This unique opportunity for students to gain skills and experience while simultaneously helping grow impact ventures is proudly funded by Coast Capital Savings. Read more about what it's like to be a Coast Intern here.

Click on them to read their stories.

Meet Harsimran Grewal.


What are the reasons you were attracted to entrepreneurship and particularly, social entrepreneurship?


I have always admired entrepreneurship because in its essence it’s the art of creation. Some of the companies that dominate our everyday lives today did not exist before I was born. It was the idea and the execution of that idea by these entrepreneurs that has changed the way our world operates. However, I became more enthralled with social entrepreneurship after working with social enterprises in Swaziland because it changed the way I view business.

I’ve come to the realization that entrepreneurship, and business by extension, can serve as a vehicle for creating significant and positive change. I found this aspect to be the most rewarding in working with the impact ventures focused on solving challenging problems such as improving literacy rates and ethical sourcing.


What would you say to someone wanting to apply to the Coast Capital Savings Impact program?


Do it. I was initially hesitant in applying for the program because I did not believe that I possessed the skills required to add value to any of the ventures. However, from this experience I’ve realized that everyone posses inherently valuable and transferable skills, and that the knowledge we consume in our classrooms can be used to achieve tangible results, but the onus is on us to do so. Not only will this experience enhance your understanding of entrepreneurship, but it will help you better understand your working style and how you operate in a team setting, while also providing opportunities to develop your knowledge and skillset in multitude of business functions.

What inspired you over the course of the internship?


My continued inspiration was driven by the people around me. The founder’s passion for their companies’ mission was contagious and motivated me to work harder and smarter to assist them in achieving their goals. The intern team was incredibly talented, and I learned a lot of valuable lessons from all of them, while also having a great time in the process. Finally, the people at e@ubc were incredibly supportive and prioritized the professional development of the intern team through workshops, offering interesting projects, and hosting roundtables with experts.

Meet Ryan D'Souza.


What are the reasons you were attracted to entrepreneurship and particularly, social entrepreneurship?

I come from work in the social development sector and I believe that sustainable, responsible social enterprises are the way to begin addressing critical challenges across the world. With clear metrics for tracking progress and a higher level of accountability, social enterprises have substantiated the need for strong business acumen to help change the lives of people across the world.

I hope to go back to the development sector and help empower social enterprises, through impact investing, technological innovation and strategic initiatives. I feel like this is the perfect space to jump right into learning about the processes that make for great ventures and that’s how I found myself here.


What were your biggest takeaways from the program?

The ability to jump into work that was so diverse and come up with implementable solutions was easily the biggest takeaway for me. I loved having the ability to choose what I wanted to learn and the skills I wanted to develop. We had sessions by sector experts who gave us insights into the entrepreneur and venture capital space. This helped inform any decisions we took and shaped how we implemented our plans. I also had the opportunity to work on a few creative projects with film and storytelling, which was not just fulfilling but also incredibly fun!

The team is built up of people from different backgrounds and were an absolute pleasure to work with. All in all, an incredible experience.

Your turn – give a piece of advice for someone in your shoes next year wanting to be an intern with the Coast Capital Savings Impact program?

To anyone considering the program, I would say jump right in! It’s a great experience and a great crash course into running new ventures and venture capital. It great to see the impact these companies are making and the aspirations they have. It’s also a unique opportunity to learn about different sectors through the lens of each company. You’ll have an opportunity to meet incredible people and really sharpen your skills, while making a real impact.

Meet Leily Farman.


What has been the significance of this experience for you?


These past few months have been a unique opportunity to get an in-depth look into the inner workings of startups. As a part of this program, I have been working with several startups in a variety of industries, at different stages of development and funding, and each with different needs. It has been incredible being in an environment that is unpredictable and dynamic, where I have been constantly learning and gaining experience. Working in a startup has challenged me to push myself beyond my capabilities to expand my skillset and take initiative on new and unfamiliar tasks. This internship offers the unique opportunity to not only see the challenges, work, and decisions that go into starting and running a company, but to also be a part of the process, which is truly special.


What is an accomplishment you are proud of?


As an undergrad going into my third year, I saw this internship as an opportunity to develop skills beyond those taught in the classroom, to learn from the people around me, and to get a look beneath the surface into how startups function. Some of the accomplishments I am proudest of are doing UI and UX design, creating wireframes, learning how to create a financial model, understanding the due diligence process, and overall having a database of programs, skills and knowledge I have acquired from throughout the program.


What would you say to someone wanting to apply to the Coast Capital Savings Impact program?


I would say that this experience is invaluable whether or not you want to go into entrepreneurship. The tasks you learn, the skills you develop, the exposure you get to decision-making processes, the thought that goes behind creating strategy, and the long list of other insights you gain into the inner workings of companies provide you with an arsenal of knowledge that can be applicable to any field.


In terms of development, it does not matter if you have never had experience in creating a financial model, conducting market research, designing an app or implementing an operations strategy, challenge yourself to try everything and anything. This is the best chance to do so, because as part of the internship, you get to work closely with a group of amazing people who each have their own expertise and experiences that you can draw from. Essentially, a support system that is ready to help and guide you should you need it.

Meet Omar Mohammed.


What drew you to entrepreneurship?


The whole notion that a person can change the world in their garage has always been exciting for me. In traditional models of business, your impact on a firm scales the longer you work at a place or the more senior the position you occupy. Startups flip that and challenge people to bring a strong impact from day one. Because of the organizational flatness and the small team size, startups can quickly innovate in ways that are not possible for large enterprises.


What inspired you over the course of the internship?


Meeting and dealing with founders has been a very exciting and inspiring experience. I’m constantly amazed at the dedication and subject matter expertise that these people bring along with the creativity to tackle large scale problems on a shoestring budget.


What advice do you have for new interns?


Use your position of an intern with e@UBC to build your personal networks and brand. If you don’t know the answer to tackle a specific project, such as pricing, financial projections or social media marketing, reach out to not only the founders, but subject matter experts. I find that it is both quicker and more rewarding to learn from the best as opposed to trying to navigate the web.

Meet Kathleen Simpson.


As a student, what are the top reasons you were attracted to entrepreneurship and particularly, social entrepreneurship?


All entrepreneurship is about identifying a need and designing a solution to that need. What makes social entrepreneurship special and exciting is the chance to take on bigger social challenges to design a better world. Working at entrepreneurship@UBC, is a opportunity to support founders as they ambitiously try to make change on a global level. Coming to the office every day, I know that the work I’m doing will help someone down the line, be it in the field of education, sustainability, or health.


What is your biggest win to date?


I am passionate about making good decisions based on strong evidence. My B.A in Psychology taught me to question assumptions and my Master of Management degree taught me how to translate information into strategy. Because of this, some of the work that I have found most rewarding is helping ventures with their customer discovery. By talking to customers, collecting market information, and analysing trends, I can help ventures apply this information to a strategy that will best fit the needs of their customers.


What’s the toughest challenge you’ve faced to date?


New ventures by nature need to be agile and adapt quickly to new information. Changing targets and strategy make for a dynamic and exciting work environment, but it also comes with challenges. Keeping the big-picture in mind is critical to being able to make adjustments to direction without losing focus on the end-goal.


Your turn – give a piece of advice for someone in your shoes next year wanting to be an intern with the Coast Capital Savings Impact program?


In the accelerator environment, it is easy to have lots of opportunities to learn quickly. Don’t forget to make the most of being a member of a big team to ask others for expertise and to get the chance to learn from them too.


Come visit! 

We are located in the Graham Lee Innovation Centre in the Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre.

6163 University Blvd

Vancouver, BC

V6T 1Z3

 entrepreneurship@UBC is a part of Innovation UBC under the Vice-President, Research and Innovation (VPRI) portfolio