Students from various faculties came together to develop, design and promote their new innovative product ideas at the second annual Queen’s Startup Summit (QSS) last weekend.
The summit started with students pitching ideas for start-up companies on a stage for one minute. The top 11 ideas were chosen via an online survey completed by the delegates.
The summit began on Feb. 28 and wrapped up on March 2. Approximately 87 students from across Canada participated.
The delegates with the winning ideas became team leaders and formed teams with the remaining delegates, who took on roles of developer, designer and general non-tech members.
Throughout the next two days, the teams worked to create the product and put together a presentation that they presented to judges on the last day.
QSS’ panel of judges consisted of top executives and professionals in the startup and technology field. This year, the managing director of Extreme Startup, the CEO of Tunezy and co-founders of Boxit were amongst the roster.
This year’s first place winner was Aadvark Analytics, an app for Google Plus, iOS and Android that allowed doctors portable access to patients’ information.
The second place winner was FindMe, an app that uses bluetooth between cell phones to help people locate their friends in a crowd. Third place went to Consumalytics, a software that provided target marketing for apps.
Other non-tech focused ideas were an eco-filtration system for water, and a bracelet for distance runners that can alert the runner to speed up or slow down in order to achieve target running time.
The top three teams from the competitions were awarded $8,000 in total.
Stefan Eylott, CompSci ’14 and co-chair of QSS, envisioned the summit to help build an entrepreneurial feel within Queen’s and across Canada. Approximately 30 per cent of the delegates were non-Queen’s students.
“When I attended (QSS) last year, it got me very excited about startups, and I want to show people the great startup community,” he said.
Eylott said he saw QSS as an opportunity for students to work across faculties and develop a sense of community. Delegates to the summit were from varied faculties like Engineering and Applied Sciences, Commerce, Arts and Science and the School of Computing.
“We build teams of people who haven’t known each other before and bring the faculties together,” he said.
According to Eylott, one of the big highlights this year was when members of a team were offered positions at the Business Instincts Group company, because a representative saw that their proposed product aligned with his company’s work.
The summit was not without complications, however.
One team parted ways early on in the competition, forcing members to join other teams or form a new team. There were also concerns of students bringing existing business ideas to the competition and an imbalance of delegates in roles.
“We struggled to bring in developers,” Eylott said.
“We are looking to host a hack-a-thon for next year to generate interest for developers before the summit.”
For next year and beyond, QSS plans to lead workshops before the summit to teach people more about start-ups. Organizers also want to invite more students from universities across Canada to create more appeal for the event.
“It also helps put Queen’s name out there from the attention we get,” Eylott said.
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