School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies

Keeping it Glocal

SGS graduate students participating in QICSI 2019

by Phil Gaudreau

Leena Yahia and Hasan Kettaneh

Recycling grain, connecting charities and not-for-profits with volunteers and free stuff, and empowering female Afghani farmers are just a few of the ideas which graduate students at Queen’s are helping to bring to life this summer.

These graduate students are participating in the 2019 Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI) program, an entrepreneurship bootcamp organized by the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC) which provides mentorship, seed funding, and support to help shape ideas into real world businesses.

“Queen’s graduate students are contributing to remarkable discoveries and innovation in our labs, our classrooms, and in the real world,” says Fahim Quadir, Vice-Provost and Dean of the School of Graduate Studies. “Programs like QICSI help bring the talents and knowledge of our students into the public domain and show how their discoveries are addressing local and global challenges. I look forward to seeing the results of our students’ hard work at the pitch competition on Aug. 22, and how they carry those ideas beyond the pitch and into the real world.”

This year’s cohort of businesses certainly has quite a socially conscious bent, with many of the start-ups focused on tackling causes related to the environment, economic empowerment, and other social goods.

Among the unique ideas in this year’s competition is The Glocalization Hub, a tech platform that connects students and workers with education, training, mentorship, and professional development. ‘Glocal’ is a combination of the words global and local, and it is the ability to “think globally, act locally,” says Hasan Kettaneh, one of the co-founders and the glocalization expert.  

The Glocalization Hub is intended to connect information and opportunity, pairing labour market insights with the connections and knowledge that workers and students need to succeed. Users of the platform can access the hub to further their lifelong learning and to create a ‘digital Glocalization passport’ which helps demonstrate their competencies to employers.

“It is difficult to consolidate all of your soft skills, cognitive skills, and technical skills in one document like a resume,” adds Hasan. “The passport is a competency-based document which is designed to provide employers with a simple QR code which they can use to gain a more complete picture of your skills, knowledge, and attitudes.”

“The traditional job descriptions which say you need five to ten years of experience often do not speak to the actual skill needs of a job,” adds Leena Yahia, another co-founder. “The Glocalization Hub will help employees better highlight their competencies so they can demonstrate their fit for available jobs.”

The Hub also offers many tools to help younger users decide on potential career paths and relevant academic programs by creating mentorship connections and by calling attention to the available employment opportunities locally.

By marrying this labour market data with user data, backed by powerful computer algorithms, the Hub will be able to provide useful insights and forecasts to policy makers, educational institutions, employers, and researchers, along with organizations preparing for the mass retirement of baby boomers.

“It’s like a cross sectorial coordination tool which allows stakeholders to make evidence-based decisions,” says Leena.

The Glocalization Hub is currently working on launching in Kingston and are also preparing to branch out to other major Canadian cities and communities. In the future, they hope to establish the first physical Glocalization Hub here in Kingston. The physical presence of the Glocalization Hub will serve as a common ground for different stakeholders to come together, share knowledge and experiences, and exchange solutions and best practices. It will also reflect university-Community engagement at different levels, says Hasan.

Hasan and Leena are PhD candidates in the Faculty of Education who also happen to be husband and wife. Their project builds on their expertise and research: Hasan’s research on glocalization and exposure to competency-based education in the Queen’s School of Medicine and Leena’s research on higher education policy, governance, and quality assurance

“Our PhD and entrepreneurial venture have been a family journey about learning together with the children, so their own innovation and entrepreneurial skills are developing as well,” adds Hasan.

Learn more about The Glocalization Hub through this Global News Kingston interview.

This year’s QICSI teams will be participating in a closing pitch competition on Aug. 22. The event is free and open to the public. Learn more at www.queensu.ca/innovationcentre.

DDQIC pitch competition flyer