Fellows and Alumni

Fellows & Alumni say it all

“In my role, I ensure that each new engineering cohort is given a world-class onboarding experience, so they are set up for long-term success. I do this by supporting their technical education while helping to foster community.

My VFC experience gave me firsthand knowledge of learning & developing as a cohort in a virtual environment. VFC also promotes an entrepreneurial culture which inspired my subsequent career choices.

Even if you're not running a business, you can always be entrepreneurial. Being an entrepreneur requires curiosity, working in the face of uncertainty, and managing with imperfect information. These skills drive innovation and will be essential for the future of Canada”

Lily Akagbosu
Lily Akagbosu
2019 Fellow
Success Specialist for RnD Discovery, Shopify

“Among the many stressors my friends and I face, perhaps the most universal is career stress. Are we in a future-proof role? Are we investing in the right skills? As the world of work evolves faster than ever, our uncertainty about the future looms larger.

Entrepreneurial skills — the skills to adapt to change and seize the opportunities change reveals — are both essential and underdeveloped in the toolkits of new graduates.

In 2021, I focused full-time on building a software startup. This endeavour continues to be a difficult one, and it's through my experience working at a startup and the support of my entrepreneurial peers that I've been able to make it this far. I can't thank VFC enough for plugging me into the Fellowship community.”

Rayhan Memon
Rayhan Memon
2019 Fellow
Founder, Prozody

“VFC accelerated my journey as an entrepreneur and provided me with some of the knowledge and tools to build Emerge's foundations.

The community of like-minded friends has inspired and supported her along the way. The Fellowship Program propels people who are interested in an entrepreneurial path forward faster, or it can help spark entrepreneurial skills in those that aren't.

Whether you end up as founders, corporate employees, public officials, or anything else is irrelevant, because in the era of remote work, freelance and gig economies, and increasingly technology-centric products and services, every Canadian need a little entrepreneurship spirit in them.

Spend time learning how to know yourself - the earlier you start building and practicing self-awareness with humility, the sooner you unleash your potential and develop an ability to adapt to a rapidly changing world. Mind map, meditate, learn, read, write - whatever you can to discover what is within yourself so you can direct who you are toward who you want to be.”

Lucia Gallardo
Lucia Gallardo
2017 Fellow
Founder & CEO, Emerge

“Convictional offers a supplier enablement platform to help retailers and marketplaces source, onboard, integrate, and transact with suppliers.

Retailers want to grow their online assortments, and expanding their assortments can be challenging for them to do so.

Convictional's recent $40 Million Series B Funding round led by YC Continuity is followed by a $6.7 million Series A in 2021 led by Lachy Groom.

After being rejected from the job I thought I was supposed to get in management consulting, I joined VFC's Fellowship and started his career at Shopify instead. I unblocked the conventional possibilities traditionally encouraged for commerce and business grads by engaging in an entrepreneurial environment.

I learned to craft the perfect cold email to land his job at Shopify, build networks through authentic connections, and support others by coaching Y Combinator founders on the art and science of enterprise sales to get to where I am now.

Getting rejected from a prestigious job ended up being one of the best things to ever happen to me. It set me on a path to learning about startups, enterprise sales, and I eventually met my co-founder. Don't fall into following what others are doing after university. Don't feel pressure based on the limited options and opportunities others pursue. Reflect on and identify your strengths and work in an environment that allows those strengths to differentiate you from others.”

Chris Grouchy
Chris Grouchy
2016 Fellow
COO & Co-Founder, Convictional