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Ontario Tech acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

Learn more about Indigenous Education and Cultural Services

Ontario Tech’s Brilliant Catalyst expands engagement and impact

Brilliant Catalyst’s second anniversary showcases student-entrepreneur teams helping drive innovative change and growth in Durham Region

Screen-capture image of Brilliant Catalyst's second anniversary virtual event (November 19, 2020).
Screen-capture image of Brilliant Catalyst's second anniversary virtual event (November 19, 2020).

One of the signature components of the educational experience at Ontario Tech University is the opportunity to apply knowledge in real-world environments. 

While experiential learning is embedded in the senior years of most undergraduate programs at Ontario Tech, many students also seek to take their entrepreneurial skills to the next level through extracurricular means offered by Brilliant Catalyst.

As the only university-based startup incubator in Durham Region, Brilliant Catalyst helps students generate and develop new business ideas. As a pan-faculty experiential learning hub, Brilliant Catalyst also provides unique opportunities for interdisciplinary student teams to create innovative solutions for industry in the community. Brilliant participants gain entrepreneurial and problem-solving capacity and develop the ‘soft’ skills integral to successful business management and operations.

Ontario Tech students who come through Brilliant Catalyst emerge further prepared for the workplace and uniquely positioned with knowledge and expertise from mentors to help them meet industry, community and government needs.

Second anniversary celebration

Brilliant Catalyst marked its second anniversary on November 19 during Global Entrepreneurship Week, and as a part of the Do It In Durham celebration. Brilliant Catalyst used the opportunity to share a few of the stories of student startup successes and industry challenges solved, in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic. The virtual celebration attracted an audience of 40 Brilliant supporters, mentors and advisors from inside the university and across the broader community.   

The success stories illustrate Ontario Tech’s strengths in a variety of digital competencies including artificial intelligence, virtual reality, digitization of information, electronics and software, as well expertise in areas ranging from legal services to automotive to health. Teams and companies involved faculty members, PhD students, undergraduates and alumni coming together to create innovative change.    

Brilliant Catalyst is proud of the resilience of Ontario Tech’s students, faculty and staff as they step up to participate, innovate, pivot and adapt during this difficult time of COVID-19.

Brilliant Catalyst student spotlights

Here are a few examples of students who described their life-changing experiences with Brilliant Catalyst during the second anniversary (virtual) event:

Shanjay Kailayanathan, a fourth-year Software Engineering student in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, shared his journey with Brilliant to create his company Axcessiom. Shanjay began with an idea, inspired to solve a problem arising from his personal experience as a quadriplegic. Today Axcessiom is designing a Driver Assistance System that will allow people with disabilities to control the secondary functions of their vehicles safely and effectively. Axcessiom received $76,000 from the Community Foundations of Canada Investment Readiness program and has received support and guidance from many in the Brilliant and the Durham entrepreneurship ecosystem. 

Ashley Montgomery, a fourth-year year Legal Studies student in the Faculty of Social Science and Humanities, spoke of the valuable experience she gained working on a project with Software Engineering students to create a digitized intake process for the Durham Community Legal Clinic (DCLC). She used her in-depth knowledge of legal clinics to assist the software team, and in turn learned new skills from other members on the team. DCLC Executive Director Omar Ha-Redeye explained how much a digitized intake process helped with the physical distancing required during the current COVID-19 outbreak, as well as the longer-term potential of this process to be rolled out across the province to other community legal clinics to improve service.

Ben Sainsbury, CEO of Marion Surgical and a Computer Science PhD candidate in the Faculty of Science, showcased his virtual reality hardware and software designed to train surgeons. Beginning just five years ago, Marion Surgical now has one simulator available for sale in a number of countries and two more in development. Marion Surgical is helping to change the face of training for surgeons. 

How to connect with Brilliant Catalyst