Graduate Entrepreneurship Experience Program (GEEP)

Graduate Entrepreneurship Experience Program (GEEP)

The Graduate Entrepreneurship Experience Program (GEEP) is an experiential program for graduate students interested in innovation and possibly in starting a business and learning the fundamentals of entrepreneurship.

Program description

Graduate students have traditionally received funding via teaching assistantships (TA) & research stipends (from supervisor). Not only do these provide funding but also experience in the student’s field of study. However, for students aspiring to be entrepreneurs in their field of study there is often lack the financial support, training and resources needed to explore translational research or entrepreneurship. With a growing emphasis on supporting entrepreneurial activities in the Faculty of Science (FoS) at uOttawa, we propose the Graduate Entrepreneurship Experience Program (GEEP). The GEEP is an experiential program for graduate students interested in innovation and possibly in starting a business and learning the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. The GEEP will provide graduate students with funding, insights and skills into translating a fundamental research output into an application and/or prepare them to launch their own start-ups by giving them the knowledge, experience, and connections to build a high-impact company. Graduate students under the GEEP program will be matched with FoS mentors with practical experiences in venture creation. Acquisition of skills associated with translational research and research commercialization makes this initiative perfectly aligned with our institutional mission. We hope this program will initiate a mindset shift from traditional academia and provide students with a different perspective on their career potential.


 At the end of the term, GEEP fellows are expected to:

  • Develop a market analysis.
  • List key experiments required to bring research to the next Technology Readiness Level
  • Prepare and give a final pitch. This pitch will be one of the key components to secure their next round of funding, i.e., a second GEEP unit. This pitch will describe why students want to create a company, or why they don’t think they are quite yet ready to start a company.
  • Participate in an entrepreneurship symposium in the context of Global Entrepreneurship week.
Two female students talking in front of a white board

Taking the next step

Intellectual property (IP)

As per the current APUO collective agreement and uOttawa policy, all IP generated in a professor’s lab using financial resources managed by uOttawa (e.g., tri-council funds) typically belongs to uOttawa (unless otherwise negotiated in the context of a research contract agreement). The IP can be protected by a trade secret or a patent. Indeed, a patent is not mandatory to commercialize research, although it often makes it easier (but not always).

The IP can be accessed by a company interested in commercializing the research via an agreement (or « license »). A portion of the revenue generated by this agreement are typically redistributed to « the inventor(s) ». The professor or the student may also access their own invention – and create a startup - by paying for the license.  

It may be evident to most that a graduate student is considered an inventor of the product of their graduate work. However, inventorship is a different status than authorship in a scientific publication. It is critical that students and professors discuss these criteria together as they progress in their translational research effort. An informative paper by Konski and Wu (2015), may serve as a basis for discussion.

Male student pointing at information on a piece of paper


GEEP fellows will have access to all resources offered by the e-hub, in addition to being mentored by professors and entrepreneurs.

  1. The Rev Up Circuit is a 7-week condensed bootcamp designed for people looking to transform their business idea into reality. Over seven weeks starting in October, participants complete seven 3-hour workshops also known as pit stops. Each pit stop incorporates a blend of hands-on learning opportunities, speaker panels and lectures rooted in lean startup fundamentals. After successfully completing all seven pit stops, entrepreneurs are able to:
    1. Map out their business idea using a Business Model Canvas
    2. Build or conceptualize a minimum viable product (MVP)
    3. Understand potential customer or user segments
    4. Conduct preliminary market research through customer discovery and validation efforts

The Rev Up Circuit is ideal for new entrepreneurs seeking resources and support to start and operate a business, no matter the sector.

  1. GEEP fellows will also be encouraged to work towards getting the entrepreneurial mindset certificate (EMC). The Entrepreneurial Mindset Certificate is a set of workshops that run year round. EMC can be completed over an 8-month period in addition to the rev-up circuit program. It contains a total of 10 workshops + 5 networking events (c.a. 30 hours of work).
  2. Welcome to The Link, a web series highlighting entrepreneurial paths with uOttawa alumni from around the world, brought to you by the University of Ottawa’s Alumni Association and the Entrepreneurship Hub.
  3. Additional resources can be found here, a page created and curated by Steven Daze, entrepreneur in residence at Telfer.

2022 GEEP pitch competition

Alexandre Poulain, Norman Israel, Rojo Rakotoharisoa, and Andrew Pelling at the very first GEEP pitch competition
Alexandre Poulain, Norman Israel, Rojo Rakotoharisoa, and Andrew Pelling at the very first GEEP pitch competition (December 8, 2022)
Norman Israel
Norman Israel, founder of Ananse
Rojo Rakotoharisoa
Rojo Rakotoharisoa, founder of Enzeen
Women typing on a laptop

Entrepreneurship Bridge Fund

The Entrepreneurship Bridge Fund (EBF) is a program that supports early-stage research with commercialization potential in the Faculty of Science at uOttawa.
Learn more about the Entrepreneurship Bridge Fund

Contact info

Andrew Pelling

Full Professor

Work E-mail: [email protected]

Alexandre Poulain

Full Professor
Vice-Dean of Innovation and Strategic Partnerships

Room: STM325
Office: 613-562-5800 ext. 6728
Work E-mail[email protected]

Hugo Lemieux

Senior Research Advisor
Room: STM 305
Office: 613-562-5800 ext. 3927
Work E-mail[email protected]