Hub Spotlight: SpruceLab

Posted on Tuesday, July 20th, 2021

Written by The John F. Wood Centre For Business and Student Enterprise

Founded by Sheila Boudreau, SpruceLab is a Toronto planning and landscape architecture social enterprise that focuses on nature-based solutions for vibrant and resilient communities, and to support Indigenous-led initiatives and emerging professionals. Building on over 25 years of professional experience in the private and public sectors, they connect with others to form strategic and unique collaborations for place-based work, grounded in caring for the land, waters, and all creatures.

We sat down with SpruceLab to get the inside scoop on how they started their business and what they hope to get out of the Hub Incubator Program.

How did you come up with SpruceLab?

After over 25 years of experience in the Landscape Architecture and Planning sectors (both private and public), Sheila noticed need for more innovative, community-involved and nature-focused design processes that include Indigenous voices.  

What motivated you to take the next step and apply to the Hub?

The desire to expand and grow as more clients and interest came for SpruceLab; taking this startup consulting firm to the next level required mentorship and guidance for the business aspects.

What do you hope to get out of the Hub?

We hope to gain business skills, advice on marketing and business development strategies, and accountability for advancing the business. 

Do you have any advice for someone with a business idea in mind, but are not sure what to do next?

Ask yourself: does your business idea solve a problem in the world, and does it align with your values and passions? If it's a resounding YES for all of these, filling out the Hub application (including a business model canvas and value proposition) is a great exercise.    

To learn more about SpruceLab, check out their website

Sheila Boudreau

Cat Sobotta

Housed within the John F. Wood Centre for Business & Student Enterprise (Wood Centre), the Hub is a business incubator designed to support early-stage business ideas with high-potential, but unproven business models. The goal of the Hub is to provide University of Guelph students (undergraduate and graduate) and alumni the opportunity to build a successful business enterprise in a supportive learning environment.

The Hub has a tiered program that ensures a good mix of start-up companies at varying stages of growth. “Hub Start” is for ventures still getting their idea off the ground. These ventures typically have a great team and a great idea, but still have not demonstrated product-market fit with traction. “Hub Build” is for ventures with traction looking to refine their business model and/or scale.


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