Startups at the University of Waterloo’s VeloCity Garage will have a new “skip” around town to look up to, as life-long entrepreneur and BitBakery CEO Wes Worsfold has been named its new “coach”.
Worsfold is a graduate of University of Waterloo, and instructor of entrepreneurship at Conestoga College and a past board member of the Greater Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber of Commerce. His career in tech has spanned a number of sectors, including automotive, financial services, education, government, insurance, social entrepreneurship, and not-for–profits.
He has built apps and solutions for notables like autoTrader, Equitable Life, ING Direct, Yellow Pages, the WWE and a number of startups. He has run several student and youth venture capital programs complete with coaching and training. He has even founded and operated several technology companies of his own in Kitchener-Waterloo, including his latest startup, BitBakery.
VeloCity asked the new coach a few questions, and we’ve added some of the highlights here.
What brought you to Velocity?
I really enjoy working with developing teams by removing barriers and empowering them to create and commercialize great products. I have mentored startup tech businesses in the Velocity program prior to this role, and acted as a coach to social purpose enterprises for Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Future Fund.
What makes you and Velocity such a great fit?
Essentially, this is a dream role for me. It combines my experience with running my own software companies (currently BitBakery), my community work, and start up funds I have started. I like helping sustain and coach startups, developing funding, and putting programs in place for entrepreneurs. I have also taught entrepreneurship education at a post grad level at Conestoga College, so I’ve done this before.
Again, to me this is just natural. Have you ever begun a job going “Oh, I have a lot to learn.” In comparison, to me this role is just normal. I’m still continuously learning, but it’s all in the same domain, and I’ve been in these startups’ shoes before.
What is your earliest experience as an entrepreneur?
I started my first business at the age of six. I talked my father into letting me use two acres to grow strawberries and cucumbers. The first year I planted, grew and picked the berries and cucumbers myself along with my brother. I’d go to Toronto with my Dad where he worked and sell strawberries to his co-workers and by going door-to-door around East York. I sold the cucumbers to Bick’s and Will’s Pickles in the Holland Marsh to be processed for relishes.
At the end of the summer, I was able to purchase an amazing bike. The next year, I hired my friends to help. I paid them in cash, ice cream, and the use of my amazing bike. By the end of the second year, I achieved my goal of buying my first motocross motorcycle. I think this experience, as a youngster is when I caught the entrepreneurial bug.
What are you enjoying most about the Velocity community?
The Velocity teams are enthusiastic, passionate and dedicated to making their companies successful. The degree of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit in the Garage is contagious. I am really enjoying working with such a diverse group of software companies.