Queen's Innovation Centre

Dunin-Deshpande Queen's Innovation Centre
Dunin-Deshpande Queen's Innovation Centre

8 Students Invited to India for Social Entrepreneurship Symposium

DDQIC is attending the Development Dialogue Conference in Hubli, India

January 24, 2018  | By Chloe Beisheim

Florian Ntibarigobeka was shocked to hear he would be attending an all-expenses-paid trip to India.

“I started clapping my hands and jumping at the same time. An opportunity like this doesn't come around too often.”

Thanks to a partnership with the Deshpande Foundation, and at the invitation of its founder Gururaj Deshpande, for the second year in a row DDQIC is sending a delegation of 3 speakers and 8 students to the Development Dialogue Conference in Hubli, India. It is India’s largest social entrepreneurship ecosystem conference with over 400 delegates and 50 speakers hosted at the Deshpande Centre for Social Entrepreneurship.

Embarking on January 29th, the group will spend a week touring social innovation projects of NGOs and start-ups in the region, networking with global leaders in social entrepreneurship, and participating in panels on this year’s theme, Collaborating for Big Bets.

“I am interested in the different initiatives going on in that part of India specifically, and how social innovation contributes greatly to their economy and way of living,” said Florian.

Many of the students were surprised at the offer, but it is no surprise why they were selected for this rare opportunity. Each of them has already demonstrated a zeal for social innovation at Queen’s University by leading conferences, founding start-ups, and doing research.

The 2018 delegation consists of Jacob Riha, Director of Queen’s Sustainability Conference, and Sarah Martin and Galvin Niu, who have both led the Queen’s Global Innovation Conference. The delegation’s budding entrepreneurs include Florian, whose health sector venture Dream Again aims to create custom-fitting CPAP masks; Karina Bland, whose venture Kool Cube aims to provide temperature-controlled transportation of life-saving vaccinations in African countries; Austin Geddes, founder of Illumirate, a portable alternative to pressurized canisters that provide oxygen for uses in health and recreation; and Emily Lowe, founder of Lowegistics Agriculture, a company that leverages data and packaging solutions to lower the cost of transporting food globally. Stephanie Wright was invited for her work with the Beaty Water Research Centre that leads local initiatives to study water governance, sustainability, and protection.

“I was struck by how transformative the experience was for the cohort who went in 2017,” notes Jim McLellan, Academic Director of DDQIC, who will be going to India for the first time this year with the delegation, and who will be joining Executive Director Greg Bavington in speaking at the conference. “The opportunity to interact with leaders in social entrepreneurship from around the world, and to see firsthand impressive projects that are improving the lives of large numbers of people, will be both inspiring, and grounding in the power of what is possible for young social entrepreneurs.”

As India grows its reputation as a social innovation hub, the conference will continue to be an important linkage between India and Queen’s University for transferring knowledge and insights that can be employed toward social innovation in Canada.