Launchpad Live

An open speaker series to hone entrepreneurial thinking skills and create impact

Participants of all ages from the UCalgary community, across Alberta and beyond have the opportunity to learn the basics of growing an idea and building a startup or social venture.


Learn from industry leaders week after week in a friendly, coachable environment


Develop the skills needed to grow ideas, identify opportunities, and communicate


Make connections with likeminded individuals and build your innovation network

About Launchpad Live

Hone entrepreneurial thinking skills in a safe, supportive environment, and understand how they can be applied in other professional and academic settings.

Describe theories and terminology related to entrepreneurial thinking and innovation; learn how to create sustainable organizations that deliver ongoing value.

Apply entrepreneurial thinking theories, tools, and approaches to their idea or startup via an Entrepreneurial Journey Plan which contains the key deliverables each team will build throughout the course.

Identify support services available through the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking and other partners in the innovation ecosystem.

Learn how to communicate new ideas effectively and create a video pitch presentation.

Series Start Date 

October 5, 2021 

Series End Date 

April 1, 2022 

Register for Launchpad Live 

Register for the virtual series any time at the link below.

Launchpad Live 2021-2022 Series

Previous sessions

Couldn't make it to Launchpad Live? Watch the sessions below. All sessions are also available on our YouTube channel.

Week 1: Introduction to Entrepreneurial Thinking

In this session, you will learn:

- Program overview
- Learn how entrepreneurial thinking can enable innovation in all disciplines and why it’s important for our prosperity
- Strengths and weaknesses of entrepreneurs/entrepreneurial mindset
- Types of entrepreneurship
- Ideation (i.e. where ideas come from)
- Goal-setting for your project

Week 2: How to Start a Startup or Social Venture 

In this session, you will learn:

- Startup dictionary: Demystifying innovation jargon
- How startups are different from big companies
- Why now is a great time to start a startup
- Introduction to market validation and customer development (finding problems worth solving with customers)
- Lean Canvas overview

Week 3: Business Model Design

In this session, you will learn:

 - An overview of business model design
- How to identify and validate your assumptions
- How to test a business idea; prototyping and the MVP introduction
- How to innovate using the business model canvas and innovative business models

Week 4: Entrepreneur Panel, 'How to Start a Startup'


In this session, we invited two entrepreneurs to discuss how they "found" their idea and began to build their startups. The discussion was moderated by Dr. Alice de Koning, academic director of the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking.

Week 5: Entrepreneur Panel, 'Communication Skills for Innovators'

In this session, Keri Damon, executive director of the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking presented on how to effectively communicate for innovators. In this session, you will learn: - how to identify and capitalize on consumer pain points - how to differentiate yourself in the market - key communication skills and marcom assets needed to innovate - how to draft a value proposition and use it to validate your idea

Week 6: Customer Discovery and Market Intelligence

In this session, Alice de Koning, academic director of the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking and Justin Massar, community engagement specialist presented on how to effectively communicate for innovators.

In this session, you will learn:

- Testing your assumptions identified in the Lean Canvas
- Conducting market research (i.e. interviews, survey, etc.)
- Crafting great questions
- How to organize your research
- Defining your customer and identifying customer development interviewees

Week 7: Prototyping & Agile Product Development​

In this session Justin Massar, community engagement specialist, presented on prototyping and product development.

In this session, you will learn:

- Intro to MakerSpace resources
- Lean startup: How to build a prototype and MVP
- Testing prototypes/MVPS with your customer
- Build/test/review/rebuild cycle

Week 8: The Pitch

In this session Keri Damen, Executive Director of the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking presented on effective pitching.

In this session, you will learn:

-The format and content for an effective pitch deck
-The importance of storytelling

Week 14: Introduction to Financing​

In this session Keri Damen, Executive Director of the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking presented on financing options for startups.

In this session, you will learn:

- Types of funding and pros/cons of each
- When to raise what kind of funding

Week 15: Startup Law and Intellectual Property

In this session Saranjit Dhindsa and Jesse Dias of the BLG Business Venture Clinic in the Faculty of Law presented on startup law and intellectual property.

In this session, you will learn:

-Nuts and bolts of startup law including intellectual property (e.g., patents, copyrights, trademarks)

Week 16: ​Raising Money from Investors

For this week's Launchpad Live session, attendees will get to hear from a group of esteemed panel of investors including Derrick Hunter, Andrea Drager and Peter Santosham for advice for entrepreneurs seeking investment. Don't miss this opportunity to hear from different types of investors.

Week 17: Startup Panel - "How I Raised Money for my Startup"

In this Launchpad Live session, you will hear tips on how to raise money from a panel of startups. The panel includes Leigh Honeywell, CEO and Co-founder of Tall Poppy, Boris Mann, CEO of FISSION, Joshua McKenty, CEO of Delving.

Week 18 - Innovation Ecosystem

Interested in learning about the innovation ecosystem in Calgary, and what resources you have at your fingertips? Watch this Launchpad Live session to learn more about the resources and programs that exist for innovators across UCalgary and beyond. Our panel will include: Jaime Kaufman, Director, Research and Innovation, W21C Kate Skotheim, Stream Manager, Creative Destruction Lab David Yiptong, Director, Acceleration, Platform Calgary Chelsea Yu, Venture Manager, Innovate Calgary

Week 19 - Entrepreneurial Leadership - Building and Managing a Team​

In this session Keri Damen, Executive Director of the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking presented on building and managing a team. In this session, you will learn about:

- Management and leadership fundamentals

- Building your team -Governance (i.e. Boards and other advisors)

- Working with mentors and advisors

Week 20: Go-to-Market Strategy and Sales

Join us for today's Launchpad Live session on Go-to-Market Strategy and Sales, where Carey Houston, Founder and CEO of 321 Growth Academy, will speak about key sales and marketing skills and concepts needed to get your business off the ground and growing.

Week 21: Negotiation

This Launchpad Live session is all about negotiation, a key skill needed to build a venture.

Week 22: Startup Panel - How to Scale

In this session of Launchpad Live, participants will hear from a panel of startup founders on how they scaled their social or tech venture. The panel will include Leighton Healey of KnowHow, Lucas McCarthy of Showpass, Colin Szopa of Plankk, and Hannah Cree Hemphill of CMNGD (COMMONGOOD).

Frequently asked questions

Did we miss your question? Email us directly at to let us know what you're curious about, and we'll get back to you with answers.

Don't forget you can watch all previous sessions, including a program overview in Week 1, on our YouTube channel.

Everyone is welcome to attend! The sessions are open to the public, including the UCalgary community, across Alberta and beyond. Each session will be held online, so you have access no matter your location.

No - simply register once to join our mailing list, and we'll send you a weekly email with details of the next session. You will have the option to join us live or watch a recording.

Yes, you can watch all previous sessions on our YouTube channel. Recordings will be uploaded 2-3 business days after each session.

Our team is following the University of Calgary’s guidelines in exercising caution and awareness when planning Launchpad Live. The speaker series will be held entirely online.

Click here for UCalgary’s full COVID-19 response.