With more than one-third of all new private sector jobs created in the last decade coming from small business, supporting the entrepreneurial aspirations of students is not only a smart strategy, it's an imperative one. The Centre for Entrepreneurship was established to foster and support this culture of innovation and entrepreneurial activity at Conestoga College. Through workshops, applied research, mentorship, hands-on experiences and a range of programs, collaboration and innovation are woven through all of the Centre's activities.
Within this dynamic hub, there are several key components, made possible through business and personal investment: the BMO Small Business Centre, RBC Ventures Lab, Great West Life New Enterprise Hotel (a business incubator) and the Scotiabank International Business Office. Every space and initiative within the Centre supports one or more of the Centre's primary goals: facilitating new venture creation; increasing student engagement in applied research, innovation, and commercialization; becoming one of the Region's primary sources for an entrepreneurial workforce; promoting strategic small to medium enterprise (SME) expansion into global markets; and engaging faculty in entrepreneurial learning activities. It all comes together to provide a broad spectrum of specialized support for every group involved.
For example, students have been participating in Experience Entrepreneurship, a youth initiative supported by the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment, that has already involved over 100 students. Technology Enabled Social Innovation is another program sponsored by the Ministry that will commence in September and involve student teams putting together business solutions to address social challenges. In addition, Conestoga students will have an opportunity to participate in a new workshop series, Running Start. Launching this fall will be the new Small Business Ventures post-graduate certificate program, designed to enable prospective entrepreneurs to successfully start, take over or purchase a business.
The Centre would not exist in such a capacity without the generous support of our visionary donors -- whose gifts have exceeded $1 million to-date -- including RBC Royal Bank, BMO Bank of Montreal, Scotiabank, Great West Life, Micheal Stork, and Conestoga Students Inc.
Dr. Barbara Fennessy is the Executive Director for the Centre for Entrepreneurship. According to Dr. Fennessy, "with this tremendous support from our donors, we are preparing our students to embrace the entrepreneurial economy which they are graduating into. Whether they create their own enterprise or work in an existing one, every graduate from Conestoga should be an entrepreneurial graduate".