The University of New Brunswick dominated the regional Startup Canada awards for entrepreneurship Thursday night, with three of its innovators being recognized by the national organization for their commitment and achievement.
At a gala event at the Fredericton Convention Centre, UNB cybersecurity pioneer Dr. Ali Ghorbani was honoured by Startup Canada with its Senior Entrepreneur Award while Dr. Dhirendra Shukla, a driving force behind some of UNB’s most successful entrepreneurship programs, received the Entrepreneur Promotion Award.
Rounding out the university’s wins was Jordan Kennie, a graduate of UNB’s entrepreneurial programs and CEO of the Fredericton-based startup Stash Energy, who was saluted with the Young Entrepreneur Award.
“This is tremendous and well-deserved recognition for all three of these innovators at the University of New Brunswick,” said UNB President Eddy Campbell.
“We’re so very proud of Jordan, who has proven his mettle through the Summer Institute at UNB as well as our diploma and master’s programs in technology management and entrepreneurship. On top of all that, he earned a place as one of the first to be accepted into our new Energia Ventures accelerator,” Dr. Campbell said.
He hailed Dr. Ghorbani and Dr. Shukla as “two of the most hard-working and committed individuals I know.
“Ali and Dhirendra are outstanding researchers, dedicated teachers and incredible mentors,” Dr. Campbell said. “They’ve helped and inspired countless individuals pursue opportunity and innovation through entrepreneurship. I’m so pleased that Startup Canada has recognized them for their far-reaching influence and contributions.”
Dr. Ghorbani, director of the newly established Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity at UNB, adds the Startup Canada award to an impressive list of accolades.
Before founding the national institute, he served as dean of UNB’s faculty of computer science. He is the co-inventor on three awarded patents in network security and web intelligence and is the co-founder of two startups, Sentrant and Eyesover.
The holder of a Canada Research Chair in Cybersecurity, Dr. Ghorbani has developed a number of technologies adopted by high-tech companies, obtained more than $14 million in research funding and helped create a critical mass of IT professionals in cybersecurity, machine learning and data mining. He has published more than 250 peer-reviewed articles and has supervised more than 170 research associates, postdoctoral fellows and students.
Dr. Shukla, chair of the Dr. J. Herbert Smith Centre for Technology Management and Entrepreneurship at UNB, has been instrumental in the development and growth of some of the university’s most notable entrepreneurship programs, including the Summer Institute, the diploma and master’s level Technology Management and Entrepreneurship programs, and the Energia Ventures startup accelerator. More than 60 startups have emerged from those programs in just the last two years.
An engineer with an extensive career in both the private sector and academia, Dr. Shukla completed his PhD in entrepreneurial finance from King’s College, London. His current research interests are in venture capital, syndication, entrepreneurship and corporate finance.
Mr. Kennie, whose firm has created an energy storage solution that works with residential heat pumps in order to shift peak energy usage and optimize the use of renewable generators, is currently taking Stash Energy through UNB’s Energia Ventures accelerator and involved in a pilot project testing his firm’s technology in Summerside, PEI.
As regional winners, the UNB innovators are in the running for national awards in their respective categories. The national Startup Canada awards ceremony will be held in Ottawa on Oct. 19.
In 2014, UNB earned the national Startup Canada award for Most Entrepreneurial Post-Secondary Institution.
Media contact: David Stonehouse
Photo 1: Ali Ghorbani, director of the Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity at UNB (Joy Cummings / Photo UNB).
Photo 2: Jordan Kennie, a graduate of UNB’s entrepreneurial programs and CEO of Stash Energy. (Rob Blanchard / Photo UNB).
Photo 3: Dhirendra Shukla, chair of the Dr. J. Herbert Smith Centre for Technology Management and Entrepreneurship at UNB (Joy Cummings / Photo UNB).