EPIC Discovery Program

Background EPIC Disovery

The EPIC Discovery Program helps current students and recent graduates from any faculty develop and validate early-stage business ideas.

This program provides new members the opportunity to develop and grow their skills in areas such as problem identification, customer discovery, value proposition, advanced market research, competitive analysis and many more. While developing these transferrable and dynamic skills, participants will have the opportunity to earn digital badges.

To receive the badge(s), participants must go through and complete a specific set of tasks, some of which are outlined in the Badge tab to your left. These digital badges are a great way for you to showcase your entrepreneurial growth and are also great to add on your resume and social media. Each Discovery Member will also have the opportunity to work closely with an experienced mentor, have exclusive access to online digital tools and resources, and be connected to our EPIC Community of entrepreneurs and business owners.

This program not only provides you with a startup toolkit to help validate your market, but you will also have access to a collaborative space (COVID-19 restrictions apply) to help foster an entrepreneurial mindset. Start your journey by applying today!

We encourage you to join us if you are:

  • A highly motivated individual or team who has a passion for entrepreneurship
  • In the early stages of your entrepreneurship journey and are looking to validate your business idea
  • Collaborative and are willing to engage within the EPICentre community

You must be a University of Windsor or St. Clair College student or recent graduate within 7 years (post 2014). You must also be at least 18 years old at the time of your application submission.

If you wish to apply to the EPIC Discovery Program but do not meet the eligibility, please contact Sydney.Thompson@uwindsor.ca.

By joining our EPIC Discovery Program, you are eligible for the following benefits:

  • One-on-one mentorship: Receive one-on-one mentorship from successful and seasoned business leaders in our community to help you reach your goals and milestones.
  • Access to members-only resources: access to digital and exclusive EPICentre resources such as how-to guides, video series and more!
  • Opportunity to earn digital badges: While you are gaining experience in the program, you will also be earning digital badges! They can be added to your resume and social media to show others know about your entrepreneurial growth! Click on the badge tab for more details (found on the menu to your left).
  • Access to virtual networking spaces: Virtual networking spaces ensure that you are always in the know of EPICentre related events and programs, as well as information about business trends, competitions, and potential funding opportunities, and a place to connect with other like-minded entrepreneurs.
  • Flexible Structure: We understand that you have other priorities (such as school, work, and family) in your life; our structure is customizable to your needs. You will have up to 12 months to complete the program, at your own pace!
  • (COVID permitting) Access to our collaborative workspace during business hours: Come work along side other entrepreneurs in our open and modern space. Have a meeting, work quietly at a hot desk, or network in the kitchenette!

Our badges are a representation of the skills you have learned and the tools that are now apart of your entrepreneur’s toolkit. Throughout the Discovery Program, the badge process will help you track your progress. Each time you complete a major task, successfully test a component of your business model, or move past a major hurdle, you will earn another check towards the badge. When you complete all the requirements you will be issued a digital badge that you can share with others and post on your LinkedIn and other social media sites.

 

Level 1: Idea Validation Badge

 

The objective of this badge is to acquire the knowledge and skills to test your idea, understand your idea’s impact on potential customers, and begin to create a functional business model around it.

To earn this badge, you should be able to do the following:

  • Describe in detail what problem your idea solves, or what need, want or desires it fulfills.
  • Identify potential customers.
  • Detail how your product or service will create value for your customers.
  • Identify how the business will make money.
  • Identify potential competitors.

The skills learned in this badge:

  • Problem identification
  • Problem/solution fit assessment
  • Customer discovery
  • Value proposition creation
  • Primary and secondary research techniques.
Level 2: Market Validation

 

The objective of this badge is to acquire the knowledge and skills to develop a business model, grow your understanding of the market, and progress towards a minimum viable product (MVP).

To earn this badge, you should be able to do the following:

  • Refine your value proposition and customer segments.
  • Refine how the business will make money.
  • Understand cost drivers for your business.
  • Better understand the competitive landscape your business will operate in.
  • Identify opportunities for sustainable advantage.
  • Understand the critical components of your MVP and begin the MVP creation process.

The skills learned in this badge:

  • Advanced market research
  • Detailed competitive analysis
  • Foundations of product-market fit
  • MVP fundamentals.

Complete the application here.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. You will receive a reply via email within 5 business days. If you have not received a response by then, please reach out to Sydney.Thompson@uwindsor.ca.

If you have applied before but did not get in, we encourage you to apply again when you are ready.

Q. Does it cost anything to join the program?

A. This program is completely free for current students and recent graduates from the University of Windsor and St. Clair College.

Q. Is EPICentre only for business students?

A. No, we serve students from all disciplines – not only business majors. We strive ourselves on creating a multidisciplinary centre.

Q. Does EPICentre take any equity or royalties of my company if I use their services?

A. EPICentre does not take any equity or royalties of any kind in any program.

Q. How much time should I expect to dedicate to this program?

A. As a Discovery Program member, you are required to meet with you mentor at least once a month. Generally, your mentor meetings will be 30 minutes to 1 hour. Beyond your mentor meetings, you will work on the tasks and necessary components needed to complete the program. How long it takes you to complete these tasks will depend on how much time you have allocated to work on your business, your

stage of development, and the complexity of the task itself. You may or may not have prior knowledge to some of the concepts shared in the Discovery Program; this will also affect your ability to get the tasks completed quickly. Ultimately, it will look different for each person in the program.

Q. What if someone joins (or leaves) the team while I am in the program?

A. Fantastic! Team members can join or leave your venture as needed. If they are going to actively engage in Discovery Program activities, we just need to get the appropriate paperwork completed. Please talk to your Program Lead if you have team members join or leave the program.

Q. How long will it take me to graduate?

A. Every entrepreneur and business idea requires a different set of tasks. How long it takes you to graduate will depend on the complexity of the business you want to start, how many team members you have, how much time your able to dedicate to the business, and potential funding constraints and abilities. Your progress on the business idea before joining the program may also contribute to the time it takes to graduate. If you have already completed several of our ‘check list’ items, you will be closer to graduating. If you have not started to work on the idea just yet, that is okay too! All members in the Discovery Program will have up to 1 year to work at a pace that is right for you.

Logo EPIC Discovery
QUESTIONS

Contact sydney.thompson@uwindsor.ca with any questions.

past

Participants
Discovery Participant 3 Taylor
Taylor Lanoie, B. Comm (2016)
Taylor credited the success of running her own social media management company to the guided mentorship she has received from EPICentre. The program has also boosted her confidence that enabled her to navigate the business world.
Taylor Lanoie, B. Comm (2016)
Taylor credited the success of running her own social media management company to the guided mentorship she has received from EPICentre. The program has also boosted her confidence that enabled her to navigate the business world.
Taylor Lanoie, B. Comm (2016)
Taylor credited the success of running her own social media management company to the guided mentorship she has received from EPICentre. The program has also boosted her confidence that enabled her to navigate the business world.
Discovery Participant 2 Jaydee
Jaydee Tarpeh, B. Sc. In Biology and Economics (2016)
As a former international student, Jaydee was determined to help international students better transitioning into a new education system and culture in Canada. The EPIC Discovery Program helped him test his idea of whether an online platform will be the best way of delivering the service.
Jaydee Tarpeh, B. Sc. In Biology and Economics (2016)
As a former international student, Jaydee was determined to help international students better transitioning into a new education system and culture in Canada. The EPIC Discovery Program helped him test his idea of whether an online platform will be the best way of delivering the service.
Jaydee Tarpeh, B. Sc. In Biology and Economics (2016)
As a former international student, Jaydee was determined to help international students better transitioning into a new education system and culture in Canada. The EPIC Discovery Program helped him test his idea of whether an online platform will be the best way of delivering the service.
Discovery Participants 1
Andrea Swartz and Daniel Dupont, Computer Science
Andrea and Daniel came to EPICentre to learn how to add value to the software they are building. They were also keen to learn how to solve customers’ pain points from first principles through technology.
Andrea Swartz and Daniel Dupont, Computer Science
Andrea and Daniel came to EPICentre to learn how to add value to the software they are building. They were also keen to learn how to solve customers’ pain points from first principles through technology.
Andrea Swartz and Daniel Dupont, Computer Science
Andrea and Daniel came to EPICentre to learn how to add value to the software they are building. They were also keen to learn how to solve customers’ pain points from first principles through technology.