RBC uOttawa CO-OP Entrepreneurship Program

 RBC uOttawa COOP Entrepreneurship Program - Investing in students, unlocking their potential

What is the RBC CO-OP Entrepreneurship Program?

The RBC CO-OP Entrepreneurship Program will set the standard when it comes to helping students develop an entrepreneurial mindset. RBC’s investment of $450,000 over three years will provide significant new opportunities for entrepreneurially-minded CO-OP students. It will allow them to test ideas and learn the myriad skills needed to get a business off the ground and either graduate to running a full-fledged operation or take part in further incubation programs.

Rather than hoping for a position with an existing company, RBC CO-OP Entrepreneurship Program participants will learn how to become successful entrepreneurs. By investing in students with the passion to develop their entrepreneurial skills, RBC will be creating employment and wealth, while fostering the kind of innovation that is needed for future prosperity.

Three types of entrepreneurial ventures

  1. Business idea or project: Dedicate time to getting your business idea or project off the ground.

  2. Entrepreneurial Apprenticeship: An entrepreneurial apprenticeship provides you with experiential learning opportunities so you can develop your entrepreneurial mindset and innovation skills. This practice-based form of entrepreneurship education gives you the freedom to pursue projects that promote learning by doing and employing new technologies.

  3. Placement in a small start-up where students are exposed to the entire business: Complete a traditional CO-OP placement in a relatively new small business. These placements are designed to introduce you to all aspects of business management.

Who can participate?

CO-OP students from all faculties can apply to the RBC CO-OP Entrepreneurship Program.

  • Applicants should take an entrepreneurship course at the University of Ottawa before applying.
  • Applicants wishing to work on their own business venture should meet with Stephen Daze or Hanan Anis before applying.

Startups that wish to hire a CO-OP student

  • Startups that wish to hire a CO-OP student as part of this program must offer an on-site educational experience in which the student develops an entrepreneurial mindset. While the student can play a particular role within the startup, he or she must also be provided with various learning opportunities and exposure to the ins and outs of running a startup.

What are the advantages for participants?

  1. Four full months to work on cultivating an entrepreneurial edge
  2. Receipt of a $10,000 scholarship and the possibility of receiving an additional $5,000 to continue with your project part time over the next term
  3. Access to core resources and various support services

How to apply - students?

Please fill the online form and make sure to consider the following deadlines:

Targeted Work Term
Application Deadline


March 1


End of March


July 1 (of the year before)


End of July


November 19 (the year before)

End of November

End of December

How to apply - startups?

Startups that wish to hire a CO-OP student should email Marc-André Daoust. In the email, please answer the following questions:

  • What type of work will the student be doing?
  • How will you ensure the student receives an on-site educational experience that develops his or her entrepreneurial mindset?
  • Describe the learning opportunities and exposure to the ins and outs of running a startup you will be able to provide.

Be sure to include your company name, company contact person, the program(s) of study you’re interested in recruiting from, the term you’re recruiting for (e.g., Winter 2018, Summer 2018, Fall 2018) and your phone number.

2016 Recipients

Justin McLeod
Mechanical Engineering

Faculty of Engineering

"ING Robotic Aviation Inc. paired with the RBC uOttawa Entrepreneurship CO-OP Program has really allowed me to channel my ambition. ING has given me full ownership of my 3-axis gimbal project, and I can now honestly say that I’m much more prepared to run an engineering services business if ever the opportunity arises. I still have an immense amount to learn, but this work term has really allowed me to soak up a large amount of information in an environment that I can definitely see myself in in the future. I may sound like a broken record, but you need to be open to learning something new and sharpening your skills every day."

Link to the blog:


2017 Recipients

Daniel Laframboise - Software Engineering

Faculty of Engineering

"Throughout the winter of 2017, I had the chance of a lifetime to work for a local early-stage startup called Welbi. This was an incredible opportunity that allowed me to develop not only technical skills but also soft skills, something larger companies simply can’t offer. Working with Welbi made it possible for me to experience the ups and downs that startups go through every day and taught me to be able to adapt quickly and change priorities on a dime. The founders I worked beside every day—who had given up the chance of a stable career to instead take their shot at changing the world through innovation and technology—served as a huge inspiration. I’ll be forever thankful to RBC, the University of Ottawa CO-OP staff who helped set up the work term and Nick and Elizabeth from Welbi for giving me the opportunity."

Holly Todd - Marketing

Telfer School of Management

"Working to build my own business was definitely challenging this past summer, but it was also very rewarding. My business, Sprout, which I run as part of the uOttawa student group Enactus, sells fresh produce and instructional meal kits in areas that lack access to healthy foods. I was able to turn my passion for creating positive social change into a job, and I can’t think of a better way to spend a summer. I learned so much as an entrepreneur that I know I wouldn't’ have learned if I’d worked at a traditional summer job. It was definitely a great ride and I look forward to what’s ahead! We’re expanding to a third location in the next few weeks and hope to bring Sprout to more locations across Ottawa over the next year.

Link to the blog:

Edna Gisela Urrego - International Development and Globalization

Faculty of Social Sciences


"Startup Garage is a very dynamic program, with something always going on. My goal is to support Startup Garage’s companies’ portfolio. I help startups — who have few human resources and a heavy workload — reach their milestones. My position is exciting and flexible. I can be involved with and learn from different industries and initiatives. I also participate in the follow-ups on the progress of each company during our bi-weekly meetings. Startup Garage invites several serial entrepreneurs and experts from different fields to share their expertise and talk about their experiences. We are exposed to a wide variety of topics such as marketing, finance, sales and legal matters and participate in workshops on essential skills for entrepreneurs, like how to efficiently pitch your business. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn and get inspired by local entrepreneurs."

Links to the Blogs:





2018 Recipients


Brent Jensen

Brent Jensen - Public Administration

Faculty of Social Sciences

“Having the opportunity to work alongside a group of entrepreneurs providing new and innovative ways of solving problems was one of the greatest professional experiences I have had to date. What I have taken away from this experience is the knowledge and insights about what it takes not only to run a business, but also to be successful. During my time at Desk Nibbles, I was challenged to learn new skills, given much more responsibility, and definitely put outside of my comfort zone, which is where the best personal growth happens! I’m incredibly thankful to RBC, uOttawa, and Desk Nibbles for making this a reality. I could not recommend applying to this program enough! ”

Link to the blog: www.chequelist.wordpress.com 

Steven Bui

Steven Bui - Accounting

Telfer School of Management

“For my parents, entrepreneurship was integral to their transition into Canadian society. When they emigrated from Vietnam, they knew the best way to become part of the Ottawa community was to contribute to it directly. My parents are an inspiration to me and through their success, I’ve been enticed by the idea of starting my own business and being able to give back to the Ottawa community. When I saw that RBC and uOttawa were providing an opportunity to work with a start-up, I knew that the experience would be very valuable and unlike any other job I’ve worked so far. Since starting at MicroMetrics in January, I’ve been exposed to the start-up world and what skills are an absolute necessity to succeed in this environment. I will carry the skills that I have developed through this experience for a lifetime and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for me next! ”

Link to the blog:




Alida Burke - Étudiante programme d'entrepreneuriat coop uOttawa RBC

Alida Burke - Accounting

Telfer School of Management

“Over the course of the summer, I was fortunate to work with a company I cofounded called Growcer, which provides commercial hydroponic farming systems to communities so they can grow their own food locally. Since we are expanding our operations across Canada, we will be working over the summer to manage our current systems as well as manufacture and ship our planned projects for the fall. I’m looking forward to working on my company full time through the RBC uOttawa CO-OP Entrepreneurship Program, which allows me to apply what I’ve learned in class and work on something I’m passionate about. The learning curve can be steep, but I’ve found it very rewarding; I’ve learned how to effectively manage a team and how to develop internal processes from the ground up – something that I’ll always remember! ”

Link to the blog: https://thegrowcer.ca/rbc-coop 

Loic Darboux - Étudiant programme d'entrepreneuriat coop uOttawa RBC

Loïc Darboux - Software Engineering

Faculty of Engineering

“The reason everyone raves about how great it is to work in the fast-paced, close-knit environment of a start-up is because (drumroll…) it’s true. My first few weeks working as a software developer at uOttawa Design Services not only opened my eyes to the breadth of activities needed to run a business, but also enabled me to gain skills way beyond those listed in my job description. Even though my main tasks involved programming microcontrollers, automation, and web design, I got to dabble in CAD modelling, basic accounting, and business model planning. So far, my experience has been nothing short of amazing and I am thankful to RBC and the CO-OP Office for making it possible. ”

Link to the blog: https://medium.com/@loic.drbx/jack-of-all-trades-master-of-some-32b2ccdf6074

Tianze Gao - Étudiant programme d'entrepreneuriat coop uOttawa RBC

Tianze Gao - Computer Science

Faculty of Engineering

“Entrepreneurship is probably the most challenging career in the world. An entrepreneur’s tomorrow is always filled with surprise and uncertainty. A writer can be considered successful if he publishes one famous book. But for an entrepreneur, success cannot be measured in past victories. And entrepreneurs must always prepare for tomorrow. Thanks to the uOttawa-RBC Entrepreneurship program, I had a chance to work with great start-up, RCbenchmark, this summer. I helped the company grow by implementing an effective business plan and learned how to create a better tomorrow. If you are interested in my story, please check out my blog. ”

Link to the blog: https://medium.com/@tgao056/i-am-tianze-e97caea68e75

Chantelle La Rue - Étudiante programme d'entrepreneuriat coop uOttawa RBC

Chantelle La Rue - Communication

Faculty of Arts

“I am a fourth-year student working towards an Honours BA, specializing in communications with a minor in management. I have completed three CO-OP terms and have had the privilege of experiencing a variety of work environments, from government to start-ups to international corporations. For my last term, I knew that I wanted to work with a start-up or small company; I love the opportunities these environments provide to students including the different tasks, varying levels of responsibility, and the ability to be creative.

I first began to seriously consider entrepreneurship after taking the New Venture Creation course; it gave me a really good understanding of what is actually involved in building and running a business. It gave me the idea that this was something I could do. Additionally, I spent the past year as the president of Her Campus uOttawa and through that experience, I learned that I really enjoy leading a team and building ideas from the ground up.

When I found out about the RBC CO-OP Entrepreneurship program, I knew that it was something I wanted to be a part of: the opportunity to learn, firsthand, what it takes to build a business from the beginning was invaluable. As part of this program, I was hired as a Marketing Lead at App8. App8 is a payment processing application for restaurants; it allows you to view, split, and pay your restaurant bill from your phone, and then leave at your convenience rather than waiting for the server to bring the bill and process your payment. In this job, I have the opportunity to build and execute the marketing plan for the app launch and the phases that follow. I know that this experience will have a significant impact on my skill set because I have the opportunity to fully develop and execute a marketing plan that includes a myriad of different initiatives and tactics.”

Link to the blog: https://pregraduate.weebly.com/

Riley Mccabe - Étudiant programme d'entrepreneuriat coop uOttawa RBC

Riley Mccabe - Finance

Telfer School of Management

“Working with a young start-up company in the early stages of the business cycle is an extremely exciting opportunity. The experience you get is very broad, and you learn about all the ins and outs, the stresses and joys, and the highs and lows of business management. But most of all, you get the chance to see your hard work put into action and make a real impact. Hyre is expanding rapidly all across Ontario and I’m super excited to see what’s in store for the future! I’m very thankful to Hyre, RBC, and uOttawa for this chance to broaden and enhance my skills and knowledge.”

Link to the blog: https://medium.com/@rileymccabe23 

Kristine Puzon - Étudiante programme d'entrepreneuriat coop uOttawa RBC

Kristine Puzon - International Development and Globalization

Faculty of Social Sciences

“When you work for a social enterprise, no work day is ever the same. I am spending my summer in a dynamic work environment that is always challenging me in new ways. Three years ago, Youth Active Media started as a video production program by Youth Ottawa and the Social Planning Council (SPC) that aimed to reach over 400 youth across Ottawa. Fast-forward to 2018 and from this program, a social enterprise concept emerged: Hot Shoe Productions. This new company trains and hires youth to produce quality creative video solutions for businesses and non-profits, such as the Centre for Social Enterprise Development, Market Mobile, Shopify and more.

I learned about Youth Active Media through my involvement with Youth Ottawa’s Board of Directors. I wanted to take my involvement further and use this opportunity from uOttawa and RBC to learn about running a social enterprise by being immersed in one. Working with Hot Shoe and Youth Active Media this summer has provided me with an opportunity to enhance my entrepreneurial and technical skill set. From facilitating the video program to working on marketing and sales, it has truly been an immersive learning experience.”

Link to the blog: https://medium.com/@kristine.puzon/uottawa-rbc-coop-work-term-in-review-may-2018-ae5f83b13b3a

Ruthvik Shakelli - Étudiant programme d'entrepreneuriat coop uOttawa RBC

Ruthvik Shakelli - Master of Electronic Business Technology

Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

“For an international student, it doesn’t get any better than taking part in the entrepreneurship program offered at uOttawa. Entrepreneurship is a never-ending journey, requiring continual learning across a wide range of skills. I thank Spectrafy Inc. for giving me this opportunity to develop and become a better person professionally. Entrepreneurship is not just about how you succeed with a venture; it’s about embracing challenge and learning from failures in order to move forward. I’ve gained a lot of insight into how a small tech business operates and feel ready to seize my next entrepreneurial opportunity. I truly thank RBC and uOttawa for this life-changing experience.”

Link to the blog: https://medium.com/@ruthvikshakelli/rbc-uottawa-entrepreneurship-co-op-experience-f68815f417ce

Andres Tovar - Étudiant programme d'entrepreneuriat coop uOttawa RBC

Andres Tovar - Marketing

Telfer School of Management

“Thanks to the RBC uOttawa Co-op Entrepreneurship Program, I can work full time on my business, Noetic Marketer, and I can do so without worrying so much about money. This new experience will help me continue to build the company’s foundations, and teach me what it really means to be a business owner. I believe these four months will teach me a lot about myself by having me face different challenges, such as decision-making, time management, account management, sales challenges and more. However, I am very excited and I know these four months will help me grow into a better leader, communicator, learner, and more responsible individual. Working full time with Noetic Marketer is the best way to grow my business. I hope to take my company’s success over the past year and multiply it by three.”

Link to the blog:



Picture of a student

Logan MacPherson -


Telfer School of Management


“Trying to build a start-up while studying for a university degree is no easy task. I started my business, Point3D Commercial Imaging, eight months ago and one of the factors holding it back was time. There simply wasn't enough time to focus on the business and my studies simultaneously. That's where the RBC uOttawa CO-OP Program comes in. The Program provides students with a one-of-a-kind opportunity to work full-time on their business for four months, developing their entrepreneurial skills and getting paid while doing so. This unique opportunity has enabled me to grow, both professionally and personally, by dealing with the ups and downs of running a business full time. I would highly recommend that students who are studying at the University of Ottawa and are interested in entrepreneurship check out the RBC uOttawa CO-OP Entrepreneurship Program!”


Link to the blog: https://medium.com/@lmacp069/rbc-uottawa-co-op-entrepreneurship-blog-post-1-an-incredible-opportunity-bb117c1dc53d


For more information

Please contact Marc-André Daoust (CO-OP Programs). 




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