According to Shi, one of the greatest benefits of attending UBC Sauder was the hands-on experience he gained in business fundamentals and entrepreneurship. “I know a lot of potential competitors with great ideas, but they just don’t have the business acumen to get that idea into the marketplace. But when we graduated from UBC Sauder, we were able to literally hit the ground running with Univrs,” he explained.
I’ve always been an ardent follower of the gaming and technology industries, so I knew there was a definite demand for virtual reality in the Lower Mainland,” explained Shi, who just opened Vancouver’s first virtual reality gaming lounge, Univrs, with fellow UBC Sauder BCom alumnus Alexander Chua. “Consumers wanted the technology and companies were looking to deliver virtual content, but the two were somehow disconnected.
Integral to the UBC Sauder entrepreneurship specialization – of which Shi and Chua were the first graduates – is New Venture Design. The innovative yearlong course pairs commerce and engineering students and tasks them with producing a product prototype and business plan. The class not only gave Shi and Chua the ultimate inspiration for Univrs, but it also gave them the resources they needed to launch their business.
The pair were awarded the inaugural UBC Sauder BCom Class Gift, which last year chose to support ventures developed in New Venture Design. Funds for the gift were raised entirely by students and matched by the Dean’s Office. The gift allowed Shi and Chua to establish their web domains and mailing systems, to incorporate the business and connect with investors.