Partnerships and Innovation

Office of Partnerships and Innovation
Office of Partnerships and Innovation

Queen

’s Growth Accelerator program helps young company understand its competition and see the way ahead

On the surface, compared to other young companies, QC Integrated Solutions is in an enviable position. They manufacture and distribute a unique product: equipment that lets the makers of disposable electrodes (the things you have taped to you when they do an ECG at the hospital) test their batches to make sure they are performing properly before they go out the door. With products sold in more than 25 countries, they have a solid customer base, too.

QC Integrated founders Margaret Eberle and Jeff Bennett.

Wife and husband team Margaret Eberle and Jeff Bennett had purchased the product from her former employer about a year and a half before. And while they knew it had a potential for growth that the previous maker had not exploited, they felt they could really benefit from guidance in defining a clear way forward. Eberle is an electronics technologist who has built hardware which was flown on the international space station; Bennett runs a financial services business (and advises QC on the side).

Through a former co-worker, she learned about the new Queen's Partnerships and Innovation Growth Accelerator program.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect. I didn’t know much about running a tech business. About developing and creating networks. About getting access to government programs.”

What did she gain? She laughs. “A lot of knowledge.”

“The company [Stiletto] that Queen’s hired to run the program and the training brought in a great collection of speakers to connect with and explain different government programs, search engine optimization, venture capital and how personalities can work better together. They connected us with people in marketing and sales.” When the pandemic hit, “they did a fantastic job of modifying the program to go all virtual.”

“The team did a great job of leading us through and really holding us to task,” says Bennett. “These people really have seen a lot of really interesting businesses and had a lot of great experience. They were able to keep it real, to ask the questions that lead us to discovery.”

“They encouraged reflective thinking,” says Eberle.

“We learned two main things going through this process,” says Bennett. “One, who are your competitors? We thought we are quite lucky because there are none. We learned that our competitor is really the processes that our clients already use. Understanding that distinction and the importance of uncovering those true pain points is something we took for granted.

“The second was to do a much more in-depth look at our financial projections. We can see the changes we have to make to deliver value four or five years down the road.”

On their own, says Eberle, “in business we learn and develop our expertise over time, but with the Stiletto Team’s structure and guidance we have progressed so far in such a short a time.”

 

The Wings/Growth Acceleration program was made possible with support from the Government of Canada to Queen’s University through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario and the Scale-up Platform Project which is led by Invest Ottawa in eastern Ontario and by Queen’s in the Kingston region.

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