The founder of a burgeoning online instant gift card company is Simon Fraser University’s newest Student Entrepreneur of the Year. Matias Marquez, an undergraduate student in the Beedie School of Business, took the honour at the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) annual competition held on Nov. 19. His company,, Canada’s leading digital gift card processor is a “software-as-a-service” digital gift card processing technology that becomes embedded onto its customers’ websites. According to Marquez, thousands of merchant locations across North America have signed up with’s services, including major retailers and restaurants such as The Keg Steakhouse and Bar, Boston Pizza, Milestones, Swiss Chalet and others. Marquez says earning the business of top companies took substantial effort. “You also have to love what you do; we’re where we are now because of our passion and hard work,” says Marquez, who makes personal visits to companies a top priority. He continues the travel and runs his downtown office while at the same time, striving to finish off final courses for his business degree. Meanwhile the second place SEY winner is fellow Beedie undergraduate Arvand Alviri, founder of VenueWize, a web and mobile-based application created for event organizers. It lets event organizers collaborate on events, access live guest information during their events (via iPhone and iPad apps), track guest profitability and stay green. Both Beedie winners are also clients of SFU’s Venture Connection (VC), which has helped numerous student and recent alumni companies through various stages and phases of development.