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Inspiring the Transformative Synergy of Entrepreneurship: Opportunity Fest 2023

Dec 08, 2023

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The entrepreneurial spirit continues to thrive at Simon Fraser University, as seen at Opportunity Fest, which brought over 250 community members together on November 23, 2023 at SFU’s Surrey campus.

SFU’s largest showcase of student entrepreneurial projects is hosted annually by Beedie School of Business’ Charles Chang Institute for Entrepreneurship. This year  it was held in-person for the first time since 2019, filling the SFU-Surrey mezzanine to capacity in celebration of interdisciplinary and intergenerational innovation. Class projects were on display from SFU students enrolled in courses within the Charles Chang Certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Tech e@SFU, as well as from elementary and middle school students via program partner PowerPlay Young Entrepreneurs.

The one-night event brought together over 150 students from elementary school through university, 45 industry professionals and academic leaders as guest mentors, including school-age junior mentors, as well as family and other community members. This year’s OppFest themes drew inspiration from societal concerns across environmental, social, human capacity, mental and physical health landscapes. The showcase concluded with a ceremony where over $5,000 in cash prizes were awarded to support student entrepreneurial journeys, including the top High Impact Innovator award, presented to EcoFlex by Title Sponsor Prospera Credit Union.

OppFest is where a student’s entrepreneurial journey and experiential learning meet. This annual signature event takes students out of the classroom and into interactions with industry leaders from various backgrounds. Teams present their solutions to societal challenges and, through feedback from guest mentors, gain insight into the world of entrepreneurship. Opportunities like this allow students to engage with the world around them and embrace diverse perspectives, further developing their entrepreneurial mindset. Whether they continue to build their ventures, move onto new ones, or make change within an organization, their experience empowers the next generation of responsible leaders with practical and innovative solutions for the communities around them.

OppFest leaves a lasting impact by providing the entrepreneurial space for students to unlock their potential through venture ideas, nurture their entrepreneurial mindset and spark the transformative synergy of imagination, community, and growth.

Mike Ng, director of business banking at Prospera Credit Union, spoke at the event saying, “[Prospera] believes that the entrepreneurial spirit and can-do mindset is the catalyst behind so many innovative ideas and creative businesses. We believe in the power of local and that local businesses are the lifeline and heart of our communities. It is with the support of Prospera Credit Union that businesses with local beginnings get their head start.”

This year’s winning team: EcoFlex

Winning team EcoFlex, represented by Business, Science and Applied Science students participating in OppFest through the Tech e@SFU certificate, addresses the environmental and social impacts from the inefficient resource allocation of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. Their venture draws inspiration from the government of Canada’s zero-emission mandate on passenger vehicles, existing poor infrastructure of EV charging stations, and the growing market demand which require innovative solutions. EcoFlex focuses on mitigating harmonic pollution while improving user experience and contributing to a cleaner and sustainable future. As part of their venture, EcoFlex is committed to partnering with EV charge providers both locally and internationally and research conducted by SFU professors in the Faculty of Applied Sciences to integrate a new infrastructure of EV charging stations at  SFU’s Burnaby campus by 2024.

Prospera Credit Union has been title sponsor for OppFest since 2019. Additional financial support for OppFest was provided by SFU’s Beedie School of Business and the John Dobson Foundation, with program support from PowerPlay Young Entrepreneurs.