CEO Message

With the introduction of a new product, the announcement of this year’s Impactful Actions Award, connecting with you through our newsletter, podcasts and participation in conferences, 2022 has been an eventful year for Profound Impact – one that we reflect on with pride. Our newsletter this month offers a reflection on highlights from 2022, introduces a new story of impact featuring Claudette McGowan, and explains how you can get involved in our 2nd annual giving campaign – the 12 Days of Impact.

In a recent team meeting, we revisited our mission statement: Connecting great people to do great things. In the 4+ years I have led Profound Impact, there has been plenty of change in the evolution of our products and the business itself, but our mission statement still holds true – it’s what guides our work daily and rallies our team towards results. Our mission has grown and evolved with us, which is a testament to its strength. Led by our mission, we approach 2023 with great energy on our path to create connection and profound impact. 

To the Profound Impact team and all members of our growing community, thank you for your support and engagement throughout the past year. We look forward to presenting the exciting initiatives Profound Impact has planned for 2023, including a new section in our newsletter focusing on ground-breaking researchers and research programs and new ways to connect great people to do great things.

All the best in the remaining weeks of 2022!

Sherry Shannon-Vanstone

CEO Message

October has traditionally been a busy month for conferences and meetings.  Of course, that all changed beginning in the spring of 2020, when pandemic restrictions caused meetings all over the world to be canceled and we all pivoted to virtual workshops, webinars, and fully online events.  As a company that connects great people to do great things, we were especially pleased to participate as sponsors and speakers at two in-person conferences in Toronto in October.

At the 2022 THINK Conference, Shawna Reibling, Knowledge Mobilization Officer at Wilfrid Laurier University, joined Brian Romansky, Profound Impact’s Chief Strategy Officer, to talk about the current state of communicating funding opportunities and how our Research Impact product works to resolve identified pain points in identifying and matching those opportunities with researchers.

The Profound Impact team is nearly 60% women, which is one of the reasons why we decided to sponsor and speak at CAN-CWiC, the premiere Canadian Computing Conference for Women in Technology that brings together researchers, students and companies from across Canada. Our team presented Research Impact to conference attendees and participated in the career fair to introduce students to employment opportunities at Profound Impact and leadership opportunities for women in STEM.

November brings us to the start of the Giving Season and we are pleased to present the second year of our 12 Days of Impact 2022 challenge, which launches on Giving Tuesday – November 29.  Profound Impact challenges you to think about the many ways to create social impact by helping a neighbour, donating blood, volunteering for your favourite cause, or thanking someone who is making an impact in your community, your research network or your organization.  Read more about the 12 Days of Impact in this newsletter to learn how you and your team can get involved!

And, speaking of social impact, this month’s Impact Story features Stephanie and Joe Mancini, founders of the Working Centre in downtown Kitchener, Ontario. The Mancinis started their work to address poverty and homelessness 40 years ago and continue to lead the Centre by example and through partnership with business, government, and funding agencies to spread their message of hope and commitment.

I am delighted that our Profound Impact team was able to meet with researchers, students, and university administrators from across Canada in October.  And, as

we all come back together in meetings, on campuses, in offices and research laboratories, and in gatherings of family and friends, we challenge you to think about how you can make a difference this Giving Season!

As always, we are thankful for your ongoing support and engagement.

Stephanie and Joe Mancini

Joe and Stephanie Mancini (photo courtesy of Tomasz Adamski Photography)

Founders, The Working Centre

When they graduated from St. Jerome’s University 40 years ago, during a global and local recession, Stephanie and Joe Mancini wanted to build a culture of service and a place of hospitality for people who were left out of work. They opened the Working Centre in downtown Kitchener in 1982 to offer career and job assistance.  Although times have changed, their mission hasn’t.  It has only expanded to meet the needs of the community. 

Joe and Stephanie met as high school students in their hometown of Hamilton. Joe was inspired by a presentation at his church about building windmills in Tanzania by a mission group called CPPS Mission Projects, a group of priests and brothers from Toronto seeking to involve young students in global relief work. It was not long before Joe and Stephanie joined CPPS and the next summer they were in central Tanzania villages to build windmills for clean water in villages. When they returned to Canada, Joe enrolled at Resurrection College at St. Jerome’s University to study philosophy and history in a priest formation program while Stephanie studied Religious Studies and English at McMaster University. Within months, they directed their time and efforts toward learning about international development and supporting the Tanzania project through fundraising and public education. Together, they realized that they could build upon their informed sense of social justice, and this has been at the core of the Mancini’s work over four decades.

As university students, Stephanie and Joe continued the international development work they started in Tanzania through their active involvement in the Global Community Centre, where they gained valuable experience in community building, and a growing commitment to learn about the community. When they graduated in 1982, already married, their focus turned from global to local issues as hundreds of people were affected by layoffs at Budd Automotive and Lear Canada. The Working Centre took shape as a place to learn about the meaning and structure of work by supporting the unemployed. Soon, St. John’s Kitchen opened to provide a place of community, to help those with food insecurity to prepare a daily meal and share it together, and to provide access to a range of supports and resources.

COVID-19 has exposed the growing homeless situation in Waterloo Region. The Working Centre sprang into action and, working with the Region of Waterloo, added 230 shelter and interim housing beds through three different projects.  As well, St. John’s Kitchen has become as vital as ever, providing daily shelter, access to meals, laundry, and washroom facilities. Over 400 people a day use the different services of St. John’s Kitchen. 

The Working Centre has consistently produced substantial results for the community in creative ways. Over the past ten years, the centre’s 100 – 120 workers have:

·         Built Community Tool projects like Recycle Cycles Community Bike Shop, Queen Street Commons Café, the Market Garden, Worth A Second Look Thrift Store and Computer Recycling that have created sustainable social enterprises that offer great pricing, opportunities for work, and building community.  

·         Created the Job Resource Centre, the most practical, helpful, and hospitable employment resource centre in the region, with a 95% positivity rate provided by users surveyed. Ten weekly volunteers assist 3,000 workers each year, with approximately 1,000 workers achieving 85% success in jobs or training and the remaining 2,000 making use of the resource centre in practical ways. 

·         Employed up to 40 people on a weekly basis in Job Cafe projects. 

·         Served 250 – 300 meals each day at St. John’s Kitchen, from Monday to Friday.  St. John’s Kitchen also provides public washrooms, showers, laundry, and food distribution. 

·         Established a medical clinic that operates three days per week, serves 300 people each year, and is staffed by one nurse, a full-time doctor, and a nurse practitioner.  In addition to the medical clinic, a Specialized Outreach Team, staffed by two teams, each consisting of a nurse and social worker, serve an additional 450 per year each year.  Finally, three downtown street outreach working with a team of 100 weekly volunteers, each working with a caseload of 250 per year.   

·         Provided 70 people with housing in 30 apartments and three houses. A quarter of these units have housed chronically homeless individuals. 

·         Established a Hospitality House to serve six homeless men with acute illnesses. 

·         Built and furnished Community Dental, a clinic staffed by volunteer dentists and seven weekly volunteers that supported about 200 people over its first three years of operation. 

As COVID-19 exacerbated inequities within the community and as the rate of homelessness continued to rise in Waterloo Region, the most vulnerable bore the greatest burdens. Joe and Stephanie Mancini did not shrink from this challenge – they stepped up to serve the community.  “Our work during the pandemic has been hard and deep, relentless and beautiful as we have stood with people who are left out in so many ways – of housing, indoor spaces, bathrooms, safety, and work,” says Stephanie. 

Joe and Stephanie Mancini have noticed a change in people’s understanding of work and the desire to be more impactful. In 2020/21, during the COVID shutdowns, the Working Centre trained 55 new employees who had lost jobs in hospitality, health care, and manufacturing to learn shelter work. This new kind of work is all about bringing your mind, heart, and action into your work every day, which can be hard. It is also where real and meaningful work happens.

The Working Centre has been built and is grounded on the notion of learning about, understanding, and bringing ethics into social issues. The centre has operated with the goals of:

·         Offering sustainable, reliable resources that are agile and responsive to change;

·         Building structures without overdeveloping those structures, and

·         Understanding and fostering local democracy in our community

These goals continue to inform the work that Stephanie and Joe Mancini and their teams do every day. Through trial and error, the Working Centre has built a grassroots organizational model that integrates the stability of the systems-world with the continual change and unpredictability of the life-world. 

The Working Centre has provided the opportunity for approximately 500 University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU) undergraduate students to study at their facilities over the past twelve years. Courses offered through Professor Ken Westhues from the University of Waterloo and the Community Engagement Option at WLU have incorporated meaningful discussion and coursework on The Working Centre’s philosophy and approach. When full-time undergraduates travel by bus or car to downtown Kitchener for one of their courses, it is an experience far beyond the realm of academic theory. While courses at the Working Centre don’t differ from those on campus in terms of readings and assignments required, the atmosphere is vastly different. Students receive first-hand experience with the programs of social development provided by the Working Centre while learning about the network of businesses, government agencies, and voluntary associations that form the fabric of Kitchener-Waterloo as a city and community.

Stephanie and Joe Mancini’s work has been greatly influenced by their personal experience in international development, their education at St. Jerome’s University, and the work of social justice activists like Dorothy Day, Ivan Illich, and Dom Hélder Câmara.  Their work in establishing, developing, and running the Working Centre and bridging academia with the community serves as a grassroots organizational model that integrates the stability of the systems-world with the continual change and unpredictability of the life-world. These practices have been central in the profound impact the Mancinis have made in offering vital resources for four decades.

Do you have an impact story to share? Let us know at connections@profoundimpact.com for a chance to be featured in an upcoming newsletter!

CEO Message

I’d like to start by thanking everyone who joined us on September 14 for the third annual Profound Impact Day! We have been building a strong community of supporters over the years and I can’t thank you enough for being such an important part of our impact story.This year, on Profound Impact Day 2022, our team launched Research Impact, a unique and targeted service to automatically match grants to researchers. The Profound Impact team launched Research Impact to solve the challenge of clumsy, manual systems that aren’t digitally enabled to deliver fast, accurate matching capabilities.  

Profound Impact’s unveiling of Research Impact in 2022 follows the launch of Career Impact in 2021, and 2020’s Connection Impact, all of which utilized data driven solutions to support organizations looking to make an impact. Each step in Profound Impact’s evolution remains deeply founded in the academic community while honing in on the most persistent challenge to solve. Our team looks forward to growing our Research Impact pilot project to bring our proprietary algorithms to universities around the world! 

As Profound Impact continues to accelerate forward, I had the opportunity to sit down with the Startup Canada Podcast to discuss the company’s journey, the importance of women and their contributions to STEM, and my experience as a leader and entrepreneur in the tech industry. I can’t wait to share this episode with you. 

This month, the Profound Impact team is attending two conferences. The annual THINK Conference (October 19-20) and the CAN-CWiC Canadian computing conference for Women in Technology (October 21-22). We look forward to meeting you there! 

This month’s Impact Story highlights the amazing story of Kehkashan Basu, M.S.M. who was the winner of this year’s Impactful Actions Award. At just 22 years old, Basu has already made a tremendous impact on our world. We were so inspired by her work through her organization, Green Hope Foundation, and know that you will be too!  

September 14 was and always will be a day to remember and reflect. Your support made recognizing global leaders and changemakers both powerful and memorable! 

As always, we are thankful for your ongoing support and engagement.

Kehkashan Basu

Kehkashan Basu, MS.M.

Founder/President, Green Hope Foundation

A humanitarian with a passion for empowering vulnerable communities, Kehkashan Basu, M.S.M., founded her own charitable organization at the age of 12 in Toronto, Ontario. Now, 10 years later, Green Hope Foundation works across 26 countries, helping more than 300,000 vulnerable women and girls live in a world where all voices are valued. Basu believes that every child has the right to education regardless of their gender, to a clean environment, and the freedom to decide their own destiny.

“I started at a time when advocacy for sustainable development didn’t involve the people who should be included in the process,” Basu said. “I really wanted to change that. Green Hope Foundation came about to address this lack of inclusivity. Over the last decade, working with my team on the ground, as well as engaging with those at the highest levels of policymaking, we’ve really seen our impact grow.”

Basu said Green Hope Foundation is focused on three pillars: sustainability, society and environment. They follow an intersectional approach, recognizing all three pillars in their work. 

“The first actions we really took were with education for sustainable development, reaching out to schools and trying to get children involved,” Basu said. “We also got involved in ground level actions, like tree planting and conducting clean ups.”

Basu started her advocacy journey by planting a tree on her eighth birthday, which falls on June 5: World Environment Day. The United Nations noticed her work and invited Basu to speak at one of the largest sustainable development conferences at the time, Rio+20, in 2012. 

“I grew up seeing my parents giving back to people and the planet their whole lives,” Basu said. “I thought everyone was doing something good for the environment and for their community. But, slowly and steadily, I realized there were a lot of other inequities in our world. There was a tremendous lack of inclusivity of children and women in achieving a sustainable world.” 

Green Hope Foundation has seen a tremendous amount of growth since it began a decade ago. The group has planted 950,000 trees so far and hopes to hit 1 million by the end of the year. 

“We are learning and growing every single day,” Basu said. “We understand that our work can really never stop. Even if we do achieve a sustainable world, we have to do something to maintain that.”

In 2015, Green Hope Foundation installed solar panels to an area in western India with no access to electricity. The panels are still in use today, and have helped the area thrive.

“We have an energy system that enables farming, we have a full solar grid for their schools,” Basu said. “The children, and the girls specifically, are getting lessons in STEM in a solar-powered computer lab.”

The organization plans to continue expanding into the future, upscaling current projects and thinking of new ways to engage. “We want to continue to educate the younger generation about why it’s important to care for the community and the planet,” Basu said. 

Basu received her undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto, majoring in environmental studies and minoring in women and gender studies and physical and environmental geography. “Those subjects were a no-brainer for me,” she said. “I wanted to get a degree in something that I was passionate about.” Now, Basu is in her first year of her MBA at Cornell University. By specializing in business, she hopes to engage the private sector in the work of Green Hope Foundation in the future. 

Last month, Basu was named the winner of the 2022 Impactful Actions Award, an annual award presented by Profound Impact™ Corporation to recognize individuals who are inspiring collaborative solutions to difficult global problems.

“It’s a huge honour,” Basu said. “I really like that it’s focused on impact, because it’s a motivation for me to continue to do more, create more impact and inspire others.”

You can see highlights of Basu’s education and accomplishments in the visualizations below:

You can see highlights of the work of Green Hope Foundation in the visualizations below:

Do you have an impact story to share? Let us know at connections@profoundimpact.com for a chance to be featured in an upcoming newsletter!

CEO Message

As the last of our summer long weekends leave us, it’s time to refocus on the academic year ahead. September often represents a time of new personal growth and academic acceleration, which reminds our Profound Impact team about why we started this journey in the first place! The collective impact of researchers around the globe gives us the inspiration to follow our passions in life and work hard on what matters most. Profound Impact is a tribute to exactly that. If you’re looking for the best grants for your research, let us find the perfect match! Our latest product, Research Impact, matches researchers with the right grants and funding to ensure you’ll have the support you need to complete your project. 

Building on the energy we feel each September, we invite you to save the date for Profound Impact Day on September 14th! Profound Impact Day is celebrated annually to honour my late husband, Professor Scott A. Vanstone, on his birthday. We hope you can join us as we acknowledge and celebrate everyone who is making impactful advancements in their fields of expertise. 

Also on September 14th, we will announce the winner of the second annual Impactful Actions Award! For this award, we received nominations from leaders making a profound impact on the global community and inspiring collaborative solutions to difficult problems. We have profiled our top three finalists in this month’s Impact Story. Tune in on Profound Impact Day to find out who will take home the 2022 Impactful Actions Award. Our finalists, Kehkashan Basu, M.S.M., Dr. Mona Nemer, and Dr. Neil Turok, are inspirations to all of us and a reminder of the difference we can make in our world. 

Before signing off, I’d like to take a moment to thank the Profound Impact team for their ongoing dedication to our mission.  We have started our new fiscal year with plenty of exciting conversations about what’s ahead. 

As always, we are thankful for your ongoing support and engagement.

Sherry Shannon-Vanstone

Impactful Actions Award Finalists

Environmental activists, scientists, and government advocates – the finalists for the 2022 Impactful Actions Award are global leaders exemplifying collaboration while making a positive impact on the world around us. The Impactful Actions Award is presented annually and celebrates individuals who inspire collaborative solutions to difficult global problems.

We’d like to introduce this year’s finalists (in alphabetical order) and provide three short stories of impact. The winner will be announced on September 14th at the 3rd annual Profound Impact Day. 

L-R (In Alphabetic Order) Kekashan Basu, M.S.M., Dr. Mona Nemer, Dr. Neil Turok

Kehkashan Basu, M.S.M.

Kehkashan Basu, M.S.M., began her commitment to making the world a better place when she was a child. 

“When I was seven, I saw an image of a dead bird with its belly full of plastic. That was very disturbing to me,” Basu said. “I realized that I had to do something to stop that from happening again.” 

She planted her first tree at eight years old and founded her own humanitarian organization, the Green Hope Foundation, at the age of 12. The foundation is now celebrating its 10th anniversary.

“I wanted to be able to bridge that lack of inclusivity and really empower those who don’t have access to bringing about change in their own spheres of influence,” Basu said. 

The Green Hope Foundation is a global social enterprise working across 26 countries impacting more than 300,000 people. The group works closely with vulnerable communities, bringing them education for sustainable development, and turning that education into ground-level actions focused on water, sanitation, clean energy and food security. 

“Overall, we’re working to create an equal and peaceful society so that we are able to really leave no one behind and ensure a life of dignity for all,” Basu said. 

Mentorship and collaboration are at the heart of Green Hope Foundation’s work. “You can’t do this on your own,” Basu said. “You need to be able to work with others, share best practices, see where they’re succeeding, and learn from that as well. It’s really about joining hands to bring our effort together, because at the end of the day, it’s our common humanity, it’s our common planet.”

Basu hopes her work through Green Hope Foundation will continue to inspire people to give back to their community and protect the planet. “We want the Green Hope Foundation to be in every country, ensuring we’re able to change the mindsets of those all across society.”

The visualization below showcases Basu’s past accomplishments and awards:

Dr. Mona Nemer

A leader in providing scientific advice for policy development, Dr. Mona Nemer was named Chief Science Advisor to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2017. In her role, Dr. Nemer helps to ensure that science is taken into consideration in government decision-making.

“Increasing the visibility and understanding of science is an important aspect of the work of my office, as it helps provide people with the tools they need to make good decisions for their lives,” Dr. Nemer said. 

As Chief Science Advisor, Dr. Nemer is responsible for offering expert advice on key scientific issues. She also assesses how the federal government supports quality scientific research and recommends ways to improve that support. “Science is our best tool for understanding and being able to make predictions about the world,” she said. 

Prior to taking on the role of Chief Science Advisor, Dr. Nemer was Vice President of Research and Director of the Molecular Genetics and Cardiac Regeneration Laboratory at the University of Ottawa. A leader in molecular cardiology, Dr. Nemer has discovered several genes associated with development and function of the heart. Her research has contributed to further development of diagnostic testing for heart failure and genetic birth defects. 

Dr. Nemer has served on multiple national and international advisory committees and boards, including as an Executive Committee Member of the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force. Dr. Nemer put together the COVID-19 expert panel, bringing together researchers and practitioners to provide multidisciplinary advice on aspects of the covid pandemic from infectious disease research and disease modelling to behavioural sciences. The panel helped to bring emerging scientific information about COVID-19 to the Prime Minister and Cabinet in a timely manner to ensure Canada was handling the pandemic in the most effective way possible.

“We saw scientists step up and not only provide advice to governments, but communicate and explain science to the public on a variety of issues,” Dr. Nemer said. “That is because there was really no aspect to the health crisis that shouldn’t be informed by science.”

Dr. Nemer’s work has expanded and diversified scientific advice provided to the federal government by establishing a multidisciplinary network of federal scientific advisors. She worked to help create the Interdepartmental Indigenous STEM Cluster to inform and advance Indigenous innovation in natural science stewardship. Dr. Nemer has a strong commitment to educating the next generation of scientists, supervising more than 100 graduate and postgraduate students around the world during her time in academics. Now, as Chief Science Advisor, she continues to help develop young scientific minds through her pan-Canadian youth council, which provides evidence-based input on scientific issues affecting young people.

The visualization below showcases Dr. Nemer’s past accomplishments and awards:

Dr. Neil Turok 

After spending years as a theoretical physicist, Dr. Neil Turok wanted to do something to give back to his home continent and to the global scientific community. Nearly two decades ago, he was prompted by his father to write up a concept note describing his idea for a new kind of centre for advanced scientific training, in Africa. The note was shared with a range of interested parties and the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) was born. Dr. Turok, now the Higgs Chair of Theoretical Physics at the University of Edinburgh, was a Professor at the University of Cambridge when AIMS’ first centre was launched in Cape Town, South Africa.

“As a theoretical physicist and a cosmologist, I don’t exactly work on useful things. I work on what happened at the Big Bang and where the universe is going,” Dr. Turok said. “Just about the only useful thing I could do was teach people math, computing and related skills.”

Students travel from across Africa to take part in the program, where they learn from the best lecturers from around the world. Now, more than 19 years since its inception, AIMS graduates over 350 students at Master’s level each year, at centres in Cameroon, Ghana, Rwanda, Senegal and South Africa.

“As soon as we started, we were overwhelmed with the enthusiasm of the students,” Dr. Turok said. “They said, ‘this is a totally life-changing experience.’ And then all of the international lecturers who came to teach them said, ‘this is the best teaching experience I’ve ever had, because suddenly I’m with these super enthusiastic students from many different cultures and backgrounds.’”

Spots at AIMS are fully funded, including travel, medical insurance, accommodation and tuition. Students make meaningful connections with like-minded scientists around the world. Most go on to lecturing positions at African universities or into industry.

“These students come, in general, from very disadvantaged backgrounds. They come to us because they can’t afford to pay for a scholarship to go overseas to Europe or the U.S. for further study,” Dr. Turok said. “AIMS provides an environment where they can really thrive.”

Dr. Turok said AIMS plans to create five more centres in the next 10 years, scaling up its postgraduate training and research as well as teacher training and STEM high school programs. Dr. Turok predicts a wave of highly motivated young African scientists entering and positively impacting global science. 

The visualization below showcases Dr. Turok’s past accomplishments and awards:

Do you have an impact story to share? Let us know at connections@profoundimpact.com for a chance to be featured in an upcoming newsletter!

CEO Message

Across Canada, many of us are astonished that summer (aka “construction season”) is quickly passing us by and the academic year will soon be in full swing! August is often a time to rest and recharge before jumping into the next exciting part of life’s journey. With travel becoming more accessible, we hope that you are enjoying a change of scenery within our own country and beyond. 

Speaking of travel and global mobility, we dove deep into  Kitchener-Waterloo’s tech hub for our Impact Story this month, featuring Accelerator Centre CEO, Jay Krishnan. From his global perspective, Krishan shared his goals to take the region and the Accelerator Centre global to generate demand and discoverability of tech developed in Waterloo. 

I also sat down with “Canada’s tech supercharger,” Communitech. As a female founder, I was thrilled to talk about my experiences, how I was inspired to keep going instead of retiring, and what drove me to leave Silicon Valley and start Profound Impact in Canada instead. Read on to check out my interview and learn more about why Profound Impact was created, what it is today, and where we plan to take it in the future. 

I’m excited to say we’ve received outstanding nominations for the Profound Impact™ Impactful Actions Award. We can’t wait to share the nominees with you! Save the dates – our finalists will be announced on August 15th, and we’ll share the winner on September 14th, our 3rd annual Profound Impact Day!

As always, we are thankful for your ongoing support and engagement.

Sherry Shannon-Vanstone 

Jay Krishnan

Jay Krishnan

CEO, Accelerator Centre

An innovative thinker with a global mindset, Jay Krishnan believes that the time to invest in Waterloo Region’s ambitious tech entrepreneurs is now. Krishnan, who has more than 20 years of global experience working with businesses in the startup space, took over the role of CEO at the Accelerator Centre in March of 2021 and he’s determined to uncover entrepreneurs who have what it takes to be successful on the world’s stage. Before coming to Waterloo, Krishnan was a General Partner at Mantra Capital and the first CEO at T-Hub, India’s largest startup incubator. He was drawn to Waterloo Region because of the high potential tech talent that is relatively undiscovered on a global scale. 

“Any ecosystem needs to have momentum, density, and diversity, and I think Waterloo has all these three,” Krishnan said. “It still remains untapped, as seen through the lens of the global perspective.”

Krishnan is at the centre of many moving pieces in Waterloo’s tech ecosystem. He believes the region has high-pedigree institutions, producing talented individuals who may not have the tools they need to commercialize their ideas. That’s where the Accelerator Centre comes in to help. “The Accelerator Centre, as an organization, is truly positioned to be in the centre of the track for these companies,” Krishnan said. The organization works closely with founders who may not have the business experience or support to find success on their own, offering support through various programs. 

“Our goal is to take the region and the Accelerator Centre global to generate demand and discoverability of tech developed in Waterloo to the world,” Krishnan said. “We don’t need to confine ourselves to Canada. If anything, I think COVID demonstrated that we can go global by hanging out on the internet.”

Businesses coming to the Accelerator Centre can access a variety of programs, including incubation, story acceleration, and the recently announced AC:Studio program, which focuses on the entrepreneur first before the tech to build-up strong founders and teams. The Accelerator Centre offers in-person and virtual events, funding opportunities, product launch support and mentorship. Companies looking to enter Canada can also do so with support from the team of experts at the Accelerator Centre and by accessing Canada’s Start-Up Visa program. “It really depends on where you are as a company in your lifecycle,” Krishnan said. “We have structured programming that helps you along your journey,” Krishnan said. This structured programming includes high-touch mentorship to help companies with their business ideas and commercialization. The Accelerator Centre also helps generate demand and discoverability for science and tech clients in Waterloo Region.

The Accelerator Centre is working on a key initiative that will make it the most inclusive startup ecosystem in the world. The centre’s EDI plan, a two-year initiative, is fully available to the public and includes internal teams, board members, mentorship models, and entrepreneur programs. “You have to make yourself accountable and transparent,” Krishnan said. 

Heading into the future, Krishnan believes Waterloo Region’s tech talent is poised to lead in the new post-pandemic reality. “If we have the capability, and we do, there should be no reason why we are not appealing to the world.” Jay’s unique entrepreneur-first approach and the raw talent within Waterloo Region make a perfect pairing for global impact.

The visualizations below show Krishnan’s career highlights, along with some of the businesses he’s worked with since joining the Accelerator Centre in 2021.

Do you have an impact story to share? Let us know at connections@profoundimpact.com for a chance to be featured in an upcoming newsletter!

CEO Message

Welcome to the July edition of our Profound Connections newsletter. As we complete the first half of the calendar year, I hope everyone can take some time to enjoy the summer, rest, and recharge, bringing new energy to the second half of 2022. This month, as the focus of our July Impact story, we were honoured to speak with Dr. Charmaine Dean, Vice President of Research & International at the University of Waterloo. Dr. Dean is a leading researcher in disease mapping innovation and a fellow CANARIE board member with me. I am certain you will enjoy learning about Dr. Dean’s local and global impact.

We also continue to collect nominations for the Profound Impact™ Impactful Actions Award. This annual awards program honours individuals who are making a profound impact using collaborative approaches to solve difficult problems in areas such as education, innovation, research, entrepreneurism, EDI, social impact and environment. Award nominees exemplify what it means to impact the global community as leaders, mentors, researchers, inventors, activists and change agents in their own organizations and within their community as a whole.

This is a tremendous opportunity to nominate an unsung hero who is passionate about making a difference, working to make the world a better place, mentoring the next generation of leaders, inventing new ways to solve problems, or simply making a positive impact on people’s everyday lives. I invite you to nominate yourself or someone you know who should be recognized for their impact. Nominations are open until midnight on July 20th.

As always, we are thankful for your ongoing support and engagement.

Sherry Shannon-Vanstone