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Global entrepreneurship network expands to Shanghai

The Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre’s Global Network program helps budding entrepreneurs find their feet in the economic capitals of the world.

Greg Bavington, Executive Director of the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre, presents in Shanghai. (Supplied Photo)

Freshly minted Queen’s entrepreneurs looking to get their start in Asia now have some additional support.

The Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC)’s Global Network, a group of alumni and senior business leaders around the world, has added a network node in Shanghai. The node marks the fifth link in the Global Network, and the first in Asia.

“A node in Shanghai is the next logical step for us, and will be a boost to our ability to support entrepreneurship and innovation activities at Queen’s and beyond,” says Greg Bavington (Sc’85), Executive Director of the DDQIC. “Our growing network will help entrepreneurs emerging from our program solidify their manufacturing strategy and tap into one of the world’s largest markets.”

Joining Queen’s in Shanghai for the announcement of the node was Iris Technologies, a startup launched by Colin Harding (Com’17) and Conor Ross (Sc’16). The company is focused on solving the problem those with a concussion, migraine, or eyestrain often have when using computers. The company is in the midst of implementing a manufacturing strategy for the region.

“As a technology company looking to grow sales and expand its manufacturing capabilities, doing business in Asia is almost a necessity,” says Mr. Ross. “It is my hope that this Global Network node will help hardware startups tackle their biggest challenge – bringing a high-quality product to market – and to achieve this faster and with better products. We are grateful for the support of the DDQIC team and their efforts to support entrepreneurs like us.”

The Queen’s China Liaison Office, located in Shanghai, and the department of Alumni Relations are supporting the recruitment of the first volunteer members of this new node. The China Liaison office was founded in 2007 and its existence underscores the importance of the country to Queen’s global ambitions, says Associate Vice-Principal (International) Kathy O’Brien.

“Building relationships in China is a priority for Queen’s,” says Ms. O’Brien. “The university sent 47 students on exchanges to China in 2016-2017, and has almost 300 identified alumni in mainland China. The Shanghai node of the Global Network is an exciting opportunity to engage our strong and committed Queen’s alumni community in building Queen’s-China connections, and to leverage and recognize their talents by making them an integral partner to what we are doing.”

The DDQIC, Alumni Relations, and Office of the Associate Vice-Principal (International) are seeking Shanghai-based alumni, business leaders, and other supporters who are willing to volunteer their time advising and assisting Queen’s student entrepreneurs. In addition to supporting alumni entrepreneurs as they seek to build connections globally, the network also helps review the pitches of student entrepreneurs who are a part of the Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative program.

Those interested in participating in the Global Network program or learning more about it should visit the DDQIC’s website.