Two teams win internships at Mayor’s Innovation Challenge

Top: Kieran D’Mello and Ethan Fung – “Resume Writer”
Bottom: Salvador Lara and Sean McKnight – “Off We Go”
Images via City of Kingston

After pitching innovative ideas that contribute to making Kingston a better place to live, work, and play, two teams of post-secondary students were named winners of the Mayor’s Innovation Challenge. Each winning team and its members have been awarded four-month paid summer internships to implement their ideas.

“Five years ago, we launched the Mayor’s Innovation Challenge. Since then, we’ve seen so many tremendous pitches, witnessed incredible ideas come to life both in the organization and as business ventures, and we’ve had many talented students come and work with us,” said Mayor Bryan Paterson. “This year was no exception; the ideas that came forward were incredible.”

“This year, we were able to pilot a high school competition and were blown away by the ideas among Kingston’s youth,” Paterson continued. “We also were able to provide Queen’s micro-credentials to those interested in completing the program while working on their proposals, thanks to our partners at the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre. The challenge continues to grow and evolve, and I believe it has tremendous value for students, the City, and the community!”

This year, the team “Resume Writer” won paid internships with the City of Kingston. According to a release from the city, the team’s idea presented a personal storage tool that makes customizing your resume for different jobs easy and convenient.

The team “Off We Go” won admission to a four-month incubator program with the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre, the city said. 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, according to the release.

The idea team “Off We Go” outlined is a platform that provides tailor-made tourist experiences, using augmented content and engaging stories. According to the release, the platform works along with businesses to boost the local economy and the city who can use the data to make informed decisions.

“I was impressed with how each proposal showcased the team’s entrepreneurial mindset and their ability to develop and test solutions that address a real problem in the community,” Paterson expressed. “These skills will equip youth to either become entrepreneurs, or to drive innovation in whatever career path they choose. DDQIC is honoured to partner with the City of Kingston to make the QICSI internship and Queen’s micro-credentials accessible to youth across the community. Congratulations to the winning teams, and the teams who earned their micro-credentials.”

The Mayor’s Innovation Challenge was made possible through partnership and collaboration with Bell Canada and the Dunin Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Challenge.

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