Beedie looks back at extraordinary year in Surrey

Dec 19, 2011

It has been an extraordinary year for the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University – and the accomplishments of the school at SFU Surrey have helped to drive that success. As 2011 draws to a close, Beedie is celebrating such student accomplishments as SFU Student of the Year, the Surrey Green City Award, and selection to one of Canada’s most prestigious leadership programs for entrepreneurs.

Highlights include:

-Surrey BBA student Jessica Fan has been selected to the Next 36, a prestigious entrepreneurial leadership program that seeks out the country’s most promising and entrepreneurial undergraduates and challenges them to create their own ventures.

-This past fall, the SFU Surrey campus hosted a signature Beedie event: SFU Dragons’ Den. Jim Treliving and Bruce Croxon, members of the popular business television program Dragons’ Den, visited students as part of the special evening devoted to entrepreneurship and innovation. At the conclusion of the event, Treliving enthused on Twitter about SFU’s “fantastic students”, while Croxon’s impression from these young entrepreneurs, also tweeted, was that “Canada is in good hands.”

-Beedie BBA student Lauren Watkin, along with SFU communications student Sonam Swarup and Beedie alumnus Ashish Gurung received Surrey’s Green City award for their creative environmental efforts as members of the SFU Surrey-based Students in Free Enterprise club and their Banner Bags program. To date more than 800 banners no longer used by cities or community organizations have been turned into colourful reusable bags, produced by students in high school sewing classes led by the SIFE students.

-The student-founded venture called “Aspire” took the top prize at SFU’s Opportunity Fest, a Beedie School of Business entrepreneurship competition held at SFU’s Surrey campus in the spring. Judges from the wider business community, including academics and prominent industry leaders, named Aspire’s project as the best among more than 50 student projects at the marketplace-style exhibition. The venture leverages the characteristics of autism as a competitive advantage in the software testing industry, creating a suitable and nurturing work environment for those with ASD.

-Five projects by Beedie students from SFU Surrey — all social ventures aimed at creating positive change, including the aforementioned Aspire — were chosen from 10 finalists to win Ashoka Canada’s prestigious Be a Changemaker Challenge on November 23 at UBC Robson Square. The Beedie students are from instructor Shawn Smith’s Business 492 class in social entrepreneurship and innovation, which teaches the fundamentals of creating socially impactful ventures while coaching students through the process.

-This fall, Beedie Assistant Professor Jan Kietzmann and instructor Ashish Gurung led a unique class in social media for business at SFU Surrey. The class immersed students in cutting-edge social media practices and theory and connected students with industry-leading social media technology firms such as Hootsuite. Appropriately, the class also claimed its own Twitter hashtag (#bus495) – where students could communicate with eachother and the extended social media community about the class.

-Prof. Kietzmann, who carries out teaching and research from the Surrey campus, also won a noteworthy research award from the journal Business Horizons (along with co-authors Kristopher Hermkens, Ian McCarthy, and Bruno Silvestre.) His paper “Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media,” won the business journal’s Best Article Award for 2011, in great part for its industry impact and recognition.

-The December issue of BizEd Magazine, the leading voice of business education published by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), has recognized Beedie students for developing the Beedie iPhone app, which they began working on in the SFU Surrey class Foundations of Innovation (also taught by Kietzmann).

-Another Beedie undergraduate at Surrey, Matias Marquez, has won the honour of being SFU’s 2011 Student Entrepreneur of the Year, as selected by an annual competition in November hosted by Students in Free Enterprise. His company,, is a “software-as-a-service” digital gift card processing technology that becomes embedded onto its customers’ websites.

In December, as part of a class project, senior Beedie students helped support the United Way by participating in the annual Surrey Market on the Mezzanine which featured the work of local crafters, artisans and students along with a book sale, silent auction and baked goods.

In addition, first-year Beedie BusOne program students hosted an afternoon Christmas Market on the Mezzanine at the Surrey campus. This holiday-themed marketplace featured the exclusive works of BusOne students and included baked goods, candy apples, hot chocolate, bubble tea, photo booths, crafts and more. All proceeds from this holiday-themed market, which this year was an impressive $3,800, went to the United Way.

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