By: Sydney Thompson
For the first time ever, EPICentre hosted an entire 12-week program virtually. The program started back in May and wrapped up in early August with our Final Pitch Competition. Like many organizations, we faced the challenge of having to pivot quickly, with little time to plan and strategize. Traditionally, the Founders Program has all the program members working in our incubation space full-time over the 12-week period. During this time, the Founders would have the opportunity to attend in-person workshops, mentor meetings, and other events and activities. This year has certainly been a big change for us; especially for how we see the future and how we can best support our start-ups.
Although we didn’t conduct any in-person meetings or gatherings this year, the Founders still had the opportunity to connect via online platforms and attend virtual meetings and events continuously throughout the program. This year’s cohort consisted of seven start-ups: Communicare, Dignity, EdSay.ai, Environment Machine Shop, Lyric Symone + Co., Vectorgaze, and Xenia Education Inc. The participants in the program represented several different disciplines including Fine Arts, Communication, Sociology and Criminology, Computer Science, Biology and Economics, Engineering, Data Analytics, and Computer Networking. This year’s cohort also welcomed participants from the University of Windsor, St. Clair College, Durham College, and the University of Waterloo.
The program also welcomed many guest speakers and industry experts who conducted fireside chats, workshops and information sessions (for the full list of speakers, please see below). Each of the teams was also mentored by our EPIC Entrepreneurs in Residence, Maureen Lucas and David Kirby. Throughout the program, the Founders must develop their initial MVP and present it on Final Pitch Day (click here to watch the Final Pitch Competition). They also learn the basics of starting a business and how to test and validate their ideas. The caliber of this year’s cohort is certainly one to remember. Be sure to keep an eye out for these EPIC companies as they are just beginning their entrepreneurial journey!
Founders Program Guest Speakers:
- Connor Holowachuk – Past EPIC Founder Participant
- Dave Bussiere – Odette Marketing Professor
- Jesse Thompson, Fetch Moto
- John Dobrowolsky – Sandler Training
- Joseph Heraldo – BakerTilly Consulting
- Lauren Makaric – Royal Bank of Canada
- Liz Nichols – Green Shield Canada
- Myra Tawfik, Professor of IP Commercialization and Strategy
- Noah Campbell – Tech Community Program Manager
- Paul Brereton, EPIC Program Lead in Emerging Tech
- Pooja Patel – Postmedia
- Rebecca Stasko – SKO Communications
- Sean Ouellette – Social Worker
- Stephanie Lachine – Green Shield Canada
- Taylor Lanoie – Content Creation & Social Media Management
Summer 2020 Legal Triage Team:
- Asal Karimi
- Julian Freitag
- Muhammad Khan
- Sofia Skara
Thank all those who supported this program. And thank you to the Royal Bank of Canada for their continued support of this initiative.