Helping University Students Kick-Start Their Business Ideas

News release

Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship offers mentoring and support to student business owners  

August 22, 2019 – St. John’s (NL) – Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency 

Supporting business development and innovation at post-secondary institutions helps foster entrepreneurship, creates more competitive businesses and builds a stronger economy. To that end, the Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship (MCE) is providing guidance, resources and mentorship to help more Memorial University students establish successful businesses. 

The MCE provides entrepreneurial students with access to foundational entrepreneurship training and startup funding, while providing guidance, support and opportunities to engage with the business community. Over the next three years, the MCE will work to foster new student startups through workshops and events, mentorship, pitch competitions, entrepreneurial work terms and internships. It will also focus on research topics related to the entrepreneurial ecosystem at Memorial and throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. 

The Government of Canada is providing $1 million over the next three years for this project and the provincial government is contributing $375,000.

Nick Whalen, Member of Parliament for St. John’s East, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), along with the Honourable Christopher Mitchelmore, Newfoundland and Labrador Minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation, made the announcement today. 

Economic growth and the creation of good jobs for Atlantic Canadians require innovation and diversification. Support for this project is one way the Government of Canada is growing the innovation economy by working to sustain strategic clusters, and enhance the development and reach of business accelerators and incubators. Projects like this also contribute to the Atlantic Growth Strategy outcome of long-term economic prosperity in the region.

Quotes

“The Government of Canada understands that nurturing the next generation of business leaders will help develop a stronger economy and create good, middle-class jobs. That is why we are investing in the Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship, which is building an entrepreneurial environment across all of Memorial University’s faculties and contributing to a more innovative economy in this region.”

- The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA

“In our Innovation round tables for the Atlantic Growth Strategy, I saw firsthand the potential of student entrepreneurs and the need for more of them. This funding will help more students take ideas from university into companies, growing our economy while pursuing their passion.”

- Nick Whalen, Member of Parliament for St. John’s East

“Our Business Innovation Agenda and the Technology Work Plan foster a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation in this province. Support for the Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship will attract, inspire and engage even more graduate and undergraduate students to experience entrepreneurship, and help ensure that early-stage startups receive the support they need.”

- The Honourable Christopher Mitchelmore, Newfoundland and Labrador Minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation

“Memorial University students, with their diverse backgrounds and disciplines, represent the foundation and future of entrepreneurship and innovation in our province, one which will contribute to an economically diverse and sustainable Newfoundland and Labrador. We’re thankful that the federal and provincial governments recognize the importance of the Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship as a key player in Newfoundland and Labrador’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, and we look forward to continuing to play a role in developing entrepreneurs who will contribute to the economic and social development of our province and our country.”

- Dr. Gary Kachanoski, Memorial University President and Vice-Chancellor

Quick facts

  • The MCE was established in 2017 as a campus-wide centre through a partnership between the Faculty of Business Administration and the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. It was created to promote entrepreneurship, support students, faculty and staff in developing their start-up business ideas, and contribute to developing an attractive entrepreneurial ecosystem in Newfoundland and Labrador.

  • In a recent report from Startup Genome, an international San Francisco-based research organization that provides data analyses to global startup ecosystems, Atlantic Canada ranked as the fastest-growing activation ecosystem in North America. The report also indicated that this region leads the world in early-stage funding per startup for ecosystems in the activation phase.

  • The Government of Canada is investing $1 million in this project through ACOA’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program. The provincial department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation is contributing $375,000 toward this project.

  • The Regional Innovation Ecosystems stream of the Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) program supports the creation and growth of inclusive regional ecosystems that support business needs and fosters an entrepreneurial environment conducive to innovation, growth and competitiveness.

  • The Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program continues to build on the objectives of Government’s Innovation and Skills Plan.

Contacts

Paul McGrath
Director of Communications
ACOA NL
709-772-2984
paul.mcgrath@canada.ca

Eric Humber
Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation
709-729-4819, 709-725-9655
erichumber@gov.nl.ca 

Dave Sorensen
Manager (communications)
Memorial University of Newfoundland
709-864-2143, 709-685-7134
sorensen@mun.ca

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