An employer talking to an MBA student

Community Partners

Thank you to our employers who have participated in the VIERI Mitacs initiative.

Submissions are now closed.

Together with Mitacs and Coast Capital, we have funded 24 internship opportunities from July 2020-January 2021 that have supported businesses across Nanaimo, the Island, and Canada.

In partnership with Mitacs Business Strategy Internship Program, VIU is proud to launch the Vancouver Island Economic Resiliency Initiative (VI ERI).

Students in VIU’s Master of Business Administration are ready to support businesses and organizations as they design, develop and implement recovery plans. In return, businesses and organizations engage students in vital work that enriches their education and their role as critical members of our regional labour market.

Organizations are invited to submit their business challenge or opportunity to the MBA Internship Team using the BSI Challenge/Opportunity submission form provided below, to be a part of VI ERI for the four month internship starting in July, September or November 2020 or January 2021.

Funding opportunities for VI ERI will be limited to the following:

July to October Internships - 4 funded positions

September to December Internships - 12 funded positions

November to February Internships - 4 Funded positions

January to April Internships - 4 Funded positions

With the generous support of community investors, VIU may reach its goal of funding 90 internships.

Deadline for January Internship challenge/opportunity submissions: October 23, 2020 at 4PM

Program Information

Partner Organizations:

  • Gain strategic resource for 4 months
  • Leverage experience and expertise of second year VIU MBA student
  • Improve capacity to solve current challenges and/or pivot the business model

Engaging in VI ERI will produce a range of outcomes for participating organizations.

  1. Create of a solution to your organizational challenges brought about by the current Covid 19 crisis.
  2. Provide a global perspective, with the majority of students being multilingual and international. VIU MBA candidates offer your organization an innovative approach and global perspective grounded in solid work experience on the world stage.
  3. Access current knowledge and application of best practices in finance, marketing, management and economics.
  4. Provide an opportunity to evaluate the fit of the candidate for your organization as a potential long-term employee before committing.
  5. Build and strengthen connections and collaborations between organizations and academic institutions.

Early Summer 2020 - Invitation to Participate

The MBA Internship team will accept submissions of challenges or opportunities from the local and regional business community via the BSI Challenge/Opportunity submission form provided below.  Submissions will be reviewed using the following criteria:

  • Benefit to the student: Is there potential benefit to the student by participating in the project with regards to skills development or new career opportunities?
  • Development of new skills and knowledge: Is the proposal tied to new skills development for the student?
  • Project design and rationale: Is the project clearly outlined? Are the project activities clearly articulated and reasonable for the time frame specified?
  • Project significance and impact:  Are the planned activities and final deliverables clearly linked to company needs? 
  • Interaction and final deliverable: Are the interactions with organization supervisor clearly articulated and appropriate? Are the final deliverables and the potential for the utility of this project beyond the project term clearly explained?

Following this period, VIU will undertake a review of the submitted challenges/opportunities to check for eligibility, completeness, and project quality.

Deadline for Janaury Internship challenge/opportunity submissions: October 23, 2020 at 4PM

Successful organizations will be advised of acceptance and their challenges/opportunities will be posted on VIU's online MBA Opportunity posting board for students to review and apply.

October 2020 - December 2020 - Application and Selection Process

VIU MBA students will review the submitted challenges/opportunities and will create an internship proposal application package for submission to the MBA Internship team via CareerVIU.

The MBA Internship team will screen, select and approve submission finalists and will forward selected applicants to posting organizations. The team will also host a Zoom Q&A session to build student awareness of the opportunities, process and requirements for applying.

Organizations will interview and select an intern and notify the MBA Internship team of their selection.

The MBA Internship team will assign an academic supervisor to each intern to support them before and during the internship.

Organizations must submit their completed BSI challenge/opportunity three weeks before the start of their internship. If you have a more urgent need, please contact Cynthia Lange at

January-April 2021

Students fulfill the terms of their internship according to the VIU MBA Internship Program requirements.

Partner organizations: guidance and mentorship

The partner organization is responsible for:
  • Providing $2,500 in funding to contribute to the student stipend
  • Submitting of a completed BSI Challenge/Opportunity submission form
  • Working with the student to develop the BSI Internship Proposal for submission to Mitacs
  • Completing a VIU MBA Work Term Agreement
  • Meeting with the academic supervisor prior to hiring process commencement
  • Registering in Mitacs online program portal
  • Meeting(online/phone) with the intern and academic supervisor for a mid-point assessment
  • Completing an employer final evaluation in CareerVIU
  • Completing the Mitacs exit survey following completion of the project

Academic institutions: partner in program administration and program delivery

The partner academic institution is responsible for promoting the ERI program to its students and faculty and providing the appropriate documentation and information to interested applicants.

The academic institution is responsible for:
  • Providing $2,500 in funding to contribute to the student stipend
  • Promoting of the program to community partners
  • Disbursing of student stipend

Students: leaders of the project

The student is responsible for:
  • Designing a 16-week strategic analysis project proposal in collaboration with the partner organization
  • Identifying an academic supervisor to oversee the project
  • Registering on the Mitacs online program portal
  • Submitting a Work Term Record and all required documents in CareerVIU
  • Arranging an online mid-point assessment with the mentor and academic supervisor
  • Completing an exit survey and a final report outlining their project experience

Academic supervisors: oversight and support

The academic supervisor is responsible for:
  • Contacting designated organizational mentor to discuss VIU MBA internship remote work requirements and policies prior to project commencement
  • Signing off on the student project (Work Term Record)
  • Registering on the Mitacs online program portal
  • Meeting (online) with the designated mentor and student to complete a mid-point assessment
  • Supervising of student progress throughout the internship period
  • Assisting/addressing any concerns/questions from the organization during the internship
  • Completing the Mitacs exit survey following completion of the project

Mitacs: program design and evaluation

Mitacs oversees the design, delivery, and monitoring of the BSI program.

Mitacs is responsible for:
  • Invoicing the participating organizations for their financial contribution to the project
  • Releasing funding to the academic institution to be used for a student stipend
  • Developing program delivery templates and tools for academic institution use
  • Reviewing academic institution approved applications for eligibility and completeness
  • Performing quality audits on a random sample of approved student project proposals to ensure compliance with program criteria

Mitacs will contribute $5000, partner organizations will contribute $2,500 and the academic institution will contribute $2,500 for a total award of $10,000, to be used for a student stipend.

Projects will be submitted to the academic institution and reviewed and approved by the institution prior to submission to Mitacs. The approved projects will be reviewed by Mitacs to confirm eligibility for funding

Upon review and approval, Mitacs releases an outcome letter to participants and invoices organization partner. Once payment is received, Mitacs releases funding in the amount of $10,000 for each approved project to the academic institution as a grant. The academic institution will then be responsible for releasing the funds to the student.

In order to be eligible to participate in the initiative:

Partner organizations must:

  • Be a small to mid-sized Canadian organization with less than 500 full-time employees
  • Be a not-for-profit organization with less than 500 full-time employees
  • Provide $2,500 in funding to contribute to the student stipend
  • Submit a completed BSI Challenge/Opportunity submission form
  • Work with the intern to develop an internship proposal that responds to the challenge/opportunity as outlined in the organization's submission
  • Designate a mentor for the student who will complete the VIU Internship Work Term Agreement
  • Participate in an online mid-point visit with the academic supervisor and complete an online final evaluation of the intern
  • Complete the Mitacs exit survey following completion of the project

Students must:

  • Be a registered MBA graduate student at Vancouver Island University
  • Not be an active participant in another Mitacs program, or their current program must be on hold
  • Submit a Work Term Record in the VIU CareerVIU portal that meets all MBA Internship Program requirements

Academic supervisors must:

  • Be eligible to hold Tri-Council funding
  • Be available for virtual or in-person meetings over the summer term and into the fall, where applicable

Academic institution must:

  • Have a signed Mitacs funding agreement 
  • Be a Full, Associate, or Honourary Member

Who can I contact for assistance with participating in the initiative?

Cynthia Lange - Community Engagement Faculty | MBA Internship Program

Who can I contact to discuss a tax-deductible donation to the initiative?

William Litchfield - AVP, University Relations | Chief Advancement Officer


When should the internship/project start?

Mitacs needs to receive funds from the partner organization and students may start working on their internship/project following the receipt of their award letter.

Is it possible to have multiple students per proposal?

Each student should submit their own proposal. Academic supervisors can oversee more than one project as their schedule allows.

Can academic supervisors supervise more than one project?

Yes, a supervisor is able to manage multiple internships.

Can students do this program part-time?

No, the internship must be completed within a 4-months (16 weeks) time period and must be a minimum of 35 hours per week.


The Economic Resiliency Initiative is made possible thanks to the Government of Canada and supporting government offices. A special thank you goes out to VIU and Mitacs for their input and support.

BSI Challenge/Opportunity Submission From

Please use the document provided here to submit your organizational challenge/opportunity to the VI ERI team for consideration of participation in the Mitacs BSI program.

Once complete, submissions should be emailed to

Deadline for November internship challenge/opportunity submissions: September 25, 2020.

Submissions for January internship semesters may be submitted at any time prior to deadlines which will be announced shortly.

Mitacs BSI Participant Toolkit

VI ERI/Mitacs Process Checklist

This checklist will help employers keep track of the VI ERI process and required steps and actions.