Queen's Innovation Centre

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

Get paid to launch your venture next summer

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

QICSI is now open to preformed teams that are committed to accelerating their venture over the summer months. As of last year, the QICSI cohort consists of approximately half individual applicants and half pre-formed teams. Learn more about the unique opportunities available to you below. 

Application deadlines 

Individuals: Applications for QICSI 2020 will open in September 2019.

Pre-formed Teams: First chance to pitch for admission to QICSI 2020 is in the Fall 2019 Regional Pitch Competition.


About QICSI:

The Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI) offers a valuable opportunity for individuals to start their own business or further their current venture while being paid and receiving seed funding. QICSI is a 17-week paid summer internship for enterprising post-secondary students and members of the community with a capacity for creativity, a tolerance for risk and an interest in entrepreneurship, corporate or social innovation. Participants have the opportunity to work in a diverse team with bright individuals from across different faculties, backgrounds and experience levels. Coming into the program, individuals may already have an idea, but it is not necessary. QICSI is for students and community members from any program, year, or level of studyQICSI is industry agnostic and supports all types of ventures from non-profit, to for-profit, to social enterprise.

The purpose of QICSI is not only to create companies for the summer; many companies born in the program continue to operate to this day. Read about the success of QICSI-born ventures under News and Events.

If you already have an idea that you are executing on with a team, please read more about how to apply as a pre-formed team through our Regional Pitch Competition

Choose Your Experience

Apply as an individual:

1. Start from scratch

Start at the brainstorming and ideation stage and work with a team to execute on the idea. Mingle with QICSI participants during Team Formation Week and form a multidisciplinary team with aligned interests.

2. The Foundry Program

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. The Foundry program runs in parallel with QICSI, allowing Foundry participants to access the same stipend, training, seed funding, mentorship, office space and the opportunity to compete for significant seed funding in the Dunin-Deshpande Summer Pitch Competition. To date, we have supported two successful Foundry teams, Spectra Plasmonics (2017) and RockMass Technologies (2016) (learn more).

Applicants to QICSI will be asked to identify whether you have an interest in pursuing the Foundry in their application.

  • Select Yes if you have a strong interest in commercializing intellectual property developed at Queen's
  • Select No if you have a strong interest in developing your own idea into a business within QICSI. It is not required that you have an idea when you apply, or when you start the program. 
  • Select Maybe if you are interested in either stream. 

3. Join a pre-formed team

Some pre-formed teams that enter QICSI are looking to recruit co-founders to fill a gap in their team. Chat with teams that interest you during team formation to see if it's the right fit!

Enter as a pre-formed team: 

As a pre-formed team in QICSI, you can get right to work or join the individuals in team formation to recruit a suitable co-founder that will add value your team. 

Benefits of the program:

QICSI is a unique opportunity to develop your skills and tolerance for risk in engaging in new ventures or corporate innovation. You’ll have the chance to pool your knowledge and skills alongside students from other Queen’s faculties and schools. As part of the Queen’s Innovation Centre, QICSI will also provide:

Financial Support:

  • Each individual receives $7,000 as a cost of living stipend (subject to tax deductions)
  • Each team receives $4,000 in seed funding
  • Teams have a chance to win up to $30,000 to help grow their business in the pitch competition at the end of the program.
  • DDQIC does not take any equity in your business

Training and Mentorship:

  • Two weeks of workshops, lectures and training during the QICSI bootcamp in the first two weeks of the program
  • A bootcamp startup weekend at the Donald Gordon Conference Centre, including accommodations and meals
  • Guest speakers throughout the summer covering various topics relevant to your venture
  • Mentors for your venture

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

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

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.


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 through our Regional Pitch Competition Series. A maximum of 35 individuals and 10 pre-formed teams will be selected on the basis of their demonstrated interest in entrepreneurial, corporate or social innovation, and on their ability to effectively contribute to a multidisciplinary team.

Background and Expectations

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, all while receiving seed funding and pay. 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, including an intensive bootcamp startup weekend the first weekend of the program. At minimum, interns are required to work full time hours during the contract period. The most successful teams in the past have worked significantly more hours.  Interns must be available for this entire time period; no exceptions are permitted. It is expected that interns will be present in their workspace from Monday to Friday, normal business hours throughout the program unless conducting meetings/research off campus.
Interns are eligible for two days off over the contract period, but days off must not conflict with speaker events and must be approved by the intern’s team and the QIC team. After these two days are used, requests to be absent will not be considered unless under exceptional circumstances. Legitimate business trips are allowed and encouraged, as are networking opportunities that are explicitly tied to the success of your venture. Interns must get permission from QIC and their team to attend such events, and Queen’s travel policies apply.
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. Interns are responsible for setting up any necessary one-on-one coaching sessions with members of the QIC Executive team. Interns are also responsible for keeping track of and responding accordingly to any communications from the QIC 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. 

Stipend and Seed Funding

Each student will receive $7,000 as a cost of living stipend, subject to tax deductions. In addition, each team receives $4000 in seed funding to finance their project. The seed funding is granted on a reimbursement basis for legitimate business expenses. During the final pitch competition, you and your team will have the opportunity to win up to $30,000 to help grow your business.

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: 

QICSI Timeline:

Learn more about the timeline of the program.

QIC Acceleration

Ventures who graduate from QICSI are eligible for next level support through QIC Acceleration, a program designed to continue to support the venture. The DDQIC works closely with Innovation Park to provide your team with resources to you need to succeed beyond the QICSI program. Between DDQIC and Innovation Park you have access to extensive mentorship and guidance, networking opportunities, free office space and more!

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



​A Selection of QICSI-born Ventures:

Learn more...

QICSI Ventures