Three friends had an idea to revolutionize joint bracing technology. Zack Eberwein, a fourth year applied science undergrad student, Kevin Reilly, PhD and former Olympian Scott Morgan wanted to produce athletic apparel that offers joint support equivalent to a rigid brace. But they didn’t know how to turn this idea into a reality.
To help them realize their goals, they turned to the HATCH accelerator program at entrepreneurship@UBC—an Innovate BC funded program that helps entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground. Entering the program had a positive effect, says Eberwein. “This improved our path from a scrappy start-up to a venture with the tools to make our product properly,” he says.
It’s been two and a half years since they entered the program and they’ve taken their raw idea and are turning it into Stoko, a business launching in fall this year. The company is creating clothing solutions for athletes rehabilitating an injury, waiting for surgery, looking for an alternative to a bulky or expensive brace, or simply wishing to reduce the risk of injury in the first place.
Being accepted into the HATCH program was a game changer for the entrepreneurs, giving them access to a 3,000-square-foot space and expensive equipment, such as 3D printers, laser cutters, plasma cutters, water jet cutters, a full metal shop and space for an advanced knitting machine used to make textiles.
Not only that, but through the program they received access to subject matter experts and entrepreneurs in residence to help get their venture off the ground and learn what it takes to run a new business.
“It really took us from three friends working toward one big dream to three people building a company,” Eberwein says of the program. “It drastically changed our road map and how we went about solving problems and prototyping.”
Do you have a game-changing idea but don’t know how to turn it into a business?Our Venture Acceleration Program is run by 10different accelerators across the province. Don’t wait any longer to launch your idea.