Hi! My name is Madeline Minnes, I am a third-year Science and Business student at the University of Waterloo minoring in Economics. My past co-op experience working for a start-up accelerator brought me to work part-time for KPM-Accelerate at the start of 2021 while developing their chem-tech ecosystem database. The amount I learned, exciting projects, and problem-solving opportunities I had while working part-time made me choose to work for them full-time during my co-op term this summer.
One of my favourite things about working for KPM-Accelerate is the fact that I am always learning something new. As a science student, I was immediately inspired to see so many of the concepts I have learned about during my degree being applied on such a large scale in KPM’s labs! Challenging my previous outlook regarding what chemistry looks like in industry application. In the last three weeks alone I have seen incredible diversity in the start-ups that rely on chem-tech or deep-tech, while also noting the lack of support available to them in Canada. Having spent hours researching and analyzing the global ecosystem, it is evident that such support is concentrated in Europe. It is also increasingly clear that a lot of science being developed in labs across Canada has the potential to make a positive impact if commercialized, but needs help to do so. Being a part of the gap in support that the KPM-Accelerate Team provides for these start-ups, and seeing the change they make possible, is inspiring to be involved in. In addition to these realizations, I have also had the opportunity to learn from the experienced team to develop skills that are unique to the industry. Including conducting techno-economic analysis', familiarizing myself with ISO and IEEE regulatory requirements, attending the Chemical Ventures Conference, and learning how to conduct life cycle assessments (LCA).
In summary, the first month of my co-op at KPM-Accelerate has been full of learning opportunities and chances to make an impact. I cannot wait to continue the rest of my co-op, serve our start-up clients and further develop as a project coordinator!