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Mayor’s Innovation Challenge offers micro-credentials for post-secondary students

This year, post-secondary students participating in the Mayor’s Innovation Challenge have the option to receive micro-credentials through the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC).

Image via City of Kingston website.

For the last four years, the City has hosted the Mayor’s Innovation Challenge (MIC) Pitch Competition. Students from Kingston’s major post-secondary institutions are invited to develop a two- to three-minute video proposal that presents an innovative project that could: be implemented in the city and contributes to the quality of life of residents; or which leverages emerging technologies or develops new innovations to enhance the delivery of municipal services. 

The creators of the top submissions, selected by the Mayor and senior members of City Staff, will be invited to present their proposals at the Mayor’s Innovation Challenge Virtual Event on Friday, Mar. 4, 2022, to a panel of leaders with expertise in municipal government, entrepreneurship, and innovation, according to a press release from the City of Kingston.

In partnership with DDQIC, this year’s pitches can also earn participating students micro-credentials. A micro-credential is a certification of assessed learning associated with a focused set of competencies delivered through a short program. These credentials verify the learner’s skills, can be sent to prospective employers, or displayed on professional sites, like LinkedIn, the City of Kingston explained.  

“We’re so excited about this development as we see the amazing amount of thought and work that goes into each and every pitch,” said Mayor Bryan Paterson. “Thanks to our strong partnership with DDQIC, we’re able to offer the opportunity to earn a micro-credential to all of our student entrepreneurs for their efforts. We hope to attract even more innovative pitches as we approach the competition on March fourth.” 

Students who wish to earn a micro-credential while they craft their proposal will be required to complete 20 hours of online innovation skills training through the Queen’s OnQ learning management system. This is open to all Kingston post-secondary students who are working on a challenge proposal. To sign up, complete the registration form by Friday, Jan. 28, 2022.

“Students will grow their entrepreneurial mindset by learning new strategies to develop and test solutions to real problems, and immediately apply these skills to a team-based, real-world MIC proposal. We are proud to partner with the City to offer digital badges that students can leverage to innovate in their future careers,” said Prof. James McLellan, DDQIC’s Academic Director. “Everybody wins.”  

This year’s competition will include two separate challenge streams, each with a coveted prize, the City said. Current and recently graduated post-secondary students are eligible to submit proposals to address one of two challenges as outlined by the City below:

Dunin-Deshpande Smart Kingston Stream

The winning team of the Dunin-Deshpande Smart Kingston Stream will receive admission to a four-month incubator program with the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre. As part of this experience, they will be granted a $7,000 stipend for up to three co-founders, up to $4,000 seed capital to build a venture around their idea, along with full participation in the Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI 2022) program, and the opportunity to pitch again in August for a grand prize of $30,000 to accelerate their innovation. Learn more about the QICSI program.

Public Sector Innovation Stream

Winners from the Public Sector Innovation Stream will receive a four-month paid internship with a municipal department with the City of Kingston. The winning team will gain access to a full slate of resources and mentorship from City staff. They will also be exposed to a variety of projects underway in the City and will have the opportunity to build skills and gain invaluable government experience applicable in any career.

Proposals for the Mayor’s Innovation Challenge are to be submitted by Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022. Find out more on the City of Kingston’s website. 

Ted Hsu for MPP
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