Queen's Innovation Centre

Dunin-Deshpande Queen's Innovation Centre
Dunin-Deshpande Queen's Innovation Centre

Apply to the Queen's Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI)


About QICSI:

The Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI) is a 16-week, fixed cohort incubator program where founders receive no-cost training, mentorship, and office space to launch their own venture. QICSI offers the opportunity to work on a venture full-time while receiving ongoing support from the Dunin-Deshpande Queen's Innovation Centre advisors, mentors, and staff. We admit enterprising post-secondary students and members of the community with a capacity for creativity, a tolerance for risk and a desire to pursue entrepreneurship or social innovation as their chosen career path. Founders will have the opportunity to work in a diverse team with bright individuals from across different faculties, backgrounds and experience levels. QICSI is eligible to students and community members from any program, year, or level of study. QICSI is industry agnostic and supports ventures across the full spectrum of not-for-profit to for-profit, and social to traditional enterprise.

Many QICSI companies continue to operate to this day. Read about the success of QICSI-born ventures under News and Events.

NEW Health Innovation Stream

Together with the City of Kingston and St. Lawrence College, teams working on an entrepreneurial venture in the healthcare space will have the opportunity to participate in the full QICSI program while gaining access to a curated network of mentors and grow the network they need to succeed. In QICSI, Health Innovation teams will learn from esteemed faculty, entrepreneurs, and business strategists in DDQIC's network who have experience in healthcare innovation.

The Foundry 

Together with the Office of Partnerships and Innovation, DDQIC has developed the Foundry program, which pairs researchers with promising intellectual property with students who are interested in pursuing entrepreneurship. In partnering these groups, the Foundry program provides the opportunity for students to build a business from ideas and intellectual property developed by researchers at Queen's. Successful QICSI candidates are automatically eligible for the Foundry program and will be given the opportunity to review ideas and research available for commercialization during QICSI. To date, we have supported two successful Foundry teams, Spectra Plasmonics (2017) and RockMass Technologies (2016) (learn more).

Benefits of the program:

QICSI is a unique opportunity to develop your skills and tolerance for risk in engaging in new ventures. You’ll join a network of diverse, creative, and ambitious peers that complement your abilities. QICSI will provide:

Financial Support

  • Receive a $7000 personal stipend to cover living costs while you pursue a venture full-time.
  • Unlock $4000 seed funding to help grow the venture as your team meets required milestones. 
  • Teams have the chance to win up to $30,000 additional funding in the Dunin-Deshpande Summer Pitch Competition at the end of the program.
  • The program is no-cost and DDQIC does not take any equity in your business.

Best-in-Class Training and Mentorship

  • Two-week business bootcamp delivered by Queen’s University faculty, entrepreneurs, and experts who bring decades of combined entrepreneurship and C-Suite experience
  • A bootcamp startup weekend
  • Access to the Disciplined Entrepreneurship Toolbox, a 24-step guide to starting a venture developed by MIT professor of entrepreneurship, Dr. Bill Aulet
  • Guest speakers throughout the summer covering various topics relevant to your venture
  • Get matched with experienced mentors from DDQIC’s Global Network of entrepreneurs and alumni.
  • Access to legal, accounting, and branding professionals to assist with matters affecting start-ups

Access to Office Space and State-of-the-Art Prototyping/Design Studio

  • Co-working space for your team to work at the Rose Innovation Hub in Mitchell Hall
  • Access to the Collaboratory, LinQ Lab, and LinQ Lounge - large flat floor rooms with reconfigurable desks, white boards and a projector
  • Access to Wi-Fi, a printer, and teleconference facilities
  • Physical prototyping and design facilities in the SparQ Studios makerspace

Freedom to Pursue any Venture of Your Choice

  • There are no limitations on the type of venture you can pursue (provided it is legal). QICSI has the facilities and resources to support any venture, from a physical product-based venture (see SparQ Studios) to a social innovation.

Important Dates for QICSI 2022

October 27, 2021: QICSI Information Session
December 5, 2021: Applications due at 11:59PM EST (Individual applicants only)
December 10, 2021: Interviews for individual applicants (individuals will be notified on December 8, 2021)
January 10, 2022: Applications due at 10AM EST (Team applicants only)
January 17-18, 2022: Pitches for team applicants
Evenings January 19-20, 2022: Networking events (Mandatory for individuals)
January 21-23, 2022: E-weekend (Mandatory for individuals)
May 9, 2022: Program begins (ends August 26, 2022).  


The QIC Summer Initiative is open to Queen’s University students from every faculty and school, with preference given to candidates in their third or fourth year of undergraduate study or in a graduate or professional program. QICSI is also open to non-Queen's students and community members. Candidates must reside in the Kingston region or operate a venture in the Kingston region. 


We encourage only those who are ready to fully commit to this opportunity to apply. This program provides the rare opportunity for you to access valuable resources to start your own business and receive support, mentorship and training without any equity taken in your business. Consequently, there are very high expectations for conduct and attendance. The program runs from the first Monday in May to the last Friday of August. Full attendance is required for all speakers, workshops, and scheduled events. Participants are expected to work on their venture in the Rose Innovation Hub on Queen's campus and dedicate at minimum full-time hours to their venture for the duration of the program. The most successful teams in the past have worked significantly more hours.
Legitimate business trips are allowed and encouraged, as are networking opportunities that are explicitly tied to the venture. Participants must get permission from DDQIC and their team to attend such events, and Queen’s travel policies apply. If you need to work a part-time job on top of QICSI responsibilities to support yourself, please reach out to a member of the DDQIC team to discuss how this can be balanced.

This is not an academic program, and it is designed to develop autonomy and resourcefulness in its participants. QICSI’s role is to support founders, and as is the case in the business world, teams may need to hire externally to fill any gaps in skill sets that are required for their venture. Participants are responsible for setting up any necessary one-on-one coaching sessions with members of the DDQIC Executive team. Participants are also responsible for keeping track of and responding accordingly to any communications from the DDQIC team in a timely manner.
This is a very intense program, and requires full commitment and long hours to launch a business in a short period of time. 

Preparing for QICSI

​We encourage you to take advantage of the many opportunities at Queen's and in our region to develop your entrepreneurial mindset: 

Continued Support

Ventures who graduate from QICSI are eligible for next level support through our QYourVenture program and our regional partners. The DDQIC works closely with the Office of Partnerships and Innovation and Launch Lab to provide your team with the resources you need to succeed beyond the QICSI program. You can continue to have access to extensive mentorship and guidance, networking and funding opportunities, free office space and more!!

Questions about QICSI? Email innovation.centre@queensu.ca.

​A Selection of QICSI-born Ventures:

Learn more...

QICSI Ventures