This month my term as EPICentre Executive Director will end, and I will return to the Odette School of Business as the Odette Professor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. My focus will be on research and I look forward to taking my long-postponed sabbatical. EPICentre will continue under the direction of Wen Teoh. Our core team is also intact, including Lynda Sollazzo (Admin Coordinator), Layan Barakat (Marketing Coordinator) and Sydney Thompson (Program Lead).
As a co-founder and COO of EPICentre, Wen will lead our wonderful EPIC team to new successes. Wen started her career with the University of Windsor as a Research Commercialization Associate in 2012 after obtaining her MBA from the Odette School of Business and became our EPIC Venture Start Director and COO in 2013. Prior to her career at UWindsor, Wen co-founded an international gas distribution company in Malaysia and started a high-pressure cylinder distribution company in the U.S. She is also a sessional instructor at the Odette School of Business, and a Board member at the WindsorEssex Community Foundation.
EPICentre will play a role in achieving campus performance targets mandated by the Ontario Government related to experiential learning opportunities and skills/competencies. Youth venture development and EPICentre's collaborative relationships with the Windsor Essex Economic Development Corporation and WE-Tech can contribute to performance measures linked to community and economic impact. More specifically, in the 2017-2018 fiscal year, EPICentre developed entrepreneurial skills such as prototype development in the Windsor Mold Group EPIC Makers' Base, and developed entrepreneurial competencies through 132 programs and events, involving 5,747 youth participants. Programs such as the RBC EPIC Founders and the Libro Social Innovators provided stipends for students to experience, first-hand, how to develop their new venture ideas. Some of these ideas continue to have social impact, such as Greener Bins Composting.
Although we move forward with less provincial funding than previously, we will be able to provide the same level of services, thanks to the support of the University of Windsor. As UW President Douglas Kneale explains, "EPICentre's continued leadership in collaborative entrepreneurial education is critical to the UWindsor student experience: it is and will remain a flagship program of the University. As a strong and effective proponent of nimble design, reciprocal partnership, and responsive planning, EPICentre's expertise and ethos will play an important role in establishing a common vision and strategy which will ultimately enhance the University's and our region's learning and innovation ecosystem."
Thank you to all who have supported and continue to support our EPIC entrepreneurial activities, including students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, and business and professional mentors! Your support is essential to keeping the doors open for entrepreneurial students!!