Young entrepreneurs at Carleton had a one-of-a-kind opportunity today to pitch their startup ideas to a group of business veterans lead by Carleton Chancellor Charles. Chi was joined by Bernie Zeisigand, partner at VICMAC Ventures; Code Cubitt, managing director of Mistral Venture Partners; and Denis Colbourne, owner of DC Technologies Ltd.
The session was led by Prof. Tony Bailetti, an award-winning mentor who has developed local ecosystems to launch and grow companies in the region, including Lead to Win and Born Global, and director of Carleton’s Institute for Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization.
“Chancellor Chi’s experience and business acumen is an advantage for the Carleton community as we work to achieve a global leadership position in technology entrepreneurship and commercialization,” said Jerry Tomberlin, dean of the Sprott School of Business.
The presenters are part of an elite group of the Carleton Entrepreneurs program, a campus-wide initiative that increases innovation and fosters an entrepreneurial spirit among students and recent graduates. The six latest entrepreneurs were chosen from dozens of presentations to two review panels comprised of serial entrepreneurs, economic development officers, company managers, service providers, consultants and academics.
Their cutting-edge ideas range from a virtual gift card for local shops, mobile ordering for restaurants and mobile language learning software to an optical public key security processor, brain stimulation for the treatment of depression and collaborative scalable video transcription.
Successful student groups may be provided space in Invest Ottawa’s incubator and access to experienced mentors like Charles Chi, as well as funding programs such as the Carleton University Nicol Internships, funded by Ottawa business leader Wes Nicol.
“Our student entrepreneurs are truly taking advantage of the opportunities afforded to them by the Carleton Entrepreneurs program,” said Bailetti. “Carleton is the only university in Canada with the infrastructure to help students graduate with both a degree and a company capable of creating at least six local jobs.”
Over the last few years, Carleton and community entrepreneurs have created more than 200 new businesses. Carleton Entrepreneurs is part of Ottawa Young Entrepreneurs, a project which received $1 million in funding from the Ontario Centres of Excellence last summer.
The current focus of the program is the rapid globalization of startups. Students are being driven to take their companies global from the moment they are created. This is building on the realization that small businesses cannot afford to establish a local foothold before expanding to international markets. Indeed, some of the world’s most successful businesses, including Facebook, Dropbox and more, have employed this tactic. Considering the relative dearth of Canadian businesses currently employing this strategy, the students in the Carleton Entrepreneurs program have a leg up on the competition.
This is the second time that Chancellor Chi has met with Carleton entrepreneurs. He last reviewed ideas aimed at the marketplace in April 2012.
About Chancellor Charles Chi:
Chi started his engineering career in Canada with Bell Canada and Unitel before assuming roles in marketing. In 1995, he moved to Silicon Valley in California.
He is currently the executive chairman at Lytro, an early-stage company located in Mountain View, CA, which is developing a suite of products based on technology that may revolutionize photography offerings in the $30-billion consumer imaging market.
He brings a diverse background to Carleton in marketing, sales, engineering and executive leadership. He is the former vice-president of marketing at Ciena, co-founder at Lightera networks, marketing group manager at Cisco and customer systems engineer at StratCom.
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