The Future of Corporate Innovation: with PwC Canada CEO, Bill McFarland and Paul Salvini

What does industry need in order to innovate in a corporate setting? How can the startup community leverage the opportunities within industry and tackle those big problems?

We recently had the pleasure of hosting PwC Canada’s CEO, Bill McFarland, for an informal discussion with Accelerator Centre CEO, Paul Salvini, to address those questions head-on.

We all know that the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor is at the forefront of Canadian innovation and entrepreneurship, but the region’s commitment to corporate innovation is one of the things that sets us apart from other innovation clusters.

“Waterloo has been quite successful with corporate innovation. The University of Waterloo is a significant source of that success,” says Salvini. “Through their co-op placement programs, 5,400 businesses have been connected with the incredible talent within the university.”

And industry is anxious for access to the talent coming out of the University of Waterloo. According to the recent PwC CEO Survey, 80% of CEOs are thinking about how innovation or disruption will impact their businesses. “We should all be thinking about innovation and about creating a diverse economy that is strong—for our children and for our grandchildren,” adds McFarland.

Often innovation is expected, easy to anticipate and plan for, but increasingly disruption has been the accidental result of improving the customer experience. “With the unprecedented level of disruption in today’s world, innovation has become a necessity and businesses are increasingly investing in R&D and innovation centres to proactively evolve​ and create rich environments to facilitate new thinking​. ​Disruptive innovations are not always planned​ and are more likely to flourish in organizations where challenging the status quo is accepted and encouraged​,” says McFarland. “That’s right,” adds Salvini. “For example, Apple didn’t set out to make a great phone. They set out to improve their media player by adding a phone. It was all about adding value to their customers.”

While there is opportunity for innovation in every industry, entrepreneurs often struggle to get access to meaningful problems and corporations struggle to get ahead of the curve when it comes to disruptive technologies.

Some of the most exciting advances—in areas like AI, quantum computing, cybersecurity, and nanotechnology—have the potential to disrupt multiple industries and provide significant opportunity for entrepreneurs.

“There is incredible research and great ideas coming out of universities, but entrepreneurs need access to big problems to make big impact and they need help commercializing those ideas,” says Salvini.

Corporations face several roadblocks to successful innovation, most commonly:

  • Culture: A management team that resists change or is risk-averse
  • Budget: No resources to work on exploring new technologies or opportunities
  • Talent: Corporations often seem less attractive to top talent than startups
  • Structure: Too many layers that slow down or impede progress

That is where the Accelerator Centre (AC) steps in.

Through our programming and strong connections with industry leaders like PwC, the AC is able to help industry innovate. Whether through offering corporations the ability to market test new ideas and form a spin-off company like Miovision’s “Teal” or through connecting corporate leaders with talent that can help them better anticipate—or even get ahead of—change, the AC is able to help corporate organizations foster a culture of innovation and embrace change.

As the AC continues to support entrepreneurs and leaders like PwC to embrace and lead a culture of innovation, we will continue to lead the way in innovating industry.

The Accelerator Centre Announces the Next Cohort of Startups in their Accelerator Program

May 9, 2017

We are pleased to announce the companies that will comprise the 3rd cohort of our redesigned Accelerator Program.

These 8 companies will enter Phase One of our world renowned incubation program. Startups in the program are selected through a competitive application process and represent the best-of-the-best in technology and entrepreneurship in the region and around the world.

The companies joining the 3rd cohort are:

Company Name Description Founders
Cassle Inc. Real Estate Technology Sunny Khangura
eDropBy Solution Inc. Package Transportation Platform Jeff (Tai) Zhao
Equi-App Equestrian Learning Platform Alex Reinfels
Foober Student Meal Delivery Service Brad McGill
Monarch Clothing Medical Garment System Pat Quinn
Overture Donor Forum Ltd Not-for-Profit Donor Engagement Platform Herb and Joanne Shoveller
Unnamed Internet Security Company Derek Wong and Kathryn Vandenberg
Unnamed  Service Provider Referral Platform for Homeowners Jake Gibson
Unnamed Ecommerce Mohammad Ghanbari

“We are pleased to announce the third cohort of startups into our Accelerator Program. We see great promise in this group and are happy to be supporting such a wide variety of technologies and industries. We are excited to see them build and scale successful, global businesses.”  – Paul Salvini, CEO, Accelerator Centre.

Phase One is the first of four phases within our recently restructured two-year incubation program. The program offers customized, milestone-based programming alongside our proven mentorship model. At the end of the Phase Four, our clients graduate with confidence, knowing all areas of their business are ready for long-term success.

For more information on our clients, our programming, or to learn how to apply for the next cohort visit

Media Contact:

Tabatha Laverty
Community Manager

Conrad launches part-time weekend MBET program

Originally published by the University of Waterloo

The Conrad Centre has launched a part-time version of its Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (MBET) program, designed for individuals who want to develop the skills to lead change and launch new ideas while balancing full-time work. Course material will be delivered in weekend sessions over three years, with the first cohort starting classes in September 2017.

The MBET program is a graduate business degree for entrepreneurs which combines interdisciplinary courses with practical experiences in venture creation and commercialization. The new part-time program’s weekend format offers greater flexibility for students to develop their entrepreneurial skills with the mentorship of acclaimed faculty and industry leaders, while applying this learning to their workplace or venture in real-time.

Attend an upcoming webinar to learn more about MBET part-time and full-time options!

Part-time MBET at a glance

Course delivery

Three years in duration. Course content delivered in weekend sessions (Friday evening and all day Saturday) held roughly every three weeks, with a total of 12 weekend sessions per year.


Nine courses and a Corporate Commercialization Practicum. The practicum will begin in the second year.

All nine courses and the practicum are integrated throughout the program rather than divided by conventional terms. The program is designed so that course material is delivered at the time when it is most relevant to the experiential components of the course, a reflection of the MBET philosophy of learning for the sake of achieving goals rather than for the sake of solving problems that may occur in the future.

The content of the part-time and full-time versions of the program is the same.


Conrad Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology Centre

University of Waterloo


Applications for the part-time cohort are currently being accepted. Please visit our Admissions Requirements page for detailed admissions requirements.


For Canadian citizens and permanent residents, part-time tuition for the 2016/2017 academic year was approximately $11,508 CAD per year. The approximate total tuition for the three year program is $34,524.

For international students, part-time tuition for the 2016/2017 academic year was approximately $14,250 CAD per year. The approximate total tuition for the three year program is $42,750.

*The tuition rates listed on this page are subject to change and meant as a guide only.  For exact amounts, and incidental fees, visit the university’s Student Financial Services page regularly.