USask SIGMA is the only program of its kind in Canada, creating entrepreneurs ready for the real world.


SIGMA will help you learn the craft of entrepreneurship and technological innovation. It is led by Tate N. Cao, Assistant Professor, La Borde Chair in Engineering Entrepreneurship, College of Engineering, University of Saskatchewan. You will also work with our team of Executive in Residences, board members, as well as industry mentors.

USask SIGMA leverages a unique systematic approach to build the human capacity in you - the company founders.  Throughout the program, you will have opportunities to explore the viability of your proof of concept and your own commitment to an entrepreneurial career path.  You will learn the systematic approach to bring an innovation to market, and understand what different tasks an entrepreneur performs.  At the end of the program, you will be able to self-determine the bast path forward and what you may need to pursue an entrepreneurial career path.

To learn more about USask SIGMA, attend one of our Information Sessions

USask SIGMA Information Session

Information Session: April 3, 3PM - 5PM Engineering Learning Commons (Library) 

What to Expect

Bootcamp May 27 - 30, 9 am-4 pm

Three board meetings

  • Wednesday, June 19, 2024
  • Wednesday, July 24, 2024
  • Wednesday, August 14, 2024

Weekly Meetings

  • Monday afternoons 3-5 pm - Goal Settings (will be moved to Tuesdy if Monday is Stats holidays)
  • Thursday afternoons 3-5 pm - Team Updates

Field Trips and Tradeshows

  • Uniting the Prairie Tech Conference May 23
  • Ag in Motion July 17

What SIGMA offers

Peer learning and community building

This is the core of the program. Teams provide a progress report each week. Then you and your teammates will ask for help from the group, if needed. Teams often work together to help each other out.

Teams form a strong community of peer entrepreneurs who support each other during the program and beyond.

Mentorship and coaching

SIGMA will support your team with one-on-one coaching sessions and meetings with external mentors carefully matched to the needs of the student ventures.

Simulated board meetings

Once a month, your team will present your progress to an external board and get feedback in a mock board meeting session. Board members are leaders from industry.

Guest talks, seminar series and network building

Through SIGMA’s seminar series and guest speakers we will help your team expand your knowledge of entrepreneurship, technology, leadership and the nuts and bolts of the entrepreneurial journey. You’ll benefit from introductions to relevant industry experts, investors, and other entrepreneurs in the ecosystem.

Preparing to launch

Selected teams will work to further their venture by identifying their beachhead market, refining the product, and securing initial customers or partners so that they are ready to launch. 

Major Change in 2024

Based on the feedback from the previous years, we are removing the requirement for full-time participants. This will allow students to pursue entrepreneurship.


Who should apply?

SIGMA is for current USask students. This means any undergraduate or graduate students enrolled in a degree or certificate program. If you graduated in June 2023 you are considered a current student.

Ideally, you should have a team. Your team must have at least one member and no more than five. All should be founders or founder-level (owning 20 percent or more of the company).

Your team must be an early-stage venture that is solving a real-world problem using innovative solutions at the ISC Technology Readiness Level Scale of 7 or higher.

Please note SIMGA is a capstone program designed for teams who have been working on their idea-stage venture for two to six months before applying and who have shown passion and commitment for moving their ideas forward.

If you are just starting to explore entrepreneurship, take a look at our academic courses, before you apply in the future:

GE490 (Innovation Speaker Series)

GE431 (Innovation Product and Venture Creation)

GE495 (Innovation Design Capstone)

You can also check out our Technological Innovation Certificate. There are also workshops on entrepreneurship offered throughout the academic year.


SIGMA applications open between March 25 at 10:00AM CST and April 14th at 11:59pm CST.

Applications will be reviewed by a panel of faculty and industry professionals. An interview, up to an hour, may be scheduled with selected teams on a rolling basis.  Teams will be notified regarding acceptance by May 6th.  Once accepted, the teams must respond by May 13th regarding their participation in SIGMA.

For any questions, please email 

Participants are expected to attend all meetings and activities.


Executive in Residence

  • David Yee, President, Ratel Novus Consulting Inc.
  • Tom Kishcuk, Managing Director, TPK Management Consulting Inc.
  • Amit Gupta, Vice President & General Manage, Custom IC Verification Division, Siemens EDA
  • Rylan Grant, CEO, Delta Point Wireless


  • Prachi Bandivadekar, Administrative Coordinator, USask Engineering

Advisory Board Members

Faculty Members

  • Lee Swanson, Associate Professor, USask Edwards School of Business
  • Vernon Bachiu, Lecturer, USask Edwards School of Business
  • Amanda Evitts, Lecturer, USask Edwards School of Business
  • Joel Frey, Assistant Professor, USask Engineering
  • Helen Power, Assistant Librarian, USask Engineering
  • Chris Bowman, Technology Transfer Manager, USask Research Excellence and Innovation
  • Jeanie Willis, Seaman Chair in Professional Communications & Assistant Professor, College of Engineering, University of Saskatchewan
  • Stephanie Yong, Lecturer, USask Edwards School of Business

Industry Mentors

  • Deven Dave, Executive Director, M Young Centre of Entrepreneurship & Venture Capital
  • Alisha Esmail, Founder & CEO, Road Coffee
  • Aaron Genest, Applications Engineer Manager, Siemens Software
  • Joseph A. Gill, Startup Lawyer, Partner, McKercher LLP
  • Derek Hoffman, Lawyer, Strategic Advisor, Founder, Hoffman Group
  • Dallas Price, Programs & Marketing Lead, Co.Labs / Co-Founder, Leo Prestte agency
  • Leejay Schmidt, iOS Developer, Facebook
  • Mike Stefaniuk, Director, Business Development (IoT and Digital Transformation), SaskTel
  • Jeff Thackeray, Director, Market Intelligence, Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership
  • John Visser, Senior Consultant, SR & ED tax credit, MNP

Partner Organizations

Prairies Economic Development Canada

Innovation Saskatchewan

Student Stories

SIGMA 2023 playlist:

SIGMA 2021 playlist:


Tate Cao accepting the "Outstanding Initiative Award" at the 2021 STIC awards

SIGMA won the Outstanding Initiative Award at the 2021 Science, Technology, Innovation and Collaboration (STIC) Awards in December 2021. The STIC awards, hosted by the Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority (SREDA), celebrate the people, projects and products leading science and tech in the city. 

"We believe that in the community we can support the development of knowledge, passion and skills as our students take action to be the engineers the world needs," said SIGMA founder Tate Cao as he accepted the award.