Successful first Faculty of Science entrepreneurship workshop as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week
On November 18, 2019, the Faculty of science held its inaugural workshop on entrepreneurship. The event called “Entrepreneurship… in Science?!” attracted more than 60 students, professors and members of the University community. It highlighted the dynamic nature of the Faculty of Science within the university, where plenty of innovation, collaboration and start-ups are being established; the result of the impressive scientific output of its researchers and the ambition of its students.
André Beauchemin, Vice-Dean of Graduate Studies and Entrepreneurship for the Faculty of Science, formally introduced the Faculty’s new vision for promoting and supporting entrepreneurship and innovation, whether it is initiated by students, professors, or members of the Faculty of Science community. Kathleen Kemp, Director of the Entrepreneurship Hub, presented the resources available to support entrepreneurship on campus and gave an overview of upcoming events during the Global Entrepreneurship Week.
The event featured two professors with an entrepreneurship mindset. Dr. Alexandre Poulain from the Department of Biology presented his research expertise and his evolution into entrepreneurship when he and one of his students decided to start an environmental remediation company, named Microbright, based on their work in the lab. He also explained how an investor and a farmer approached him to assess the feasibility of using milk byproducts to make alcohol. This successful collaboration has resulted in the flagship product of the Dairy Distillery, Vodkow, which is now sold in many locations across the country!
His presentation was followed by that of Dr. Robert Ben of the Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences. As an expert in cryopreservation, Dr. Ben has developed a technology that minimizes cell damage by preventing the formation of ice crystals during freezing. This has a considerable impact in the medical field, where tissue preservation is of paramount importance. As his technology matured, he explored entrepreneurship to bring the results of his research to market. He had to overcome many obstacles to finally establish his company, PanTHERA Cryosolutions. His journey in entrepreneurship and lessons shared with the audience provided a very realistic description of what it is to be an entrepreneur.
Participants appreciated the honesty and passion of the speakers. All appreciated the presentations and, based on the initial feedback we received, all were eager to learn more about science entrepreneurship, how to get involved and how to develop the entrepreneurial mindset.