Dean's Changemaker Challenge (ASCX200 & ASCX300)

By learning to start and launch an entrepreneurial venture across the two courses, ASCX 200 and ASCX 300, students are turning their ideas into reality! To conclude the new pilot initiative, the final pitch competition took place in April and LetsBloom was our big winner! 

Learn More about LetsBloom

The Ventures:

LetsBloom is a children's book series that aims to tackle the Canadian youth mental health crisis. LetsBloom's mission is to equip children with the proper tools and resources necessary to navigate their mental health in a post-COVID world.


reFRESH is an innovative app that uses a loyalty card at the grocery store to instantly download all the users purchased food right into their phone. reFRESH promotes an environmentally friendly, healthy and cost saving solution to the large food-waste problem. On our app, users will be given the best before date, expiry date as well as recipe suggestions that will use the food logged into the app. The users will then be notified when their food is going bad, and their spending and consumption habits will be tracked. reFRESH hopes to play a part in reducing food waste while also saving consumers money!

 

STEMming Change is a free enrichment program that helps students address needs in their community through hands-on learning, mentorship, and impactful projects.

 

Interested in making changes? Come see why you want to take the Dean’s Changemaker Challenge at our Pitch Competition, read about the Challenge, the courses, and our mentors below, and sign up for ASCX 200 and ASCX 300 next year!

This year, Dean Barbara Crow challenged students to make changes. The Dean’s Changemaker Challenge is a new hands-on learning opportunity for undergraduate students from across the Faculty to collaborate to make meaningful changes that will improve the environment and experience in Arts and Science.

These two courses – offered for the first time in the fall 2020 and winter of 2021 – are designed to help students create changes by starting and launching entrepreneurial ventures. Students learn to identify real-world challenges and opportunities, work collaboratively to develop solutions, and use startup business strategies to establish ventures to make the change they want to see happen. To support undergraduate’s success in the Challenge, as well as career development, students are mentored by Arts and Science alumni who are successful entrepreneurs in fields such as fashion, entertainment, journalism, social enterprises, global telecommunications, finance, employment relations, human resources, law and legal support, technology, software, sales, distribution, operations and more. These experts will support student teams as they prepare to showcase their ventures and compete for investment at the Dean’s Changemaker Challenge pitch competition and, together, they comprise an invaluable network for future careers.   

The skills  learned through the Dean’s Changemaker Challenge serve beyond  experience here at Queen’s. Students gain in-demand proficiencies including leadership, project management, and entrepreneurship.

FAS is making changes. We started by launching our first ever Strategic Plan in fall 2019 and the Dean’s Changemaker Challenges is one of the initiatives outlined in our plan. Now it is a reality and our final pitch competition took place in April 2021.  

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You will learn to apply startup business principles, concepts and frameworks to real-world situations. In addition, you will evaluate how disruptive and incremental innovations bring about changes in the market through new business models, technologies, and paradigms. Concepts will be taught through identification and discussions of real-world opportunities and problems.   

Through the first two weeks of the course, you will get to know your classmates, learn and adapt to different working styles, and develop the interpersonal communication skills needed in a successful business partnership. In the 3rd week, students will be sorted into groups based on your interests and aspirations.

As a final stage in the course, teams will pitch their ventures at the Dean’s Changemaker Challenge, a competitive event where a panel of alumni judges will award seed funding to the best venture(s).

Successful completion of this course will provide subsequent admission to ASCX 300. Space is limited to 50 students, so be sure to load this into your shopping cart and enroll as soon as possible!

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The course is dedicated to the implementation of a solution to a pre-identified problem. The topics will be immediately relevant to launching a venture, such as entrepreneurial project management, capitalizing a venture, and organizational governance. Working in the same ASCX 200 team, where students developed their first Minimum Viable Product (MVP), teams will then craft the proposed solution into a prototype and final pitch. 

By the end of the course, students can expect to have begun the implementation of a solution to a real-world problem. The course will culminate with the teams pitching their prototypes at the final Dean’s Changemaker Challenge, a competitive event where a panel of alumni judges will award seed funding to the best venture(s).

 

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Randy Ahuja
ArtSci'90
Global Senior Executive
Bloom Energy

Randy Ahuja is a global C-level leader with 25+ years’ of experience with a passion for restructuring traditional global organizations eager to successfully compete in industries facing technology disruption.  He has conducted business worldwide leading to a unique global perspective and ability to successfully manage complex international operations and multi-cultural alliance relationships.

Currently, Randy is at Bloom Energy Corporation which is a Silicon Valley based clean energy company aimed at providing reliable, distributed energy through specialized fuel cell technology.  He serves as CEO of Bloom SK Fuel Cell based in Seoul and President of Bloom Energy Japan based in Tokyo. Prior to Bloom, Randy spent 20 years in the automotive industry with diverse roles at Nissan, General Motors and Ford.  He was Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Nissan’s Global Electric Vehicle Battery Business and General Manager for the Global Corporate Strategy Group serving the Nissan CEO and Executive Committee headquartered in Japan.   At General Motors, Randy held a variety of assignments in New York and Detroit including strategic alliances, overseas finance, distressed supplier management and product development.  He started his automotive career in Canada working in Labor Relations at a Ford Motor Company vehicle assembly plant.

Randy earned an MBA from Columbia University, a Master of Industrial Relations from the University of Toronto, and a Bachelor of Science Honours degree from Queen's University.

Bruce Keith
ArtSci'91
Senior Investment Adisor, Climate Finance, Latin America and the Caribbean
International Finance Corporation

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

My mission is in designing and executing comprehensive and proactive international business and economic development strategies designed to promote financial sustainability and independence. My talents lie in creating business investment and acquisition strategies that cascade for international implementation, in addition to aligning execution with commercial integration strategies for unique markets and regions. I possess multi-industry and multi-country leadership, operations and transaction execution experience in both start-up and established corporate environments.

Resourceful and creative, I recognize opportunities and build new enterprises that produce strong bottom lines, while enacting positive social and environmental impact. I have found that nothing satisfies me more than leading by serving, as I am a believer in “doing well by doing good” by succeeding in impacting (not just bottom line) and achieving buy-in from team members to achieve a common goal.

Lauren Long
ArtSci'13
Senior Software Engineer & Technical Lead
Google San Francisco

Lauren is a Senior Software Engineer and Technical Lead at Google San Francisco. Prior to joining Google, Lauren co-founded the storage-on-demand startup Boxit, and was the first Product Manager at wearable tech company Nymi. Lauren has spoken at conferences on 4 continents about entrepreneurship and technology. In her spare time, she enjoys salsa dancing, rock climbing, and writing.

Lauren graduated from Queen's University in 2013 with a degree in Biomedical Computing, and won the Medal in Computing for highest GPA. During her time at Queen's, she was Undergraduate Student Trustee and sat on the Campus Development and Planning Committee. After graduation, she was selected to participate in the third cohort of The Next 36 - Canada's premier entrepreneurship program. As a proud ArtSci grad who is passionate about education and entrepreneurship, Lauren is very excited to mentor the Dean's Changemaker Challenge.

Scott Reynolds
ArtSci'92
Co-Founder & CEO
TangoTrade

Scott is an accomplished payments industry executive and entrepreneur. He has led the creation and launch of a range of innovative payment products for startups and F500 companies.

As a founder, Scott has created two fintech (financial technology) startups, with a successful exit to global payments leader Payoneer. He has also managed teams launching innovative products at major industry players PayPal and MasterCard.  Scott is a respected thought leader and frequent industry speaker, having spoken at events such as the PYMNTS Innovation Forum, B2B Online Annual Conference, and NamesCon Global.  

Scott lives in Silicon Valley with his artist wife and teenage twins (twice the trouble!). He considers himself a bit of a weekend warrior, playing ice hockey, going mountain biking, and playing tennis whenever he can find the time. He grew up in Toronto (eh!) and received his BA (Honours) from Queen's University in Kingston Ontario and his MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

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