Brock University and Niagara College will continue to facilitate youth entrepreneurship after successfully managing the Kick-Starting Entrepreneurship program and ncTakeOff hub for the last two years.
Both institutions received renewed, joint funding through the On-Campus Entrepreneurship Activities (OCEA) program, an initiative of the Government of Ontario under the Youth Jobs Strategy and managed by Ontario Centres of Excellence.
Matt Clarke, an accounting student at Brock’s Goodman School of Business, has experienced the value of the Kick-Starting Entrepreneurship program run by BioLinc, Brock’s business incubator.
Last year, Clarke founded Express Deliveries, a local delivery company that has already served over 8,000 customers in Niagara with the help of the Kick-Starting Entrepreneurship programming.
“It helped us a lot,” Clarke said. “They teach you about marketing, accounting, finance – and actually help you get through the beginning stages of your business. They provide you with mentorship, and some competitions we were part of us really taught us how to talk to investors and present ourselves.”
Born out of a class project, Danielle Speck, a second-year student in Niagara College’s Business – General program, founded Mojo Hydrotherapy, an artisanal bath bomb social enterprise. In under six months, Danielle won the Entrepreneur Challenge, a Niagara College business plan contest supported by ncTakeOff, received a $3000 Summer Company grant via the St. Catharines Enterprise Centre, and has established a distribution network with local markets and retailers, including Niagara College’s Benchmarket.
“After my entrepreneurship class project, I had so much support from my teacher, Rachel Crane, and couldn’t have imagined the umbrella of opportunities and guidance that would come from her and Niagara College,” Speck said. “ncTakeOff connected me with shop owners, photographers, media, local business support centres, business social events, grant opportunities and more I even thought was available to us.”
There will be several signature events co-hosted by Brock University and Niagara College, as well as standalone resources which will be offered on respective campuses and tailored to meet the unique needs of each student population.
Planned for Nov. 4-6, the annual Niagara Young Entrepreneur Kick-Off Weekend will see young entrepreneurs form a team, build and pitch a business idea all in one weekend. The weekend will also include a keynote speaker, business development training, and mentorship opportunities for youth aged 18-29 who are technically skilled or curious about entrepreneurship.
Other key events include Entrepreneurship Week in March which will feature pitch competitions and networking opportunities, and a showcase in April to celebrate student entrepreneur successes.
OCEA funding encourages the growth of student entrepreneurs and student-led enterprises by fostering the adoption of global best practices in student entrepreneurship; reducing barriers for student and recent graduate entrepreneurs; integrating with regional business support resources; and providing experiential learning opportunities for the next generation of innovators.
Brock University is a comprehensive university located in Ontario’s Niagara region, just an hour from the GTA. With nearly 600 full-time faculty members and researchers, Brock’s robust academic scope offers more than 72 undergraduate degree programs and nearly 50 master’s and PhD programs. Brock’s student experience is enriched by an emphasis on experiential learning, as illustrated by community partnerships, volunteerism and one of Ontario’s largest and most successful co-op programs. Visit us at brocku.ca.
Niagara College offers more than 100 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs at campuses in Welland, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and Niagara Falls; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Continuing Education courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit NiagaraCollege.ca.