Community connections

Friday November 4, 2016

By Anne Craig, Communications Officer

Queen’s, Kingston community hear from young entrepreneurs at annual Principal’s Breakfast.

Photo: Principal Daniel Woolf (far left) sits with panel members (from left) James McLellan, Academic Director of the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre, Matt Gubasta and Shelby Yee of RockMass Technologies, and Sarah Muma (far right) of North Sprout. (Photo by Tim Forbes)

Innovation was the main focus of the annual Principal’s Community Breakfast as the Queen’s and Kingston communities gathered to hear from emerging young entrepreneurs about their business plans for the future.

“We are empowering students to pursue their entrepreneurial goals,” says Daniel Woolf. “Over the past several years we have been working hard to increase our innovation and collaboration initiatives at Queen’s. Initiatives such as SparQ Studios and the Queen’s Startup Summit play major roles in supporting this aspect of the university’s academic mission by encouraging, enabling, and supporting the innovation activities of students, professors, entrepreneurs, and Canadian companies.”

James McLellan, Academic Director of the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre, was joined on the panel by student Matt Gubasta (Artsci’17) and alumna Shelby Yee (Sc’16) of RockMass Technologies, and student Sarah Muma (ArtSci’17) of North Sprout. RockMass Technologies was the winner of the 2016 Queen’s Innovation Connector Summer Initiative (QICSI) competition and North Sprout was a finalist in the QICSI Venture Pitch Competition.

“Momentum is building at Queen’s, and one of the most important aspects is how engaged the community is,” says Dr. McLellan. “The students are welcomed by local businesses and these businesses want to help them succeed.”

RockMass Technologies is currently based at Innovation Park and Ms. Yee commented on how beneficial that is to developing the business.

“Innovation Park is an incredible resource as we have a free space to work in,” she explains. “As our business develops, we are also being integrated into the Kingston community, which helps us with business connections.”

Ms. Muma echoed the comments of the other panelists, commenting on how the Kingston community has reached out and welcomed not just her but many of the other young entrepreneurs building their businesses in Kingston.

“It’s very easy for us to reach out and get assistance from the community,” she says. “There is also a great availability of resources for us to access. We are set up for success.”

Representatives from all three levels of government attended the breakfast, including MP Mark Gerretsen, MPP Sophie Kiwala, Mayor Bryan Paterson, and Councillor Richard Allen.

For more information visit the Dunin-Deshpande Queen's Innovation Centre Site website.