Experience Ventures

Experience Ventures

Become a changemaker

The Experience Ventures program is back for students for another year! 

Interested in getting a head-start in your career? Experience Ventures creates paid entrepreneurial thinking placements with innovative companies in Canada. The program aims to inspire your creativity, resiliency, and future vision—so you can shape your future with the right skill set.

Want to be the first to know about upcoming entrepreneurial thinking placements?
Sign Up For Email Updates

What is an Entrepreneurial Thinking Placement?

An entrepreneurial thinking placement is a structured, short-term paid opportunity with a startup or social venture that has partnered with Queen's. The goal is to empower you to develop and apply entrepreneurial thinking skills aimed at making you ready for your future.

Experience Ventures offers five types of entrepreneurial thinking placements:

  • Hack-a-thon or tech-a-thon: A one- to two-day event in which companies present students with real world challenges and ask them to provide innovative solutions.
  • Challenges: Taking place over several weeks, these require students to build out more complete solutions to social, business, design or community challenges.
  • Projects: Companies present students with a specific project, and Queen's matches it to talent from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds.
  • Student-in-Residence: Students selected by the incubator receive unique opportunities to work with several companies over the course of a term.
  • Interdisciplinary Team Projects: Incubators create teams of students from more than one discipline and provide them with a project for a venture or group of ventures.

Entrepreneurial thinking placements build a bridge between today’s needs and tomorrow’s challenges. You will experience innovation first-hand and learn how to apply its principles in their careers. 

Why Should I Participate?

As a student, Experience Ventures placements will enable you to:

  • Apply in-class learning to the challenges and opportunities facing startups and social ventures.
  • Explore Canada’s evolving innovation economy.
  • Network and meet industry leaders and employers.
  • Discover the latest technologies being incubated in Canada and enhance your resumé with a unique experience.
  • Develop your work-ready skills.
  • Receive compensation for your placement.

Gain 5 important entrepreneurial thinking skills to prepare for careers in the innovation economy:

  1. Resiliency: Develop a growth mindset to persevere through challenges.
  2. Opportunity recognition: Reframe problems as opportunities for innovation.
  3. Action orientation: Accelerate learning through real-world feedback.
  4. Risk management: Develop strategies to manage ambiguity. 
  5. Systems thinking and/or trans-disciplinary thinking: Design innovative solutions across traditional boundaries. 

Eligibility Requirements

The required qualifications and application process differs for each placement; however, for all placements, students must be:

  • A Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or person on whom refugee protection has been conferred under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
  • Legally entitled to work in Canada in accordance with relevant provincial or territorial legislation and regulations.
  • Enrolled in any full- or part-time program of post-secondary study.

If you have any questions about eligibility please contact asc.el@queensu.ca.

Employment Equity and Accessibility Statement 

The University invites applications from all qualified individuals. Queen’s is committed to employment equity and diversity in the workplace and welcomes applications from women, visible minorities, Aboriginal Peoples, persons with disabilities, and persons of any sexual orientation or gender identity. In accordance with Canadian Immigration requirements, priority will be given to Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

The University provides support in its recruitment processes to applicants with disabilities, including accommodation that takes into account an applicant's accessibility needs. Candidates requiring accommodation during the recruitment process are asked to contact Human Resources at asc.el@queensu.ca.

Upcoming Experience Venture Placements

Next Generation of Medical Simulation Hackathon 

Ingenuity Labs in conjunction with Up360 and Experience Ventures will be holding a Hackathon on the Next Generation of Medical Simulation. Every student who registers will receive $325 just for participating. In addition, there are excellent prizes to be won for the top designs. Why not use the skills you have learned and apply them to an exciting new field.

Key Dates

  • Friday March 3rd – Registration deadline
  • March 10th -12th – Event takes place


  • Undergraduate (part-time or full-time) in any program
  • Canadian citizen
  • Have not participated in another Experience Ventures placement this calendar year

In addition to the $325 honorarium funded by the government of Canada through the Experience Ventures program, your team could win $1300!

Sign up for the hackathon through this form. Individual and team registrations are encouraged.  

Note: $1300 earnings is based on a 4 person design team. 

National Hackathon

The Experience Ventures’ network of partners, under the leadership of the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking, will host the second iteration of the Experience Ventures National Hackathon (EVNH), culminating in and celebrating year two of the network initiative.  

The EVNH invites students nationwide to participate in developing innovative, wellness-focused solutions that have the potential to enrich the lives of all Canadian post-secondary students. Students will leverage entrepreneurial thinking as they work to develop potential solutions to address a question related to this year’s theme of food security.  

The EVNH will run between Thursday, January 26 and Tuesday, March 7. Insights and inspiration from community members and ventures will guide students as they develop a comprehensive pitch for their proposed solution.  

  • January 26th: EVNH live virtual kick-off event
  • January 26th - February 10th: Teams will meet with coaches for 1-2 hours and spend a maximum of 16 hours working on their pitch. Pitch must not exceed 5 minutes.
  • February 10th: Deadline for teams to submit their pitches for judging.
  • February 24th: Top three teams will be notified and invited to participate in a live virtual pitch to a panel of judges.
  • March 7th: Top three teams pitch to judges who will decide 1st,2nd, and 3rd place and award prizes accordingly.

All students who submit their video pitch by the deadline will be granted $325.00 through Experience Ventures in recognition of their participation in the challenge. The winning team will secure $2,500.00, the first runner-up will secure $1,500.00, and the second runner-up will secure $1000.00 (to be split equally between the team in addition to the $325.00 individual honorariums).

All elements of the EVNH will be hosted virtually. The deadline to apply is January 18th and can be done so by completing the form. There are six positions available. Applications are individual. DO NOT APPLY AS A TEAM. For more information, please contact the Queen’s Experience Ventures coordinator Jake Vanker

Imagining Digital Futures for the Art Museum / 3.0 units 

Agnes Reimagined is a dynamic culture-making hub and an active civic and social force – mobilizing the transformative power of art to create more equitable, inclusive, and sustainable worlds. It asks: what needs to be done now to ensure Canada’s future museums no longer look like those of Canada’s colonial past?  

Imagining Digital Futures for the Art Museum is a special course that gets the students engaged with Agnes in a pivotal year of change as the new, future-oriented vision for the museum, Agnes Reimagined is mobilized to set a new paradigm for museological practices. In this course, students will go behind the scenes to help reimagine Agnes and what the 21st-century museum can be! 

Students in multidisciplinary groups will: 

  • Identify areas of development for the digital museum of the 21st-century. 
  • Explore how a contemporary art institution works from the inside 
  • Delve into areas such as curatorial, collections, and public programs through a digital lens.  
  • Research online collections portals as co-creative spaces, reimagining how, what, why and for whom information about the collection is shared and displayed online.  
  • Produce research reports, and prototype interfaces and activities for Digital AGNES to inform a new cutting-edge collections portal being implemented by the museum. 

 Learn more about Imagining Digital Futures for the Imagining Digital Futures for the Art Museum 

Previous Experience Venture Placements

Next Generation of Medical Simulation

Ingenuity Labs and UP360 partnered with Experience Ventures to offer The Next Generation of Medical Simulation Hackathon. This experience provided students with the opportunity to explore innovation at the cross-roads of medicine, engineering, and design. Diverse multi-disciplinary teams comprised of undergraduate students from across Queen’s University applied to compete in this paid opportunity with the goal to harness the power of diverse thinking from across the university.

The hackathon took place over the weekend of 5-6 March and has was designed to take advantage of Ingenuity Labs on-campus space in Mitchell Hall and allowed teams to also compete remotely. The design challenge was broad ranging to encourage diverse designs while organizers provided hardware and software to encourage hands on prototyping.  

Learn more about the event on the Next Generation of Medical Simulation webpage.

National Hackathon 

The National Hackathon was a local Queen’s University competition, as part of the Experience Ventures National Hackathon competition. Students worked within teams comprised of their peers and were supported by challenge mentors and wellness professionals to develop innovative solutions to the challenge problem. At the end of March, select finalists from the local Queen’s competition had the opportunity to present their winning challenge solution to a national panel. 

For the hackathon’s inaugural year, the theme was wellness, zeroing in on developing innovative, wellness-focused solutions to enrich the lives of Canadian post-secondary students. Wellness is a complex, multifaceted, and nuanced concept, and the National Hackathon challenged students to engage with the individual dimensions of wellness, including mental health, physical health and nutrition.

Learn more about the Experience Ventures National Hackathon competition.  

Social Innovation Hackathon

The Social Innovation Hackathon was an engaging immersion into the world of social innovation and its implications for using business as a catalyst for social change. Students had the opportunity to work in a team to create innovative solutions for social impact challenges that growing dynamic organizations face today.

In a fully virtual environment, student teams began by reviewing a challenge provided by their sponsor company and had one week to engage with the problem and brainstorm potential solutions. Teams then provided a pitch deck presentation that detailed their unique ideas and resolutions.

Edge of Lyme Case Competition

Edge of Lyme was a case competition that raised awareness for the consequences of tick-borne diseases (e.g. Lyme disease) and facilitated a trans-disciplinary approach to improving disease prevention, treatment, and management. The week-long event took place between January 22nd and 29th and was divided into three phases: an education phase, a project phase and a presentation phase. Students with an interest in group-work, planning, problem solving, and abstract thinking applied and were assembled into teams and competed in a case competition that tested their critical-thinking and problem-solving skills in the context of tick-borne disease. At the end of the event, teams competed for the best solution to their dilemma as judged by the quality of their: 1) poster presentation and 2) visual presentation. Separate from the student delegates, the Department of Biology also recruited student leaders who were responsible for coordinating the Edge of Lyme case competition event.

Learn more about the Edge of Lyme Case Competition.

FILM 511 - Imagining Digital Future for the Art Museum / 3.0 units

This course gave students the opportunity to be involved in the pilot Youth Advisory Council of Agnes Etherington Art Centre and engaged them in developing the future of Digital AGNES through brainstorming new templates and initiatives. Students participated in hands-on activities and gained professional experience in an innovative institutional environment, leading to active and collaborative learning opportunities across disciplines.Students researched online collections portals as co-creative spaces, innovations in digital publishing, uses of AR/VR and mixed reality experiences, and interdisciplinary digital lab spaces within museums. Students then produced research reports, and prototype interfaces and activities for Digital AGNES to inform new cutting-edge templates being implemented by the museum.

Learn more about FILM 511– Imagining Digital Futures for the Art Museum

Students in Residence

The Department of Chemistry recruited students from outside of traditional science programs for 3 ‘students-in-residence’ positions:

  1. Artist-in-residence – Explored science through an artistic lens and created art that visualized the invisible molecular world of chemistry
  2. Writer-in-residence – Collaborated with scientists and the stories that surrounded their work and learnt about the challenges that come with communicating science in writing to help scientists tell their stories effectively
  3. Entrepreneur-in-residence – Learnt about cutting edge research in chemistry and some of the real world applications for those innovations

Students worked with chemistry researchers in an interdisciplinary research environment, learnt about the fascinating ways our scientists worked on to create a better world, and contributed their unique perspectives and methodologies. Not only did students gain practical and professional experience, they also had the opportunity to connect with members of the Queen’s Chemistry Innovation Council (QCIC) which provided them with a forum for idea exchange, advice for innovation, and a network to potential employers in global industries or agencies related to chemistry and science.

(Un)hacking Downstream Consequences - Student Placements

The McDonald Institute partnered with Experience Ventures for unique virtual student placements that focused on building innovation networks, future preparedness, and making an impact.  (Un)Hacking Downstream Consequences was a deconstruction of the typical hackathon. The event occurred online over 10 days between February 22, 2022 to March 3, 2022 with both synchronous and asynchronous pieces. This non-competitive event focused on championing collaboration and good-will amongst participants. Students were placed in small cross-disciplinary groups to brainstorm unique solutions to problem sets held by Institute-identified problem holders. The goal of the experience was to develop and apply entrepreneurial thinking and skillsets for resiliency, opportunity recognition, action orientation, risk management, systems thinking, and trans-disciplinary thinking.

Learn more about the (Un)Hacking Downstream Consequences event.

Is your company interested in participating in an entrepreneurial thinking placement? Download our info-sheet or contact asc.el@queensu.ca for more information.