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Entrepreneurship – Getting Started on Your Own

Time and Date: 11:00-12:00am on Saturday, May 11
Session Type: Panel
Location: Room 1012, Earth Sciences Building

Your dreams, incorporated. 36% of small businesses in BC are owned and operated by women. A panel of experts – from angel investors to successful entrepreneurs – talk about the need for diversity in the entrepreneurial world and finding your niche. Let them demystify what it takes to launch your ideas into reality.

Moderator: Anja Lanz
Speakers: Janet Benjamin, Catherine Boivie, Ged Mclean, and Mike Volker

Janet Benjamin

Janet Benjamin

Janet graduated in Engineering from McGill University in 1976. She worked in Toronto at Bell Canada, Procter &Gamble and Northern Telecom. She returned to her home town of Vancouver in 1986, where, to balance her career and small children, she started a consulting business. Projects included co-founding of Power Smart Inc. and consulting in energy efficiency across Canada and internationally.

She was appointed to the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy in 2006. Janet was elected President of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia in 2007-8.

Most recently, Janet started Vireo Technologies, a company to develop continuously variable transmissions for electric and hybrid vehicles, and a variety of industrial applications from the oil patch to wind turbines.

Catherine Aczel Boivie

Catherine Boivie

Dr. Catherine Aczel Boivie is a widely respected executive with more than 20 years of experience in the leadership of information technology, most recently as SVP IT for Vancity Credit Union. Catherine is the CEO and Chair of Canadian Women in Technology (CanWIT) and Executive in Residence at the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University. She also an experienced board member having served on several boards, including those of Insurance Corporation of B.C. (ICBC), Certified General Accountants Association of Canada, the Burnaby Board of Trade and is the Founding President of the Chief Information Officers Association of Canada (CIOCAN).

Dr Boivie has been publicly recognized for her contributions, including the University of Waterloo Mathematics Alumni Achievement Medal and was named one of Canada’s top 100 most powerful women by the Women’s Executive Network in the “Trailblazers and Trendsetters” category and has recently received the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee medal for being a “catalyst for technology transformation”.

Anja Lanz

Anja Lanz

Anja Lanz has been very active with Women in Engineering grass-roots activities since 2003. During her education at UBC in Engineering Physics, she co-initiated the Women in Engineering Physics network, which was the first undergraduate women in engineering network of its kind at UBC. Shortly afterwards in 2004, she joined Women in Engineering at UBC. In 2005, she became chair of the Building Communities Symposium ‘07, the predecessor of the “Creating Connections” conference. In 2008, Anja, together with several other women, founded “Women in Engineering (Vancouver Region)” or WIE(VR). This group is now in its 5th year of existence. Anja is also the new chair for APEGBC’s Division for Advancement of Women in Engineering and Geoscience (DAWEG). She strongly believes in mentorship and is a mentor for several organizations in Vancouver. Anja is employed by Autopro Automation Consultants as an EIT.
In her spare time, she likes travel, yoga, professional development, history, psychology, and the outdoors.

Ged McLean

Ged Mclean

Dr. Gerard McLean, PEng, is a triple graduate of Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo who has spent his career immersed in technology R&D while simultaneously using his experiences to learn about the design of products, systems, devices and services. In 2001, Dr. McLean founded Angstrom Power Inc. to develop micro-structured fuel cell technology for portable power applications. Angstrom has developed the most advanced micro fuel cell systems in the world, leading to its acquisition by BIC Inc. in 2011. His extensive research in PEM fuel cell systems design has produced over 50 patented inventions related to fuel cell architecture, manufacturing, systems and controls. Prior to founding Angstrom, Dr. McLean was the Director of the Institute for Integrated Energy Systems and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Victoria where he guided undergraduate students to receive over 20 Provincial and National awards for their designs of assistive devices for people with disabilities, and was twice the recipient of the ‘Best Professor’ award as voted by students. Dr. McLean has a broad background in engineering design with applications beyond fuel cell technology that include bicycle components and testing, embedded systems for structural monitoring, machine vision, automated photogrammetry and assistive devices for people with disabilities. Dr. McLean is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering.

Michael Volker

Mike Volker

Michael Volker is an Entrepreneur active in the development of new high technology ventures. A University of Waterloo Engineering grad, Mike started his own company (Volker-Craig Ltd) in 1973. He sold this company in 1981 and then decided to work with entrepreneurs in building new companies. He is presently the director of Simon Fraser Unversity’s Innovation Office. Check out his latest two projects: Greenangel Energy Corp, [GAE.V] a public company that invests in green technologies and WUTIF – the Western Universities Technology Innovation Fund – an “angel” fund for start-ups. To further encourage tech entrepreneurship, Mike runs the Vancouver Angel Network, VANTEC and the Vancouver Chapter of the Keiretsu Forum. He’s  on the Board of New Ventures BC – an annual business competition. Mike was chairman of the Vancouver Enterprise Forum for several years and

In 2009, Mike was named Canadian Angel Investor of the Year by the National Angel Capital Organization (NACO) as well as B.C. Angel of the Year by the B.C. Angel Forum. He is a director of NACO and chairs its Policy Committee.

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