Entrepreneurship Co-op

Entrepreneurship Co-op

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.

Application Process

1. Apply 

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.

The Hub Incubator Program website link and program application.

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.

FAQ - Learn more about E Co-op

Should I consult with my Co-op Coordinator if I am interested in pursuing an E Co-op work term?
Yes. Absolutely! It is important to keep your Co-op Coordinator informed.  They will provide more information about the process, application timing, and next steps. 
When should I start thinking about E Co-op if I am interested in starting my own business?
Applications for The Hub Incubator Program 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. Prepare your application at least 6 to 8 months in advance to your scheduled work term.  See the ‘Timing of Application’ section. 
Can I apply for E Co-op if I plan to start a business with another student or a group of students?
Yes, The Hub Incubator Program does allow teams to submit applications. You may have co-op and non co-op students on your team.  Members who are co-op students must complete all E Co-op work term requirements and attend all scheduled Wood Centre workshops in the program. 
I have already started my own business, can I still apply to The Hub Incubator Program and have it count toward an E Co-op work term?
Yes, if you have already started your own business, you can still apply.  You may be seeking support to expand your business, whether it is developing new products or increasing your client base the Hub can help.   
What happens if I apply to The Hub Incubator Program for an E Co-op work term and I am not selected?
If you do not make it through the screening process of The Hub Incubator Program and are not selected you apply to co-op jobs through Experience Guelph and conduct a personal job search as you would for any upcoming work term.  You will be informed of the Hub results before the first application deadline for co-op job postings.  
Can I complete more than one E Co-op work term? 
Yes, you can complete a maximum of two E Co-op work terms however, they must occur within 1-year of starting the Hub program.  This means two, 4-month work terms back-to-back or two work terms separated by an academic term within the year would qualify.  For your first E Co-op term you must be accepted and successfully complete the Hub Incubator Program along with all E Co-op requirements.  If you are interested in completing an additional 4-month E Co-op term you will continue to check-in and provide progress reports to your supervisor, the Business Incubator Services Manager, however there is no additional funding provided by the Wood Centre.  You are encouraged to seek out other sources of funding that may be available for your business. 
I am going out on my first or second co-op work term; can I apply for E Co-op?
Typically, E Co-op is a better fit for senior co-op students.  Senior students going out on a third, fourth, or fifth work term may be more competitive in the process as they will have co-op work experience at various organizations and work environments.