Hub at college will increase access to mentors
Niagara College will launch a new hub that will expand and enhance the college’s entrepreneurship activities.
The hub will embed a spirit of entrepreneurship across all college programs and activities, while enhancing the student experience by increasing access to experts, mentors, events and opportunities on campus and in the community, the college said in a release.
The project will be supported by a $200,000 grant from Ontario’s On-Campus Entrepreneurship Activities program, managed by Ontario Centres of Excellence and matched by Niagara College, a member of the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs.
“Led jointly by Niagara College’s Business, Hospitality and Environment, and Media, Trades and Technology divisions, this project will collaborate with several existing resource centres for entrepreneurs in Niagara, including Innovate Niagara, Start-Up Niagara, St. Catharines Enterprise Centre, Job Gym in Welland and Brock University,” said the release.
It will also leverage the synergies that exist with college’s Research and Innovation Division.
“A thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem exists here at Niagara College and across the region, and this hub will tap into it to the benefit of our students and local business,” said Vivian Kinnaird, Niagara College’s dean of Business, Hospitality and Environment.
“This is an initiative that reflects our commitment to provide unique learning environments that are directly linked to our regional economy, and driven by entrepreneurial thinking.”
Activities delivered through the hub will be aimed at all college program areas, and will include workshops; clubs; pitch competitions; entrepreneurs-in-residence; mentorship panels and more.
“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,” said Reza Moridi, Ontario’s minister of Training, Colleges and Universities.
Moridi said by partnering with colleges and universities to support entrepreneurship, the government is ensuring the province’s business leaders of tomorrow are getting the support they need to succeed today.
“Ontario Centres of Excellence is pleased to be able to deliver this project …,” said Tom Corr, DBA, president and CEO of Ontario Centres of Excellence. “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.”
The project leverages the college’s strong culture of entrepreneurship, which has been developed through several initiatives and programs.
Through learning enterprises, including an on-campus restaurant, teaching winery, teaching brewery, spa and greenhouse – students gain hands-on experience in real businesses that serve the public.
The release said the college’s Business Development Centre has helped more than 2,000 individuals launch successful businesses thanks to mentoring provided by college business consultants.
“A strong entrepreneurial spirit is nothing new at Niagara College,” said Misheck Mwaba, dean of Media, Trades and Technology. “Through our entrepreneurship hub, we will expand these activities and provide budding entrepreneurs from all of our program areas with mentorship and support.”
“Niagara is home to forward-thinking student entrepreneurs who are contributing valuable, innovative business ideas to the local ecosystem,” said Jeff Chesebrough, CEO of Innovate Niagara.
“Partnering with Niagara College to support the entrepreneurship hub will help facilitate student entrepreneurs’ access to the game-changing services and resources available through Innovate Niagara.”
Project organizers have hit the ground running – a project manager is in place, faculty leads have been identified, and activities are scheduled to begin in early 2015.
If you are leading entrepreneurial activities inside or outside the classroom, please contact project manager Rachel Crane at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss opportunities to support entrepreneurial education at Niagara College.