Georgian College and the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation have announced a wide-ranging series of programs and activities designed to encourage and support student and youth entrepreneurship across central Ontario.
The initiative was unveiled at a gathering of entrepreneurs at Georgian’s Barrie Campus on Oct. 7.
Funding of $200,000 is being provided by the On Campus Entrepreneurship Activities program, through the Ontario Centres of Excellence. This amount will be matched by Georgian College. The program will be co-ordinated through Georgian’s Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre.
Daiene Vernile, MPP and Parliamentary Assistant to Reza Moridi, Ontario’s Minister of Research and Innovation, and Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, attended the event on behalf of the minister.
“Fostering the entrepreneurial spirit among students is a key component of Ontario’s Youth Jobs Strategy, through programs that help transfer their ideas and skills to the marketplace while creating rewarding careers. By partnering with colleges and universities to support entrepreneurship, we are ensuring our province’s business leaders of tomorrow are getting the support they need to succeed today,” says Moridi.
“Ontario Centres of Excellence is pleased to be able to deliver this project as a trusted partner of the Government of Ontario. I look forward to putting our years of experience in connecting academia and industry, and our on-going support of young entrepreneurs to good use in making this initiative a tremendous success,” says Dr. Tom Corr, President and CEO of Ontario Centres of Excellence.
MaryLynn West-Moynes, Georgian College CEO and President, says the initiative is extremely important to Georgian and the communities it serves.
“As a postsecondary leader in entrepreneurship education, Georgian is proud to launch this initiative,” says West-Moynes. “This forms part of our ongoing commitment to accelerating the success of students and youth on our campuses and in our communities.”
Over the next two years, Georgian will focus on six key areas to engage students and young people, foster a culture of entrepreneurship, and support innovation and new business development.
- A program will encourage youth through the process of creating a business idea and developing a business plan.
- An accompanying tool kit will support the process and allow virtual collaboration among youth entrepreneurs across Central Ontario and the world.
- Seminars, discussions, mentorship and idea exchanges will be offered over Georgian’s videoconferencing network that connects Barrie, Collingwood, Midland, Muskoka, Orangeville, Orillia and Owen Sound.
- Georgian will encourage community businesses to invest in the creation of new entrepreneurship hubs and changemaker spaces where many of the new activities and programs will be held and where students and youth will work together and be mentored.
- Entrepreneurship boot camps and startup weekends will be held on campuses in Collingwood, Owen Sound, Midland and Orillia over the next two years.
- Annual innovation showcases will allow students in numerous academic areas to feature their products to the public.