Amplify Your Product or Service

Consider a problem in your community, or your day-to-day life:

  • Are you or others in need of a particular resource?
  • Is there a product that may help you or people like you to overcome a pressing issue?
  • Or is there a service that could greatly assist you or others, but that just doesn’t exist yet?

Do you have an idea to address an issue, or have you ever wanted to develop your own business? Maybe there’s a role you’d like to fulfill, but you don’t know how to get paid to do it.

If you’ve ever considered any of these questions, then Amplify Your Product or Service is for you.

If you are passionate about a project but aren’t quite sure how it fits into your academic resume, then Amplify Your Product or Service is for you. It offers a supporting community in which you can expand and articulate your para-academic interests and build your own unique perspective on what post-secondary can offer more generally.  – Brent Stewart, Winter 2021 participant

What Is It?

Amplify Your Product or Service is a workshop series created by the Arts Amplifier and entrepreneurship@UBC and is facilitated by e@UBC in order to make entrepreneurship more accessible to Arts graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Over a series of workshops (January-April semester) and one-on-one mentorship  meetings (May-August semester), you will develop the skills to translate your interests into a profitable initiative.

Running your own business can allow you to align your work with your personal and political values, to be compensated for your labour, and to engage in creative pursuits.

And for Faculty of Arts grad students and postdocs who complete the training, we’ll give you $500 that you can put towards start-up costs like registering your business or setting up a website.

Previous Participants’ Stories

Sharon Engbrecht

“Your Friendly Neighbourhood Prof”: An Open Educational Resource

Matthew Smithdeal and Lily Ivanova

“The Graduate Project”: A mental health consultancy for graduate programs

What Will I Learn?


Come to Amplify Your Product or Service with an idea, a goal, or a project, and our training will guide you through the production steps, from product conception to prototyping. Along the way you will learn techniques and acquire entrepreneurial tools that aren’t usually accessible in Arts graduate programs.

Over the Winter 2023 semester, you’ll attend three synchronous workshops that will allow you to learn a variety of skills and techniques to develop your own business:

  • Workshop 1 is all about developing your concept, translating those ideas into reality, and discovering potential clients and customer bases. You will learn to develop and utilize a value proposition canvas, map potential stakeholders based on their roles, and develop customer discovery skills.
  • Workshop 2 will be focused on articulating your idea by creating positioning statements that clarify your innovation and value proposition. You’ll learn how to map the marketplace and distinguish your product or service from available alternatives.
  • Workshop 3 focuses on fueling your idea: exploring revenue options, considering funding models, and determining how—or if!—you’ll generate income from your work.
  • The presentation workshop prepares you to speak about your product or service in the capstone presentation meeting.
  • The final, capstone presentation meeting is your pitch: you’ll share your idea with Arts faculty, alumni, entrepreneurs, and members of the community, and will receive one-on-one guidance from mentors in values-based business and social-profit enterprise development.


You are in charge. The ‘Amplify Your Product’ program is all about considering, refining, evangelizing, and implementing your ideas—so take advantage of all the resources offered—these exploration opportunities are slim after graduation!

We learned to think more clearly about who our target audience is (i.e., a narrow niche), we learned new skills for improving scripts for the course (which will also help for academic presentations), we learned that it is good to present your idea to people that are not experts in the field as their feedback is invaluable; and we learned so much more. – Amelia Cole, Winter 2021 participant


Entrepreneurship Against Neoliberalism

As graduate student in the Arts, participants in Amplify Your Product or Service are often skeptical of entrepreneurship, given concerns about bringing exploitative or nonsustainable practices into their work. Here’s Winter 2021 Amplify Your Product or Service participants Matthew Smithdeal and Lily Ivanova speaking with UBC Professor Joel Bakan about the problems of neoliberal approaches to university research and academic work:

Bringing entrepreneurship into graduate studies in the social sciences, humanities, and fine arts doesn’t have to mean reducing critical inquiry into an instrument of capitalism, or turning scholars into cogs in a machine.

If you’d like to start up a not-for-profit, social-profit, workers co-operative, or community contribution company, Amplify Your Product or Service can help you to ensure that your work serves goals beyond maximizing profit.



There are so many ways to put our educations to use, and Amplify Your Product or Service gives us the tools to make it a reality! – Sharon Engbrecht, Winter 2021 participant