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) and the Foundry

Stay tuned for details about the QICSI 2020 Application Process!


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 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.

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 have the chance to pool your knowledge and skills alongside students from other Queen’s faculties and schools. QICSI will provide:

Financial Support

  • The program is no-cost and DDQIC does not take any equity in your business.
  • Teams have the opportunity to unlock seed funding to help grow their business as they meet milestones 
  • Teams have the chance to win funding in the Dunin-Deshpande Summer Pitch Competition at the end of the program.
  • As the program is a full-time 16-week commitment, there are bursaries available on a needs basis to assist participants with personal expenses

Training and Mentorship

  • Workshops, lectures and training during the QICSI bootcamp at the start of the program (around 70 hours of startup-focused training)
  • A bootcamp startup weekend
  • Guest speakers throughout the summer covering various topics relevant to your venture
  • Mentors for your venture
  • Access to legal and accounting professionals to assist with matters affecting start-ups
  • Access to the Disciplined Entrepreneurship Toolbox, a 24-step guide to starting a venture developed by MIT professor of entrepreneurship, Dr. Bill Aulet

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.


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


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, including an intensive 56-hour startup weekend the first weekend of the program. 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