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Monday, June 10 is the first convocation for York’s new Lassonde School of Engineering.
Sandra and Douglas Bergeron
Addressing students at the convocation is Douglas Bergeron, who will be receiving an honorary doctor of laws from York University for his outstanding contributions to business, technology and philanthropy. Bergeron graduated from York in 1983 with a degree in computer science. As part of Monday’s convocation, Bergeron will also present the inaugural Bergeron Medals of Distinction that are being awarded to the most promising entrepreneurs at the Lassonde School of Engineering.
Three Lassonde students Ahmed Amayem, Joshua Sideris and Ragavan Thurairatnam are the first recipients of this new medal created as part of Lassonde’s new BEST program – Bergeron Entrepreneurs in Science & Technology.
“The BEST program is designed to make sure our graduates won’t just get jobs, they’ll create jobs. Just like Douglas Bergeron, one of York’s greatest success stories, who we are very proud to welcome back today to inspire our students,” said Lassonde School Dean Janusz Kozinski.
“The inaugural BEST medal winners Ahmed, Josh and Ragavan are excellent examples of how our Lassonde students will combine engineering expertise with an entrepreneurial spirit to turn ideas into successful businesses,” he added.
Amayem, Sideris and Thurairatnam all excelled in an entrepreneurship course taught by Professor Moren Levesque from the Schulich School of Business.
“As engineers we don’t often talk about how an idea is going to make money, we talk about how it works. The most important lesson I’ve learned is that not everyone cares about how something works, what investors care about is how it’s going to make money,” said Sideris, who is co-founder (with Ragavan) of Phashtag, a new venture that enables firms to track images in social media. “I would recommend this course to anyone who has an interest in entrepreneurship or doesn’t know a lot about it. You might just find a passion for something that you didn’t know was there.”
Amayem is now working with colleagues to launch their venture isocrono – which is developing a real time collaborative Integrated Development Environment called ZapCode.
“I’m greatly appreciative of the opportunity I had to learn about and actually make a full business plan in the course. Our team is currently working on the business that we planned in the course and we’ll be launching a full product by the fall. Keep an eye out for isocrono!” said Amayem.
Founded by Douglas and Sandra Bergeron, the BEST program supports entrepreneurial programs and initiatives at Lassonde focused on enabling engineering students to develop business skills and understand what it takes to launch a start up enterprise.