Tim Ellis

Honorary Doctor of Science

Citation delivered by Ms Elizabeth Eastland, Chief Executive Officer of iAccelerate and Director of Innovation and Commercial Research at the University of Wollongong on the occasion of the admission of James Timothy Ellis as a Doctor of Science (honoris causa) on 18 December 2014.


Chancellor, I present Tim Ellis.

Bill Gates has said that ‘as we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others’. Tim Ellis is an agent of change; a leader whose actions have supported, and continue to support, individuals and companies to grow, prosper and contribute in their
communities. Tim is proof that the qualifications you achieve early on in your life do not restrict you to a particular path for the rest of your life, rather, that reinvention, continual personal
development and the ability to respond to a changing environment can also be powerful tools in opening up a world of opportunity.

Born in Kincardine, in the province of Ontario, Canada, Tim originally qualified in 1988 as an Automotive Technician. In much the same sense that Wollongong’s economy is transitioning from a traditionally heavy-industry based town and repositioning itself, Tim repositioned himself from an automotive business owner and entrepreneur to a technology entrepreneur. In 1994, Tim started work in the software industry, acquiring the skills and knowledge to co-found a software/hardware start-up. In the twenty years since that time, Tim has gone on to be lauded as a respected leader and mentor, an industry veteran, seasoned innovator and entrepreneur; participating in more than half a dozen start-up ventures.

From 2007 to 2012, Tim was the Chief Operating Officer and, from 2012 to early 2014, Chief Executive Officer of the highly successful Accelerator Centre in Waterloo, Canada. The award winning Accelerator Centre provides a platform for inventors, helping them develop their ideas and products into a commercially viable form via coaching and mentoring, expert advice and links to vital partners. During Tim’s leadership, and since inception in 2006, the Waterloo Accelerator Centre has seen 1,006 new direct jobs created by Accelerator Centre client companies, who have also raised CAD$157 million in investment funding and reported revenues of CAD$90 million.

Until recently, Tim was the President of the Canadian Association of Business Incubation, dedicated to supporting the growth of new and early-stage businesses. Tim’s entrepreneurial nous is being explored further in his current role as CEO of Cadence Venture Partners, an investment company investing in technology companies. Tim also provides his expertise to other organisations; serving as the President on the Board of Directors of the Waterloo Region
Foodbank and on the Board of the Creative Enterprise Initiative.

Tim’s association with the University of Wollongong began in 2010, and since then he has openly and generously shared the extensive experience he has gained through participating in, and now shaping, Canada’s innovation ecosystem. Tim’s expertise and experience has proved invaluable to UOW’s Innovation and Commercial Research team and iAccelerate, driving dramatic regional change.

Tim has travelled a great distance to be here today and although he cannot be joined by everyone in his family, we are sure that they too share our great pride in his achievements and are as delighted as we are to celebrate his tenacity, generosity and commitment to creating meaningful change. Tim’s journey shows all of us how important perseverance and resilience are, and we cannot wait to see what else this inspiring man will go on to achieve.

Chancellor, for his selfless service to the University of Wollongong and significant contribution to business and innovation in Australia and Canada, it is my privilege to present Tim Ellis for a Doctor of Science, honoris causa.