Neuroscience-entrepreneurship enthusiasts joined Campus Alberta Neuroscience (CAN) this summer for two sessions of a brand new event series, “Neuro-preneurs: A Research to Impact Conversation”. The series gave neuroscience and mental health entrepreneurs from the Universities of Alberta, Calgary, and Lethbridge a virtual stage to highlight their successes and share some wisdom with aspiring neuro-preneurs.
July 20, 2022
First Neuro-preneur Conversations ‘exceeded expectations’ with ‘excellent speakers’ and ‘relatable stories’
Neuroscience-entrepreneurship enthusiasts joined Campus Alberta Neuroscience (CAN) this summer for two sessions of a brand new event series, Neuro-preneurs: A Research to Impact Conversation. The series gave neuroscience and mental health entrepreneurs from the Universities of Alberta, Calgary, and Lethbridge a virtual stage to highlight their successes and share some wisdom with aspiring neuro-preneurs.
Each Conversations session took place over a lunchtime livestream, featuring a panel of three neuro-preneurs moderated by accomplished researcher and innovator Dr. Vivian Mushahwar (University of Alberta, SMART Network). A total of six alumni from CAN’s entrepreneurship seed grant program shared their perspectives:
- Dr. Matthew Tata (Reverb Robotics, University of Lethbridge)
- Dr. Richard Wilson (AazeinTx Inc., University of Calgary)
- Dr. Deborah Kurrasch (Path Therapeutics Inc., University of Calgary)
- Dr. Aaron Phillips (University of Calgary)
- Mr. Simba Nyazika (Lenica Research Group, University of Alberta)
- Wendy Muise (Breast Buds, University of Lethbridge)
Some Conversations Takeaways
- Believing in yourself is imperative to finding success.
- There are endless drivers for the decision to follow a new direction and make a difference.
- Following your passion requires resilience.
- Personal experience can be leveraged to analyze problems and create solutions.
- There are a variety of strategies to narrow your target audience and specialize your product to their needs.
The value of Conversations
The informal style of the Conversations provided a more approachable and personal atmosphere compared to conventional in-person seminars, which fostered deep discussions about the experience of entrepreneurship. The online format allowed for a wider pool of speaker perspectives, providing as much value as could fit into an hour. Featured neuro-preneurs were from academics, tech, and business, with work in pharmaceuticals, robotics, mobile apps, and therapeutics. This variety in backgrounds meant that the shared perspectives sustained relevance to more than just neuroscientists; it showed that anyone can dive into the neuro-preneur journey.
While the event was targeted to Albertans, the actual audience was global. Attendees hailed from other provinces in Canada and as far as Cairo and Bangkok. In the campaign to raise Alberta to the top of the international neuroscience hub, events like this surely make good headway.
These Conversations provide a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs, students, and others within the neuroscience community to learn from peers who have found success as neuro-preneurs. The potential for future events is endless: more inspirational Conversations with neuro-preneurs, or perhaps educational Conversations with researchers on specialized topics - maybe even Conversations spotlighting perspectives from people with lived experience. Who knows what could be next!