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Turning entrepreneurial dreams into reality

Queen’s Centre for Business Venturing'Dare to Dream program provides support for businesses launched by recent graduates of the Smith School of Business.

[Dare to Dream program winners]
Dare to Dream recipients Rizma Butt (MMIE'17) and Hakeem Subair (MMIE'17) talk about their venture, 1 Million Teachers, on The Morning Show on CKWS. (Supplied Photo)

From machine learning that helps restaurant owners fill seats, to an online platform that transforms teachers into lifelong learners, four businesses launched by recent Smith School of Business graduates are furthering their growth with support from Queen’s Centre for Business Venturing’s (QCBV) Dare to Dream program.

The Dare to Dream program provides critical resources to help Smith students and new alumni turn their entrepreneurial dreams into reality. Through the financial support of several alumni and corporate donors, each recipient is provided up to $15,000 in funding, office space and access to mentoring to help their new ventures succeed.

“Dare to Dream is about increasing the odds of success and inspiring entrepreneurial dreams,” says JP Shearer, Associate Director of QCBV. “By providing early stage ventures with the necessary support and resources to turn their plans into reality, Dare to Dream ensures entrepreneurs can continue to work on their businesses.”  

This year’s recipients are:

Kyle Brykman (PhD’18)
TalentFit – CIBC Dare to Dream

TalentFit, founded by Kyle Brykman, Mitch Gudgeon (MBA’13), and Lykaio Wang, matches job applicants to companies based on “culture-fit.” By combining academic research on organizational culture, and through machine learning and artificial intelligence, TalentFit helps job seekers find companies that are culturally compatible based on markers such as core values. 

Rizma Butt (MMIE’17) and Hakeem Subair (MMIE’17)
1 Million Teachers (1MT) – QCBV Dare to Dream

An online education program first launched in Nigeria, 1 Million Teachers is based on the idea that a major reason students underachieve is a lack of education among teachers. 1MT offers online learning for teachers through a rewards-based development program that encourages teachers and their schools to get on board. The program is now expanding to other sub-Saharan countries.

Leanna Li (Com’18)
Mia Technologies – RLS Foundation Dare to Dream

Mia Technologies, co-founded by Leanna and Eddie Wang, utilizes machine learning to ensure restaurants are at full capacity throughout the day. Mia is a reservation booking platform that lets restaurants set discounts in 30-minute windows based on their traffic. Lower discounts are offered during peak times, and higher discounts, during off-peak hours. 

Tyler Whitney (Com’17, Artsci’18)
Spectra Plasmonics — Battat-Steffensen Dare to Dream

Tyler Whitney and co-founders Christian Baldwin (Sc’18), Malcolm Eade (Artsci’18), and Yusuf Ahmed (Sc’19), created a patent-pending technology that provides quicker, more accurate and cost-effective chemical detection. Their vision for SpectraPlasmonics is to take quality chemical detection out of the lab and into the field for professions such as law enforcement and food safety.

This article was first published on the Smith School of Business website.