The Experiential Learning Hub (EL Hub) recognizes there is tremendous learning potential for co-op students interested in starting their own business venture for a work term. While it takes a great deal of planning and dedication, an entrepreneurial work term can offer a transformational learning experience. From developing a business strategy and pitching your business, to engaging with community partners and future customers, Entrepreneurship Co-op (E Co-op) provides guidance and a great opportunity to bring your ideas to life.
Co-operative Education programs at the University of Guelph are accredited through Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL Canada). This means we meet specific accreditation standards to ensure quality co-op programming. CEWIL Canada defines Entrepreneurship Co-op as a work term(s) in which a student further develops or starts their own business. The student(s) is the owner of the company and considered an entrepreneur. It is not an employer-employee type of relationship as in a typical co-op work term.
The Hub Incubator Program
In partnership with the John F. Wood Centre for Business and Student Enterprise our on-campus entrepreneurship experts, we have streamlined the process for co-op students from any academic program to gain entrepreneurial training and experience. If you are a senior co-op student (work terms 3-5) and interested in pursuing an E Co-op work term, be sure to communicate this with your Co-op Coordinator. They will coach you through the process and direct you to apply to The Hub Incubator Program through the John F. Wood Centre. This is a competitive application process involving various steps and the timing of your application is important for you to understand. If accepted into the program the Hub offers funding, dedicated office space in the J.D. MacLachlan building, access to experienced mentors, entrepreneurial workshops and many other resources.
The goal of the Hub Incubator is to provide you with experience and guidance to build successful enterprises. Whether or not entrepreneurs are successful with their initial idea, the experience provides rich experiential learning to increase your chances of success. If accepted into The Hub Program for your E Co-op work term, you will attend weekly workshops, have one-on-one progress meetings, be connected with mentors, interact with potential customers, and participate in a pitch competition at the end of the semester.
Timing of Application
Applications are accepted and reviewed three times each year during the Fall, Winter and Summer semesters. As a co-op student, you need to have lead-time in planning and submitting your application. Start thinking about and preparing your application in advance of your scheduled work term in accordance with the Hub application deadline dates.
|Fall E Co-op work term||
Submit your application during the Winter semester prior to your work term.
|Winter E Co-op work term||
Submit your application during the Summer semester prior to your work term.
|Summer E Co-op work term||
Submit your application during the Fall semester prior to your work term.
If chosen for The Hub Incubator Program, you will proceed with E Co-op during your scheduled work term. If not selected, you will learn the outcome of your application prior to the first Experience Guelph co-op job posting application deadline for your upcoming work term and will have time to seek employment elsewhere.
*Note – if you are applying for the Hub Incubator Program during your co-op job search term, ensure you speak to your Co-op Coordinator about the risks of applying late and not participating in the Experience Guelph job postings.
Submit Application - Take the time to submit an articulate overview of your enterprise - what you do, how you are different and your business model. Provide an overview of the team and each person's strengths (single applicant or group application is permitted – see FAQ section). Ensure you demonstrate how you will utilize the resources provided by the program to grow your business.
2. Await Response
The Wood Centre will review your application to gauge suitability for the Hub. They are looking for enterprises with a well-thought-out business model that has been substantiated by research. They are also looking for innovation, uniqueness, feasibility, measures of success (if applicable), milestones you are working towards and a strong demonstration of how the Hub will help you grow.
3. Pitch Interview
If your online application passes through the first stage of evaluation, you will be given the opportunity to pitch your business to a panel of experienced entrepreneurs. You will have 45 seconds to demonstrate why your idea matters, discuss the business model and introduce your founding team. The panel will then ask a series of questions. Your performance will be evaluated based on stage of development, team and personal qualities, and the social impact that your business can provide.
4. Start Building
Once accepted into the Hub, your team will have access to the space and resources for the duration of the program (4 months). In addition, your enterprise will receive up to $2,000 of funding. You will be provided mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs, and you will have a network of other like-minded entrepreneurs working in the space. They will work with you to develop a timeline for the milestones your business must achieve while you are in the Hub. It is expected that you complete these milestones in order to remain in the space.
E Co-op Work Term Visit
Your Co-op Coordinator will conduct a work term visit with you and your supervisor mid-way through your E Co-op work term. The Business Incubator Services Manager is ultimately your co-op supervisor for the work term as they will be checking in weekly on your progress and will have the most knowledge of your work. During the work term visit, you will discuss your learning goals, enterprise milestones, challenges, and overall progress in The Hub Incubator Program.
E Co-op Work Term Report
Work term reports are an integral part of the co-operative education experience, which enable you to integrate the unique insights and learning gained through your work experiences coupled with the academic knowledge acquired through your studies.
Work term report requirements vary by program and your supervisor may be asked to sign off on the report, prior to submission. Submit work term reports to your academic department by the 5th class day of the semester following your work term. Your Co-op Faculty Advisor will evaluate the report and grade it on a scale of: Outstanding, Very Good, Good, Satisfactory, and Unsatisfactory*. This grade will appear on your official transcript.
If you would like to have someone read your Co-op Work Term Report, the Writing Services team in the Library supports University of Guelph students of all levels in becoming stronger, more confident writers.
*NOTE: A final grade of Unsatisfactory will require resubmission. If you receive a grade of Unsatisfactory a second time, you will be required to withdraw from the Co-op program.
E Co-op Work Performance Evaluation
Your supervisor will receive an email with an embedded link to the student’s Co-op Work Performance Evaluation during the last month of the work term. Supervisors will be asked to provide feedback on the student’s performance and to provide an overall assessment word grading which is recorded on the student’s official transcript. The performance evaluation is also available in pdf format. Students and supervisors are encouraged to use this form as a performance-monitoring document throughout the work term.