Coast Capital Savings announces one million dollar investment to UVic’s Innovation Centre

Campus Local News

Funding is the company’s largest community investment on Vancouver Island

Image by Josh Kozelj, Senior Staff Writer

After getting fired from his co-op in 2017, Juan Orrego headed to the Coast Capital Savings Innovation Centre on campus with a couple thousand dollars left in his bank account and an idea. 

He connected with Tyler West, Innovation Centre Program Coordinator, and Jerome Etwaroo, Associate Director, and received help to launch his company. Two years later, Orrego was named to BC Business magazine’s 30 under 30 list after his idea to offer online ordering and delivering solutions for restaurants turned into a company, Cuboh

“When I came to the Innovation Centre at first, we only had a couple thousand dollars. We were near death many, many, times, and it was thanks to the Innovation Centre that I could eat everyday,” said Orrego in front of a packed conference hall at UVic’s University Club. 

He credited the Innovation Centre for giving him the time and resources to to think and plan about his business. Orrego, a graduate of the Gustavson School of Business, now employs 16 people with Cuboh with aspirations to hire three more people before the end of the year. 

Orrego’s story is just one of the many Coast Capital Savings hopes to help fund with a record breaking announcement this morning. 

In front of students, faculty, and community members, Tracy Arnish, Chief Member Experience Officer of Coast Capital Savings, announced an extended partnership and one million dollar investment into the Innovation Centre. 

“Our ongoing support of the Coast Capital Savings Innovation Centre is a tangible contribution to the future of the amazing young people who benefit from the centre’s support as they pursue their entrepreneurial endeavours,” said Arnish. “These bright innovators are the changemakers of tomorrow.” 

The one million dollar contribution is Coast Capital’s largest community investment on Vancouver Island. 

Since Coast Capital partnered with UVic in 2016 with an initial contribution of $450 000 to fund the Innovation Centre and help young entrepreneurs with their business dreams, 500 students from every faculty on campus have received support for their startup. 

In the three years since the original partnership, $200 000 in seed funding has been allocated to students for awards, scholarships, prototype and business development — which has supported the launch of over 70 companies in that span. 

“Our centre’s entrepreneurs are succeeding, and it’s exciting to see them thinking big and to take their learning out of the classroom, out of the lab, and into the community,” said UVic President Jamie Cassels. “They’re producing that next generation of social, technological, and economic innovation that will improve and enrich lives.” 
In a media release, the university touted how the five-year funding agreement emphasizes their Strategic Research Plan and will help on-campus entrepreneurs replicate Orrega’s success story and develop business concepts from an idea to a company.