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Smith Dare to Dream supports four new ventures with impact

Posted on June 5, 2024
A staircase leading to a door in the sky.  Hot air balloons and confetti in the sky.

Kingston, Ont. – Four soon-to-be graduates of Smith School of Business have secured funding through the Centre for Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Social Impact (CEISI) to help them realize their entrepreneurial dreams.

Samuel Bakiika, MMA’24; Waqar Qadir, MMA’24; Iuliana Calin, MMIE’24; and Ali Zayden, MMIE’24; have each received up to $15,000 and access to critical resources through the centre’s donor-funded Dare to Dream program.

“Each of the recipients this year has taken the bold step to start a venture that solves a problem and creates impact in their chosen market,” says CEISI Associate Director JP Shearer.

The new ventures led by these aspiring entrepreneurs are:

  • CoHome Canada (Samuel Bakiika)
    A comprehensive home co-ownership solution to the housing affordability crisis that uses advanced AI technology to match buyers and provide access to legal and financial support.
    Donor: Dany Battat, BCom’78, and the late Gia Steffensen, BCom’78
  • EndoBio AI (Waqar Qadir)
    An AI solution that helps mitigate high costs and complexity within the agriculture sector, harnessing the power of genomics and multiomics datasets to unlock novel insights and drive efficiency.
    Donor: CIBC
  • MaraAI (Iuliana Calin)
    An early detection dyslexia screening solution that leverages digital assessments to streamline evaluation, psychologist referral and individual education plan development and provide personalized learning plans for students. 
    Donor: RSL Foundation
  • Drivista (Ali Zayden)
    A marketplace connecting new drivers with licensed driving instructors. The app allows driving students and their parents to choose their preferred time and instructor and arrange convenient pickup and drop-off locations.
    Donor: Sinkinson Family Dare to Dream Award

The recipients will not only benefit from critical funding but will also get access to bookable workspace, coaching and mentorship through CEISI and the wider Queen’s University network. Combined, these resources will enable them to focus on moving their new ventures from late-stage ideation to early-stage startup, or from side hustle to full-time business.

“The mission is to create change, and each one of these Dare to Dream recipients has demonstrated perseverance to overcome barriers toward this goal,” Shearer says.

About Dare to Dream

Dare to Dream is an annual program at Smith that is designed to enable entrepreneurs to launch their new ventures. Many students create startups while in their program, yet upon graduation they often have to put their entrepreneurial dreams aside to take full-time jobs. Dare to Dream gives Smith graduates the opportunity to bring their business to fruition by providing them with funding, resources and access to the invaluable Queen’s network of contacts.