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Innovation bootcamp goes global

The Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre is working with the Bader International Study Centre to bring entrepreneurship to the castle.

Study space at the BISC. (Photo by Lucy Carnaghan)
Study space at the Bader International Study Centre. Soon, budding entrepreneurs will be able to access co-working space and other resources as a new entrepreneurship program launches at the castle. (Photo by Lucy Carnaghan)

A group of Queen’s students will be taking a trip to the past this fall to prepare themselves for their future.

The Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC) is expanding its annual summer entrepreneurship bootcamp to the Bader International Study Centre (BISC) for the first time starting this year.

“It has never been more important for entrepreneurs to look beyond our borders for opportunities,” says Greg Bavington (Sc’85), Executive Director of the DDQIC. “Many Canadian undergraduate students have not had the benefit of an international experience necessary to be successful in entrepreneurship abroad. The i²TRM program is intended to give them that experience and gain a historical and international context for innovation and entrepreneurship in London, the cradle of the industrial economy.”

The i²TRM (International Innovation Term) program at the BISC is designed for upper-year students in any faculty who are looking to deepen their knowledge of entrepreneurship and eventually start their own businesses.

It is anticipated this new offering at the BISC will attract up to 20 students to the U.K. in its first year.

Students who are accepted into this pilot program will spend time in Kingston with the Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI) program in August, and kick-start their entrepreneurial ambitions at the castle in September. They will complete a one-week business bootcamp at Queen’s campus and then travel to the BISC.

To help prepare them to launch their own businesses, the students will take up to three entrepreneurship and innovation courses at the BISC. The program will launch with a one-week intensive bootcamp on main campus at the end of August, followed by travel to England where students will join Castle Orientation, then continue their bootcamp for another week. The courses will be taught over a one-week intensive period by Mr. Bavington, as well as the DDQIC’s Academic Director James McLellan and Associate Professor Sidneyeve Matrix.

"This program is ideal for students with an interest in innovation and entrepreneurship in an international context,” noted Dr. McLellan. "In addition to developing a foundation in entrepreneurship and starting their own business ventures, students will have an opportunity to visit and learn from major centres of creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship in the UK through formal and self-curated field trips. Students will also receive valuable mentoring and insights from members of the London node in DDQIC’s Global Network, who will be providing guest lectures and feedback to student ventures.”

Once they land at the castle, the students will have the balance of the term to try to launch their business. During this time, the students will be networking, taking field trips to London and other parts of the European Union, and benefit from guest lectures and mentorship from the London node of the DDQIC’s global network.

The term will conclude with a final pitch competition, with the winners receiving seed funding to give their business some additional support.

To help the new offering get off to a strong start, the BISC is looking to add co-working space and a makerspace on the castle grounds. This would offer the budding entrepreneurs more space for meetings and the resources to help build and test their product prototypes. Hugh Horton, Executive Director of the BISC, says he hopes to have these new spaces ready for the fall.

“This new offering combines cutting-edge training and skills with the strengths of our historic environment and tight-knit campus community, as well as access to Queen’s alumni network in the U.K.,” says Dr. Horton. “The entrepreneurship courses and resources will broaden the range of programming available to students and offer a unique and valuable learning experience.”

The DDQIC is planning to host an information session this spring to answer questions and attract entrepreneurial students to the program. For dates and more information, please contact innovation.centre@queensu.ca

To learn more about the i²TRM program, visit the BISC website.