Zule Ankamah, Wen Teoh, Susan R. CrystalVentureWomen program member Zule Ankamah, founder of the Ghanaian restaurant Zuleeats, and EPICentre director Wen Teoh meet with U.S. consul general Susan R. Crystal.

Consular visit showcases regional partnerships

On Wednesday, Aug. 3, the U.S. consul general in Toronto, Susan R. Crystal, stopped by the Entrepreneurship, Practice and Innovation Centre (EPICentre) during her Windsor-Essex visit to discuss challenges, priorities, and opportunities in the region as a pivotal function of the bilateral relationship between the United States and Canada.

The consul general and her team received a warm welcome from University of Windsor staff upon their arrival at EPICentre. Crystal met with UWindsor president Robert Gordon, followed by a roundtable discussion with Irek Kusmierczyk, Member of Parliament for Windsor-Tecumseh, and officials from the U.S. consulate, the University of Windsor, and WEtech Alliance.

“It was a privilege to be able to sit down with consul general Crystal on the University of Windsor campus,” said Dr. Gordon. “Being able to showcase a few of the initiatives and partnerships that UWindsor has to offer couldn’t have come at a better time, as exciting things are happening both on campus and in the Windsor-Essex region.”

The meeting included discussions on regional issues such as the state of entrepreneurship in Windsor, economic and academic relationships with Windsor-Detroit, cross-border research, and the University of Windsor’s student pipeline to the talent workforce. The consul general also had the opportunity to visit the Traffic Lab at the Cross-Border Institute and learn more about their initiatives to improve traffic performance at the Canada-U.S. border crossings.

“Visiting the University of Windsor and learning how the institution plays such an integral role in empowering the Windsor-Essex community is truly impressive, particularly your focus on supporting women’s full and equal participation in the workforce. The Windsorites we met truly understand and value the interconnectedness of our two countries,” said Crystal.

During her visit, the consul general had the opportunity to meet many of the local startups currently participating in programs offered at the EPICentre. Entrepreneurs were able to speak to the her about their businesses, what they’ve been working on, and how EPICentre has helped them on their journey. VentureWomen program member Zule Ankamah, founder of Zuleeats, received a special visit in her restaurant from the consul general and her team at the end of their Windsor-Essex stay.

The Consul General’s office continues to support local initiatives in entrepreneurship, including EPICentre’s Entrepreneurship SpeakHER Series — a virtual speaker and networking series that aims to empower post-secondary students, especially women, to consider entrepreneurship as a potential career path — as well as WEtech Alliance’s Canada/US Power Panel, a program that aims to expand mentorship and strategic connection opportunities for women-owned technology and innovation companies in Southwestern Ontario.

—Layan Barakat