Brock entrepreneurs gaining business insight from local ‘xperts’

Drew MacNeil (BBA ’19) and Evan Sitler-Bates’ journey has come full circle.

It wasn’t long ago that the pair were active members of Brock’s entrepreneurial community as students, and now, as business owners, they’ve returned to offer their expertise to the next generation.

MacNeil and Sitler-Bates have joined the University’s innovation and entrepreneurship centre as the Brock LINC Entrepreneurs in Residence for 2023.

In the role, they will help to coach student entrepreneurs, researchers and community startups in the ideation, discovery and early launch phases of entrepreneurship, building trust and confidence with founders, helping them on their learning journey and providing tangible feedback on their ideas and existing business.

They will also help founders to work through their goals and milestones, and offer guidance and connections to programs, resources and mentors.

Sitler-Bates and MacNeil met in Brock’s Kick-Starting Entrepreneurship program. Their friendship quickly evolved into a business relationship, which saw them partner to co-found the e-learning and virtual reality consulting firm XpertVR.

After completing Kick-Starting Entrepreneurship in 2016, XpertVR went on to win Brock’s Monster Pitch competition in 2019. Through the years, the company worked with several incubator and accelerator programs.

XpertVR, which recently marked its fifth anniversary, has grown its team over time to 15 employees.

“Having been students ourselves, we can relate to the tough balance between school, social and business life,” says Sitler-Bates. “We’re in a unique position to help the next generation of entrepreneurial students at Brock.”

MacNeil adds the two “know how crucial it is to have someone who can guide you through those challenges or at least listen to and understand what you’re going through.”

“We really benefitted from mentorship when we were starting our business at Brock,” he said. “It’s nice to be able to be on the other side and support students in such a relevant and meaningful way.”

Sitler-Bates and MacNeil are available to students and entrepreneurs at set times each week.

Participants in Kick-Starting Entrepreneurship, NAVIGATE, the LINCubator and Entrepreneurship Co-op will experience coaching from the pair as part of those programs. Others who are not part of a formal program can set up time with Sitler-Bates and MacNeil by becoming a Brock LINC member.

To learn more, email Cassie Conte, Brock LINC Program Manager, at or visit the Brock LINC website.

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