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.
“Mitacs was the first organization to believe in us... Without Mitacs’ support, I believe that we could not have gotten to the stage that we are, with BrainShield almost ready to hit the market and revolutionize the concept of helmet protection.”
“By collaborating with other businesses and customers at the local level who share my values, I hope to develop locally-oriented solutions to food security. I see cooperation as key to establishing a local food industry that rivals the global industrial food system.”
“During my internship, I became very comfortable speaking to businesses and explaining the benefits of my expertise. I learned about the kinds of things industry was interested in and how my research could address them.” she said. “It gave me the boost of confidence that I needed.”
Innovation, whether researcher, technology, or social, is widely viewed as being “gender blind” or “gender neutral,” places where male and female do not matter. But according to Sarah, this is the first misconception we need to confront.