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Next 36 cultivates leading student entrepreneurs

Lauren Long, Michael Warshafsky, Nicholas Klimchuk, Gordie Best, and Joshua Levitan are the five Queen's students participating in the 2013 cohort of The Next 36, an innovative program to develop the next generation of Canada's leading entrepreneurs.

Five Queen’s students are in Toronto to take part in this year’s cohort of The Next 36, a leading program that supports budding undergraduate entrepreneurs.

Gordon Best (Sc’13), Nicholas Klimchuk (Com’13), Joshua Levitan (Sc’13), Lauren Long (Artsci’13) and Michael Warshafsky (Artsci’15) recently began the second phase of the program in Toronto, where they are in the process of launching innovative mobile start-ups.

“Participating in The Next 36 really is an opportunity of a lifetime,” says Mr. Klimchuk, who is graduating from the commerce program at Queen’s School of Business. “Having the chance to take a start-up from conception through to market launch with the support of inspiring mentors and successful business leaders is simply invaluable.”

Students taking part in The Next 36 work in teams of three to develop and launch a venture in the mobile space. Each team receives up to $80,000 of start-up capital, access to two experienced entrepreneur mentors and 140 hours of academic instruction from world-leading experts.

The teams began working remotely on their start-ups in December, while completing the academic year. The second phase, which began this month in Toronto, sees all 36 participants come together for the rigorous academic program and mentorship as they launch their start-ups.

Mr. Klimchuk and Mr. Warshafsky are working together on Encore, a mobile app for concert-goers that makes it easier to discover local music events and find shows that friends are attending. Mr. Best and Ms. Long are working together on Taskers, a mobile platform that connects busy professionals with timeshare personal assistants, while Mr. Levitan is working on ConqRit, an online platform that makes employees co-creators of corporate social responsibility and sponsorship initiatives.

Queen’s University recently signed on as an academic partner of The Next 36, which means that it supports the program’s mission of fostering Canadian entrepreneurial leadership. A launch event will be hosted by Principal Daniel Woolf on campus this fall.

“Queen’s is proud to partner with The Next 36 and provide support to such outstanding entrepreneurs,” says Principal Woolf. “Canada’s future will, in many ways, depend on the ingenuity of young Canadians and this program is instrumental in cultivating and nurturing their skills and ideas. It aligns with the work the university is doing to nurture entrepreneurial spirit and initiative through Queen’s Innovation Connector.”

The Next 36 competition will wrap up in August with Venture Day, when the teams present their start-ups to business leaders and investors from across North America.