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) or the Foundry, a new offering within QICSI

Applications are now CLOSED.

New this year, applicants must identify any preference in pursuing the QICSI or the Foundry, a new offering within QICSI, in their application. Learn more about the Foundry and QICSI below before you apply.


About QICSI:

The Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI) offers a valuable opportunity for individuals to start their own business 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 from all programs (undergraduate and graduate) at Queen's and QICSI is now open to pre-formed ventures and community ventures. 

The purpose of QICSI is not only to create companies for the summer; many companies born in QICSI 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 about QyourVenture.

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).

New this year, applicants to QICSI will have the opportunity to identify their preference for QICSI or Foundry in their application. Which should you select?

  • Select The Foundry if you have a strong interest in commercializing intellectual property developed at Queen's
  • Select QICSI 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 both The Foundry and QICSI if you are interested in either stream. 

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 student receives $7,000 as a cost of living stipend
  • 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.
  • QIC does not take any equity in your business

Training and Mentorship:

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

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

  • Office space for your team to work in the Beamish Munro Hall (BMH) group rooms
  • Access to BMH313, a large flat floor room 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. A maximum of 40 students 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

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. We encourage only those who are ready to fully commit to this opportunity to apply.

Stipend and Seed Funding

Each student will receive $7,000 as a cost of living stipend. 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, with resources such as free space at Innovation Park. QIC Acceleration...

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



​A Selection of QICSI-born Ventures:

Learn more...

QICSI Ventures