Queen's entrepreneurs earn spots in elite business program
Three Queen’s students have been selected to participate in The Next 36 and will receive scholarships for the program valued at $25,000. The students competed in a rigorous weekend of interviews with some of Canada’s top executives to secure their spot.
The Next 36 is aimed at helping launch the careers of the country’s most promising and innovative undergraduates. 64 students from across the country competed for a spot in the elite group.
“It was the most emotionally and mentally taxing experience of my life – but it was worth every minute,” student Dan McCann (Commerce) says of the interview process. “You had to be concise, you had to be genuine, and you had to give it everything you had.”
Mr. McCann is the founder of Dog on Geese (D-O-G), a company that uses trained border collies to rid golf courses, airports and other places of Canada Geese in a way that is safe and won’t hurt the environment. The students were interviewed by top executives including Nadir Mohamed, president and CEO of Rogers Communications, and Tim Hodgson, special advisor to the Bank of Canada and the former CEO of Goldman Sachs Canada.
“It was the best experience of my life,” says Michael Schmidt (Engineering), an entrepreneur who was involved in developing the world’s first hybrid fuel-cell power station at Enbridge Inc and is in the process of starting up a scrap metal and recycling business.“You were on your toes the entire weekend, pretty much. My heart didn’t stop thumping the entire time.”
Members of The Next 36 have already been grouped into teams of four and will spend the next eight months developing a mobile application for hand held devices; each team will receive $50,000 in seed capital to fund its venture. The students will spend next summer in Toronto learning the ins and outs of entrepreneurship from some of the top CEOs, professors and business mentors in the country.
“We’ll all get to live together and hopefully keep bouncing ideas off of each other all summer,” says Emily Dymitosh (Commerce), the founder of Practically Green Solutions, a sustainability consulting firm that helps small to medium-sized businesses streamline their business practices in a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly way.
The groups will pitch their mobile applications to a panel of executives next August and try to strike deals that could be very profitable.