SFU’s 4D LABS presents workshop series that equips students and community members with job-ready skills

In spring 2019, Simon Fraser University’s 4D LABS presented a series of interactive workshops called Beyond the Bench Bootcamp. The workshops equipped students and members from the entrepreneur and innovation community with practical skills and knowledge in a variety of topics that made them more job-ready, and provided insight into what it takes to start a company. Experts—which included intellectual property lawyers, marketing professionals and industry leaders—covered topics ranging from finance and investment, innovation management, intellectual property, project management and product development, start-ups, as well as marketing and communications. Attendees heard personal stories of success, failure and the important lessons learned along the way.

"The seven week long Beyond the Bench Bootcamp series gave me a succinct opportunity to learn how to commercialize innovations and what it takes to start a successful company,” says Scott Pownall, President and Co-founder, Open Science Network Society. “The highly interactive program focused on key areas of starting a company, innovation management, options in protecting intellectual property, financing and investment, project management, product development and finally marketing and communications. In this series, I met and learned a lot from successful entrepreneurs, angel and venture financiers, patent attorneys and specialists in marketing and communications.” 

SFU is committed to engaging students and communities. One of the many ways we achieve this vision is by providing the opportunity for community members to participate in learning opportunities outside an academic classroom. SFU goes beyond the traditional classroom to bridge the gap between the university and industry by providing opportunities for students and community members to get involved with the university’s network of researchers and innovation leaders. 

“I really enjoyed the opportunity to meet with the entrepreneurs of the future and share with them my experiences in setting up my own technology company,” expresses Mike Sexsmith, General Manager of OverDrive Fuel Cell Engineering Inc., who hosted a bootcamp and shared his story of success. “SFU’s 4D LABS is a big enabler that helped me get traction as a new company and I hope that the bootcamp students learned that there is a community of people out there who can help them take risks. The goal for the series of bootcamps was for attendees to not only walk away with new skills and knowledge, but also inspire an entrepreneurial spirit.”

Though the spring 2019 Beyond the Bench Bootcamp series is over, 4D LABS will offer a new series of bootcamps for those in the field of materials science and engineering, and life and health sciences in winter 2020. 


4D LABS is an open-access core facility for fabricating, prototyping and characterizing. The facility provides solutions to academic and industry clients that use the lab to solve material challenges and develop products. 4D LABS has a vast network of industry professionals. Many of these professionals were hosts of the spring Beyond the Bench Bootcamp series. Learn more about 4DLABS at www.4dlabs.com