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Dare to Dream 2018 recipients are announced

Posted on May 24, 2018
Dare to Dream recipients Rizma Butt and Hakeem Subair, both MMIE’17, talk about their venture, 1 Million Teachers, on a Kingston morning show.
Dare to Dream recipients Rizma Butt and Hakeem Subair, both MMIE’17, talk about their venture, 1 Million Teachers, on a Kingston morning show.

Kingston, ON — From machine learning that helps restaurant owners fill seats, to an online platform that transforms teachers into lifelong learners, five businesses launched by recent Smith graduates are furthering their growth with support from Queen’s Centre for Business Venturing’s (QCBV) Dare to Dream program.

“By providing early stage ventures with the necessary support and resources to turn their plans into reality, Dare to Dream ensures entrepreneurs can continue to work on their businesses,” says JP Shearer, Associate Director of QCBV. “Dare to Dream is about increasing the odds of success and inspiring entrepreneurial dreams.”

Recipients of this year’s Dare to Dream program have now been announced. They are:

Kyle Brykman, PhD’18
TalentFit — CIBC Dare to Dream

TalentFit, founded by Kyle, Mitch Gudgeon, MBA’13, and Lykaio Wang, matches job applicants to companies based on “culture-fit.” By combining academic research on organizational culture, and through machine learning and artificial intelligence, TalentFit helps job seekers find companies that are culturally compatible based on markers such as core values. 

Rizma Butt and Hakeem Subair, both MMIE’17
1 Million Teachers (1MT) — QCBV Dare to Dream

An online education program first launched in Nigeria, 1MT is based on the idea that a major reason students underachieve is a lack of education among teachers. 1MT offers online learning for teachers through a rewards-based development program that encourages teachers and their schools to get on board. The program is now expanding to other sub-Saharan countries.

Leanna Li, BCom’18
Mia Technologies — RLS Foundation Dare to Dream

Mia Technologies, co-founded by Leanna and Eddie Wang, utilizes machine learning to ensure restaurants are at full capacity throughout the day. Mia is a reservation booking platform that lets restaurants set discounts in 30-minute windows based on their traffic. Lower discounts are offered during peak times, and higher discounts during off-peak hours. 

Tyler Whitney, BCom’17, ArtSci’18
Spectra Plasmonics — Battat-Steffensen Dare to Dream

Tyler and co-founders Christian Baldwin, Sci’18, Malcolm Eade, ArtSci’18, and Yusuf Ahmed, Sci’19, created a patent-pending technology that provides quicker, more accurate and cost-effective chemical detection. Their vision is to take quality chemical detection out of the lab and into the field for professions such as law enforcement and food safety.

Erica Pearson, BCom’14
Vacation Fund — Valerie Mann Dare to Dream

Founded by Erica Pearson and Abhinav Mathur, Vacation Fund is a travel savings program that lets employees direct part of their paycheque into an account to save for holidays. Employers can match a portion of the contribution. Vacation Fund aims to help employers attract talent and increase job satisfaction.

The Dare to Dream  program provides critical resources to help Smith School of Business students and new alumni turn their entrepreneurial dreams into reality.

Thanks to financial support from several alumni and corporate donors, each recipient is provided up to $15,000 in funding, office space and access to mentoring to help their new ventures succeed.