SFU’s new interdisciplinary Entrepreneurship and Innovation course showcases health startup ideas

Dec 12, 2014
The interdisciplinary Entrepreneurship and Innovation certificate cohort showcased their health-related startup ideas at SFU's Surrey campus.

The interdisciplinary Entrepreneurship and Innovation certificate cohort showcased their health-related startup ideas at SFU’s Surrey campus.

A non-invasive home blood-testing device, an online counseling service, and a “big-brother” style service for grandparents and young children were some of the health-related startup ideas showcased by undergraduate students from faculties across Simon Fraser University.

The event, held on December 1 at the SFU Surrey campus, was part of the new interdisciplinary Entrepreneurship and Innovation concentration spearheaded by the Beedie School of Business and part of an SFU-wide movement toward interdisciplinary entrepreneurship and innovation.

Participating students in Beedie’s first 200 level Entrepreneurship and Innovation class (BUS 238) were split into 14 teams and asked to leave the classroom and find places in any aspect for health – from social isolation to acute care – where they thought they could make a meaningful difference, while utilizing the diverse skill sets within their interdisciplinary teams.

During the process the students progressed through different product creation stages, including identification of user needs, formulating user-driven solutions, business model creation, and finally presenting their venture publicly – all in just four weeks.

Students from the Beedie School of Business, the School of Interactive Arts and Technologies, Mechatronics Systems Engineering, Economics, History, Environment, Health Science, Science, Psychology, Criminology, and Philosophy displayed a wide range of ideas and inspirations inspired by their own interests and passions.

The startup venture ideas included a match-making service between lonely seniors and young children without grandparents; a non-invasive device for at home blood testing and pre-screening to minimize children’s visits to hospital; nano-scale muscle repair; and an online service to help provide instant counseling to stressed out students.

“These projects show the power of interdisciplinary teams,” says Sarah Lubik, Director of Technology Entrepreneurship@SFU, who ran the first class along with Andrew Gemino, Associate Dean of undergraduate programs at the Beedie School of Business.

“This experience was designed to teach the students that any one of them has the ability to identify real issues that they care about, and empower them with the knowledge that they can do something about it – and now they have a network of people with complementary skills to help them.”

Open to any undergraduate student from any SFU faculty, BUS 238 Introduction to Entrepreneurship and Innovation introduces students to core entrepreneurship and innovation concepts, creating impactful solutions and working in interdisciplinary teams.

The project underscores SFU’s role in Innovation Boulevard, a network of health institutions, universities, companies and talented people, all located within one square mile in Surrey’s City Centre.

For more information on the interdisciplinary Entrepreneurship and Innovation opportunities available at SFU, visit www.sfu.ca/entrepreneurship-courses.html

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