My Summer Co-op at ICUBE

This summer, my Master of Management of Innovation (MMI) Co-op internship lead me to ICUBE – the hub of innovation at UofT Mississauga. Having been part of a start-up team in ICUBE (U-Dimensions), I look forwarded to help other entrepreneurs at ICUBE to grow their businesses.  As the Assistant Program Coordinator of ICUBE, I am very passionate about creating an innovative atmosphere for our startup teams. The ICUBE team works hard everyday to build a safe, open and friendly environment where our entrepreneurs can thrive and succeed.

Alberto Galasso – Director of Master of Management of Innovation (Left), Ulrich Krull – Vice-president and Principal of University of Toronto of Mississauga (Middle), Jane Dong – Assistant Program Coordinator of ICUBE (Right)

Being a part of ICUBE has been one of the richest learning experiences I have had in university. ICUBE’s vision of accelerating ideation stage companies is both inspirational and meaningful. The highlight of my experience at ICUBE is working on the programming of our Open Program and ICE (Innovation to Commercialization for Entrepreneurs) Program to develop guides and design workshops that help our startup teams to gain hands-on business knowledge and experience.

Jane Dong with Startup Founders
Jane Dong with the founder and CEO of ALTO Earbuds – Ahmed Ali, co-founders of Anomaly Innovations – Frank Wang and Jay Air

The business knowledge I learned through the MMI program helped me make a real difference for our startup teams. Many of the entrepreneurs I worked with are not extremely familiar with business terminologies and strategic concepts such as the value chain, blue ocean strategy, strategic positioning, etc. It felt extremely rewarding to help them bridge the knowledge gap between real business challenges and academic concepts I learned through MMI. The founder and CEO of ALTO Earbuds, Ahmed Ali, is one of the entrepreneurs I work closely with and whom I became good friends with.  We had several chats on strategic positioning and talked about how he could incorporate some of the lessons I had learned into his growing business.  Being able to witness the growth of our startups really warms my heart and make me feel that my work is meaningful.

The internship at ICUBE lead to a great opportunity at one of ICUBE’s partners in innovation – the RIC Centre.  I very much look forward to starting my role  as their marketing communications officer this upcoming September. The next steps in my career will be improving my own business skills and expanding my network to help more Canadian entrepreneurs. I will continue to make use of the innovative mindset I have developed in MMI and ICUBE to solve real life business cases. I hope in the future, I can leverage my academic background in physics and mathematics and the newly gained business background to create more values in society. As a Master of Management of “Innovation” student, innovation is important to me and will be what I continue to facilitate in my future career path.

We like to say that ICUBE helps businesses build a launching point for startups while helping them develop different sides of their business. I can honestly say ICUBE has made a launching off point for me too!  Looking forward to coming back as part of all the great events ICUBE will be hosting in the future!Jane Dong MMI




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