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Waterloo Quality

VeloCity turns ideas into business

VeloCity students live in residence and work in teams, collaborating to bring their bright ideas to market. Photo: Light Imaging

Ive always had the entrepreneurial drive in me, but VeloCity opened my eyes to what is actually possible.

When Rezart Bajraktari graduates, the fourth-year accounting and finance student wants to avoid pounding the pavement for a job. Instead, he plans to be on the other side of the desk — hiring his first employees.

Rezart is an original VeloCity student and one of three co-founders of Giftah, a company that buys and sells discounted gift cards. Without VeloCity, Waterloo’s “dormcubator” that helps entrepreneurial students launch technology and media companies, Rezart is sure his company wouldn’t be where it is today. For four terms he’s lived, worked, studied, and whipped up his morning meals with other VeloCity students, giving new meaning to the term “breakfast meeting.”

“I’ve always had the entrepreneurial drive in me, but VeloCity opened my eyes to what is actually possible,” says Rezart, who met Nick Belyaev and Henry Finn, his co-founders at VeloCity. Today, the trio receives thousands of dollars worth of gift cards each week.

With that kind of growth, the young company is turning financial heads. It recently won $50,000 worth of financing from the Canadian Youth Business Foundation and is currently speaking to angel investors. Finding out about the opportunities never would have happened without VeloCity staff pointing the way, says Rezart.

Now the company is ready to set down roots in the new Hub in downtown Kitchener. In fact, VeloCity will open about 1,100 square feet of office space in the new incubator facility developed by Communitech and the Accelerator Centre. Its space will be earmarked for high-potential VeloCity startups and Waterloo grads working on budding startup companies.

“We had to figure out a way to support the teams who are ready to take the next step, and the Hub was the perfect fit,” says Sean Van Koughnett, VeloCity’s director.

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