My name is Justin Leushner and I have the privilege of taking on the role of Vice President, Operations and Startup Services here at TechAlliance. Over the last few years I have worked with TechAlliance as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) supporting companies in the health, information technology, cleantech and social innovation sectors. As an EIR, I have seen how TechAlliance has had a positive and energizing impact on the startup ecosystem and economic development across Southwestern Ontario.
It is the sum of this knowledge, experience and expertise that I hope I can tap into as I continue to help businesses in our region through this new role.
Prior to my EIR role at TechAlliance, I had the good fortune to work with national and international business and technology leaders to establish and manage successful businesses and programs that have created jobs and propelled innovation. Having witnessed the great potential in the knowledge-based economy, as well as investing in it, I know firsthand the challenges as well as the tremendous opportunities in commercializing technology based businesses.
Our region has incredible potential to benefit from some of these opportunities, and I hope that together we can work to overcome the challenges that may lie in that path.
I’m excited to join the team and look forward to contributing to great initiatives already in the works. In the short term we will be establishing a new mentorship program, which will give entrepreneurs the opportunity to present to a group of seasoned business people for insights and advice on a specific challenge. It’s also an opportunity for some of our established local businesses to connect with TechAlliance and experience firsthand some of what we do every day with startups.
Also quickly approaching in the first week of October is Entrepreneur 1.0, a 10 week business boot camp course that equips entrepreneurs with the tools and knowledge they need to start successful companies in the tech sector.
In addition we are gearing up for National Biotech week from September 30 – October 2. This week will include a panel discussion on industry-academic collaborations, BIOlympics, Munchies with Mentors, and a Secondary School Biotech Awareness Campaign.
Looking at the longer term we will also continue to expand our mandate to not only assist with startup companies, but also help small to medium enterprises (SME’s) through our EIR program.
I am eager and excited to help grow and support each of these programs and events.
I inherited this role from a great friend and colleague, Ian Haase, who has given me every opportunity to grow, learn, and succeed here at TechAlliance. I hope I can follow in his footsteps and afford the staff I will be working with these same opportunities. Ian and I will continue to work closely together through his new role as the Director of Student Entrepreneurship at Western, and I look forward to further strengthening the ecosystem together.
And in addition to working with former staff, I am most excited to be part of the TechAlliance team. When I arrived on my first day, my office was elaborately decorated with a theme dear to my heart. I knew then that I had made the right choice. After all it’s the people you work with that make all the difference in a new job.
I look forward to the challenge of working with the larger community to build and grow innovative companies, creating jobs and economic wins into the future.