO of Finning being interviewed at the Beedie School of Business by CKNW host Bill Good.

The head of the world’s largest Caterpillar dealer and a global provider of industrial equipment took centre-stage at the CKNW CEO Series held on March 27 at Simon Fraser University’s Segal Graduate School in downtown Vancouver.

Mike Waites, who was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Finning International in May of 2008, engaged in a wide-ranging discussion about international business and Canada’s economic prospects with CKNW host Bill Good in front a large audience of Beedie students, alumni and faculty as well as business leaders.

For over 80 years, Finning has provided parts and service for equipment and engines to customers in mining, construction, power systems, forestry and other industrial markets. 

The Vancouver-based company employs over 15,000 people world-wide with operations in Europe, South America and North America.

Waites, who was born in the UK, notes that his company continues to look to leverage the skills, talents and technologies across its international markets.

“One of the opportunities we have is can we take one-plus-one-plus-one and make it more than three,” he said. Ultimately, he notes, “it’s a benefit – we have diversity.”

Asked how he oversees such a widespread operation, Waites pointed to his Finning colleagues. “We have a strong management team, and a decentralized structure.”

Waites, who helped see his company through the global financial crisis during 2008, pointed to some lessons from a business book by author Nassim Nicholas Taleb, entitled “Antifragile: Things that gain from disorder.”

“(Taleb) does a good job of putting things in perspective,” said Waites, who went on to refer to one of the ways that Finning was anti-fragile itself – by focusing on servicing existing parts and engines instead of selling new product to its industrial customers.

“When we had that meltdown, people stopped purchasing,” he said.  “But the mines kept running, and we were rebuilding the machines. We were confident in the business model – we knew we could survive on that.”

The central premise of Anti-fragile, Waites explained, is innoculation – in this case through the challenges of the recession and how companies respond. “It makes you stronger,” he maintains.

The CEO of the heavy duty equipment dealer also aspires to bridge the gap between environmental and economic progress for Canada.

“Why can’t we have environmental responsibility  and responsible energy development? I think we shift the game when we ask either/or. We should ask for both.”

Waites, who is approaching retirement and expects to step down later this year, enjoys down time at a property on Vancouver Island and admits to being a fan of film – recently viewing (and recommending) Silver Linings Playbook.

He is also an admitted fan of baseball, in particular the Vancouver Canadians. His mentor, Jeff Mooney, Executive Chairman of A&W Canada, is a co-owner of the successful franchise.

“When I joined the Finning Board in 2003, he was on the board and a mentor to me,” Waites said. “He was always the passion around the customer, around the franchisee. Tremendous insight – strategic, passionate, a tremendous guy.”

“And if you haven’t been to see a game (at Nat Bailey Stadium where the Canadians play), you really should.”

To see all the CEO interviews from the 2013 CKNW Chief Executives Series, visit

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EMBA in Aboriginal Business captures BC Business Most Innovative Companies award Thu, 28 Mar 2013 22:59:34 +0000 INNOVATORSThe following article was published by BC Business
on March 27, 2013.

by Jacob Parry

B.C.’s aboriginal business community has a big stake in the province’s economic future. Treaty agreements, renewed autonomy over aboriginal land and increased control over health and social services have been game-changers for bands and First Nations across B.C. But future opportunities are still tied to present challenges, and big questions. Can business priorities reconcile with indigenous world views? And how can aboriginal business overcome the financial limitations and economic disadvantages embedded in the Indian Act and inherited from a history of colonization?

The Executive MBA in Aboriginal Business and Leadership at SFU’s Beedie School of Business is tackling these challenges head on. Launched last September, the program attracted business leaders, administrators and senior officials as students, including Squamish Nation Chief Ian Campbell, and former mayor of West Vancouver, Pam Goldsmith-Jones.

Semesters are divided into tight, two-week sessions at SFU’s downtown campus, allowing the participants to ferry between the Lower Mainland and their full-time jobs, with some participants travelling from as far away as the Yukon.

According to program director Mark Selman, 80 per cent of the content is the same as the regular EMBA. The difference? Addressing the role of indigenous knowledge in the boardroom, and the accounting for unique policy and governance issues that aboriginal enterprises face.

“We look at standard business models like Apple, but we get to a point where that won’t work in our communities, so then we have to make it applicable within our world,” explains Tamara Goddard, a student in the program’s inaugural semester and the founder and CEO of Blue Habitats Distribution Ltd., a manufacturer of eco-friendly building supplies.

Six months in, the program is a pilot for First Nations professional training, and has provoked conversations about aboriginal commerce and economic development. Teck Resources Ltd., a financial supporter of the program along with Vancity, started hiring students two months in. Selman says other Canadian universities are interested in developing a similar program.

“The education goes two ways,” says Goddard. In tackling issues from climate change to urban poverty, “learning from other cultures that have a different way of approaching business is what we need.”

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Subway boss delivers fresh business perspectives Thu, 21 Mar 2013 00:05:52 +0000 Margot Micallef, founder and president of investment firm Oliver Capital Partners being interviewed at the Beedie School of Business by CKNW host Bill Good.

Margot Micallef, founder and president of investment firm Oliver Capital Partners being interviewed at the Beedie School of Business by CKNW host Bill Good.

The spring series of CKNW 980’s “The Chief Executives” continued as Margot Micallef, founder and president of investment firm Oliver Capital Partners, answered CKNW host Bill Good’s questions on business and leadership in front of a live audience at the Segal Graduate School.

The event was part of an ongoing partnership between the Beedie School of Business and prominent Vancouver radio station CKNW News Talk 980 to bring leadership and business insights from some of Canada’s top executives to SFU’s downtown Vancouver campus.

After an introduction which listed just a few of the highlights from Micallef’s impressive résumé, including overseeing the recent opening of Subway restaurant’s 400th location in BC, Good remarked that when he first read her bio he thought to himself that there was no way this was just one person, as her accomplishments were too numerous.

Good then opened the interview in his usual style, enquiring about the first job Micallef ever had. She recalled that she began baby sitting at the age of thirteen as a way of contributing to her family. “My family immigrated from Europe and brought with them the immigrant work ethic,” she said. “To this day I don’t know how not to work hard.”

Micallef revealed that her entrepreneurial spirit first appeared when she and her sister started a business manufacturing and selling crocheted bathing suits. She admitted, however, that despite the business being reasonably profitable, their quality control was not of a high standard.

She studied psychology at Simon Fraser University, after deciding on her career path at a young age. Having always wanted to help people, Micallef spent a year working with emotionally disturbed children after graduation, but soon decided that it was not the right career for her, a realization she described as, “devastating”.

After soliciting some advice from her mother, Micallef decided to enter law school, and after graduation was hired by Shaw Communications as their general counsel. As the first lawyer the company had ever hired, she was responsible for developing the legal department. She recalled how she began to drift away from law to work more in mergers and acquisitions, with the company involved in over $15 billion worth of transactions during her time there.

She then described how her career began to move towards investments after leaving Shaw, with her first investment being in Vista Radio. Good remarked that her investments all seem to experience growth, to which Micallef revealed that under her guidance Vista Radio has grown from having just one radio station to 64 today, and that another of her investments, Subway, now has more franchises in British Columbia than McDonalds or Tim Hortons.

Good asked what qualities Micallef believes make for a good leader. “You have to be really bossy,” she replied, a comment which elicited laughter from the audience. “My mum was a strong woman, and that is where I got my training for leadership. I don’t know whether it is something you are born with or taught, but I have always taken the lead. In school I was always the first to volunteer, and my mum used to say that growing up I was the example to my brothers and sisters.

Over the course of the interview Micallef fielded questions from an eager audience, with one guest enquiring as to what her core values are in life. “My attitude in life is to be successful,” she replied. “I don’t mean to be arrogant or egotistical, it is just a matter of fact approach. When we started Vista Radio we had no money, but we did not doubt for a minute that we would not succeed.”

Good then asked what her expectations of her employees are, and whether she expected them to be available 24 hours a day. Micallef responded that she is respectful of her employee’s time with their family, and is careful not to frighten people into being accessible. However she acknowledged that the majority of her employees recognize that business carries on outside of business hours.

Micallef then fielded another audience question from a Beedie School of Business MBA student, who sought her advice on negotiating tactics. “One mistake people often make is talking too much and not listening,” she advised. “Negotiation, for me, is about finding a solution for both sides. I am proud to say that there has never been a deal I wanted to close that I did not succeed in closing.”

Good closed the interview with his customary Vanity Fair question: which four people, alive or deceased, would she choose to have dinner with? Micallef revealed a guest list of inspirational figures, including Jim Abbott, a major league pitcher born without a right hand; Viola Desmond, an African Canadian woman who raised awareness about racial segregation in Canada in the 1940s; and Roy Thomson, a radio salesman who established his own radio station after the First World War in order to give his customers something to listen to.

Micallef’s final guest turned out to be her grandfather, who had worked as the minister of agriculture in Malta before the Second World War. He had been responsible for turning it into a self-sufficient nation from one heavily reliant on imports for food. When Malta was attacked by the Axis Alliance during the War, the techniques her grandfather had introduced meant that the nation was able to sustain itself.

To see all the CEO interviews from the 2013 CKNW Chief Executives Series, visit

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Opportunity Fest highlights student entrepreneurship, innovation at Beedie Tue, 19 Mar 2013 20:56:45 +0000 Opportunity Fest 2012

Opportunity Fest 2012

The Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University will next week host the third annual Opportunity Fest, a marketplace-style showcase of student creativity aimed at seizing new opportunities and addressing perceived challenges through entrepreneurship and innovation.

Opportunity Fest 2013 will be held from 6 to 9pm on Tuesday, March 26 at the mezzanine of the SFU Surrey campus. The event is open to all, with current and prospective students from all faculties, university personnel and other community members encouraged to come and see what the next generation of entrepreneurs has in store.

Building on the success of last year’s event, around 150 Beedie undergraduate students from the Entrepreneurship and Innovation concentration will present their class-produced projects and ventures through trade-show exhibits. The student ventures build on opportunities in areas such as video-hosting, online Chinese literature and products made from reclaimed wood.

Judges from industry, academia and the wider community will engage with the student teams, evaluate their endeavours and award a number of prizes, including Most Investable, Best Product or Service, Most Impact, and the titles of Mr. and Ms. Opportunity, presented to the most engaging student presenters. This year’s event will also include an Entrepreneur’s Choice award, chosen by the event participants.

Each winning team will receive a $1000 cash prize and be matched to a business mentor that will help them take their idea forward.  The prizes will be awarded following a keynote address by Michael Cheng, winner of both SFU and the Surrey Board of Trade’s 2012 Student Entrepreneur of the Year awards.

“Opportunity Fest is like a Capstone experience for these undergraduate students,” says Beedie professor Eric Gedajlovic, founder of Opportunity Fest. “The event is a little bit of Dragon’s Den, and a bit of Apprentice. “In today’s inter-connected world, where things are happening so rapidly and your plans are outdated as soon as they are established, success and growth depends on your ability to continuously identify and pursue opportunities.”

Last year’s Opportunity Fest featured a variety of business ideas, with winning ventures including an affordable hand-held device to measure water chemistry balance in hot tubs; a wristband which measures heart rate and sleeping patterns and utilizes Bluetooth to update an online support and tracking platform; and a sustainable business which turns broken or forgotten umbrellas and rice bags into environmentally-friendly, handmade backpacks.

“At the Beedie School of Business, we have responded to today’s challenging environment by creating a place where ideas are germinated, nurtured, grown and then change people’s lives in real and positive ways,” says Gedajlovic. “These are ideas and new ventures that come from dissatisfaction with the way things are done currently and have potential to represent viable business concepts. Opportunity Fest gives the students the opportunity to develop something they will really care about.”

The event underscores The Beedie School of Business’ continued and growing commitment to experiential learning and entrepreneurship.

For more information on Opportunity Fest 2013, visit To view details on last year’s event, click here.

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Global Relay’s Warren Roy launches 2013 CKNW CEO Series Fri, 15 Mar 2013 16:33:20 +0000 Warren Roy (left), founder and CEO of Vancouver tech firm Global Relay being interviewed at the Beedie School of Business by CKNW host Bill Good.

Warren Roy (left), founder and CEO of Vancouver tech firm Global Relay being interviewed at the Beedie School of Business by CKNW host Bill Good.

Warren Roy, founder and CEO of Vancouver tech firm Global Relay, started off the 2013 series of CKNW 980’s “The Chief Executives”, answering radio host Bill Good’s questions in front of a live audience at the Segal Graduate School.

The event was the result of an ongoing partnership between the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University and prominent Vancouver radio station CKNW News Talk 980 to bring leadership and business insights from some of Canada’s top executives to SFU.

Good opened the interview by asking Roy how he got started, drawing the CEO back to his childhood, and his first job. Describing himself as a lifelong entrepreneur, Roy recounted that his earliest dreams revolved around construction; as a child he liked building things, moving from childhood Lego sets to spending time on construction sites. He started his first company, designing and building homes, in 1983.

When the recession hit in the late 80s, Roy’s company floundered, prompting him to move from Ontario to Vancouver. He realized that construction design was heading digitally, and taught himself computer-aided design (CAD), eventually drawing up over 2.5 million square feet of building plans for architect firms in Vancouver.

Good asked if he had mentors during this time, and Roy admitted that he had never had one but instead took the opportunity to learn from everyone.

“My learning pitch is, ‘What do you do? How do you make money?’” he explained, saying that by asking questions he has learned a lot about people and business. This approach has been instrumental in making the jump from construction design to data archiving.

Soon after founding Global Relay in 1999, it occurred to Roy that the email archiving service he was developing for construction firms was something the financial industry needed. With the collapse of Enron, financial regulators globally were imposing stringent compliance requirements for ensuring the integrity of records, and this extended to all forms of messaging.

Global Relay’s move into the financial world resulted from a phone call asking the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD, now merged with FINRA) for help in developing the firm’s services for the financial sector. NASD offered advice on what the regulations required and this helped Global Relay develop its platform. The firm started working first with smaller financial organizations and learning from them, before moving on to larger ones, eventually working with the Chicago Stock Exchange. Global Relay now offers secure and compliant message archiving solutions to 22 out of 25 of the world’s largest banks.

Good wondered how Roy had managed to make the switch from building houses to running a highly successful technology firm, asking what particular skill set he possessed. Laughing, Roy admitted, “There was no grand plan to get here – just taking advantage of what you see unfolding in front of you, asking questions, and thinking through the circumstances you are in.”

Throughout the interview, Roy answered questions from a highly engaged audience, on subjects ranging from dealing with setbacks to facing competition from larger companies. Roy replied that he wasn’t concerned with larger companies moving into compliance messaging services. Global Relay has established itself as an effective subject matter expert by focusing narrowly on the financial sector. “A broad market strategy would dilute our value,” explained Roy. “Larger companies would have to develop their own internal culture in order to compete with Global Relay.”

He also fielded questions on exit strategies, pointing out that with zero venture capital funding, Global Relay is under no pressure to sell from investors seeking a return. Roy’s definition of success does not include selling to another firm, preferring to keep the company locally headquartered and contributing to the community.

When questioned about employee retention, Roy revealed that this is an area the company is continually working on, and that the organization considers employees and customers more important than management and shareholders.

Good then brought the interview to a close by asking the CEO to describe a typical day in his life. “A typical day in my life is not typical,” Roy said, explaining that he spends half his time traveling, trying to do as much of this in the winter to escape Vancouver’s rain. Working on Global Relay is an all-encompassing life experience, so growing the company takes a huge amount of commitment. Roy enjoys his outdoor Vancouver lifestyle, skiing and sailing in his limited spare time, and has learned to combine business with exercise. He often goes on North Shore hikes with his team, often conducting business interviews with external hires.

“There is nothing better than getting out into the woods and having a discussion,” Roy explained. “You learn more about a person in an hour than working with them for 4-6 months.”

To see all the CEO interviews from the 2013 CKNW Chief Executives Series, visit

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