Hamed Hanafi is a busy researcher these days. During the week, the Dalhousie University postdoc is interning with a Halifax-based medical company through a Mitacs Accelerate research project. During the evenings and weekends, he’s pursuing a personal goal of becoming an entrepreneur and getting a passion project off the ground.
“I don’t think I realized I was an entrepreneur at first,” says Jeremy Koenig, founder of Halifax-based genomics start-up, Athletigen. “But then as I got more experience, I started to realize how my background in research could be an asset to me in founding a company — so I did just that.”
When Rowan Cockett was completing a Bachelor of Science in applied and environmental geology at the University of Calgary in 2010, he noticed that his fellow students were struggling to deal with the immense amounts of geological data they were asked to interpret.
“Mitacs was critical to me connecting with Triton, and the skills that I picked up during my internship led to my job at the company, giving me the ability to secure the contracts on my own... And from there, I founded my company.”
“I wasn’t one of those people who started university with plans to launch a company,” said Jamie Yuen. “But the success of our Mitacs internship and our partnership with BMI made starting Copperstone Technologies in 2014 the logical next step.”
Rohit had come to Canada in 2012 to pursue an MBA focused on entrepreneurship at the University of Victoria. During his program, he undertook a Mitacs Accelerate internship with Limespot, a small e-commerce start-up with five employees, a far cry from his experience at Blackberry.