Executive Director’s message

The freedom to innovate.

Adrien Côté (BSc ’99)

Executive Director, Velocity

The image is of a group of twenty plus students gathering together at the front of a stage. They are all happy and smiling. The lighting in the room is cool with purples, reds and blues glowing. You can see a person in the front row holding a large cheque for 5 thousand dollars. They are members of Grease Tech celebrating with their peers at the Winter 2024 Velocity Pitch Competition.

Members of Grease Tech celebrate with their peers at the Winter 2024 Velocity Pitch Competition.

Since the first day I visited Velocity, I’ve remained inspired by the startups working under one roof, determined to make the impossible happen. Startup founders are creative, focused and ambitious people building companies and turning prototypes into products. There’s a freedom to innovate that permeates Velocity. This is driven by the people who have chosen one of the hardest paths to building a career; being an entrepreneur.

Business incubation and acceleration started more than 25 years ago. Supporting startups is an industry now, compared to 2008 when Velocity was founded. Thousands of startup programs now exist globally, each working to help their participant companies gain success. Velocity has eschewed various trends in startup programming preferring to adapt as required as we engage new startups. We feel compelled to get people to the next step as best as possible, no matter what type of business they are pursuing or their envisioned path to business success. We don’t want to limit the possibilities for creative and ambitious people to achieve founder success.

Our world needs more people to be highly effective entrepreneurs. We need more people to challenge the status quo by taking an idea and making it tangible by selling highly desirable services and products that improve the way we manufacture, acquire knowledge, increase the value of assets, care for each other and our planet, and have fun. As founders arrive to Velocity with new ambitions and technologies, we will find new ways to help them beat the odds and create outsized value. This means Velocity will likely look very different five years from now, as it looks very different today than it did in 2008. However, Velocity will always endeavor to be an oasis for committed innovators, where the impossible becomes possible and businesses get off the ground in the best direction as fast as possible.

Momentum is a snippet of what happens at Velocity and it shares how we work to propel the potential of founders we engage. As you read the student and founder stories in this report, be inspired and heartened that our world and economies can change for the better.

Keep building.