George Brown College Supports Student Entrepreneurs with Government of Ontario Investment

TORONTO, Sept. 24, 2014 /CNW/ - With a $200,000 investment from the Government of Ontario, George Brown College is launching a new student-focused hub for entrepreneurship awareness, education, training and hands-on learning opportunities. The hub, a joint partnership between George Brown College, MaRS Discovery District, Ryerson University and AcceleratorU, will build on Toronto's existing entrepreneurship support, ultimately reducing barriers for entrepreneurs who are current students and recent graduates to pursue their commercial goals.

Funding from the Campus-Linked Accelerators (CLA) and On-Campus Entrepreneurship Activities (OCEA) is intended to jumpstart a vibrant entrepreneurial culture on-campus, creating a variety of resources for students to develop and foster their ideas. This includes access to mentoring programs and training, opportunities to work alongside existing enterprises on applied research projects and specialized support for emerging entrepreneurs in any number of sectors. With the formation of OCEA programming at George Brown, capacity for outreach is expanded campus-wide to enhance awareness, access, and continuity and move student entrepreneurship to the centre of the student experience.

"The creation of this resource hub brings together an array of entrepreneurship activities that are already thriving at the college," says Laura-Jo Gunter, senior vice-president, academic at George Brown College. "With this funding, we're able to sustain a challenging and supportive environment to teach young entrepreneurs that this is a viable option for their careers, ultimately creating new businesses and jobs within the Canadian economy."

Youth entrepreneurs invigorate the economy with fresh ideas in areas like retail and specialized services like consulting, graphic design, or construction. They also make advances in burgeoning technology-based services like videogame development, health care and food technologies. Encouraging students to consider entrepreneurship increases the likelihood that they will form their own businesses, creating more jobs that strengthen the economy.

"Ontario Centres of Excellence is pleased to be able to deliver this project as a trusted partner of the Government of Ontario," says Dr. Tom Corr, 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."

To date, George Brown offers a wide range of courses and programs that enable an exploration of entrepreneurial approaches and provides specific entrepreneurial skills in its Centre for Business. In addition, the School of Design houses the Digital Media and Gaming Incubator, supporting the city's digital sector by providing affordable space, business and professional services and technology to start ups. The OCEA-funded program provides an excellent foundation for an increased culture of on-campus student entrepreneurship, which will be strengthened by a new coordinated, campus-wide approach.

"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," says Reza Moridi, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, and Minister of Research and Innovation. "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."

The CLA/OCEA program is an initiative of the Government of Ontario under the Youth Jobs Strategy and is being managed by Ontario Centres of Excellence. Ontario is investing $295 million over two years in the Youth Jobs Strategy to help 30,000 more young people from across the province connect with the tools, experiences and entrepreneurial support they need to find employment or start their own businesses. More than 20,000 job opportunities have already been created under the Strategy.

About George Brown College

Toronto's George Brown College has established a reputation for equipping students with the skills, industry experience and credentials to pursue the careers of their choice. The college offers programs from its three campuses located across the downtown core, including its newest location at the Toronto waterfront, which opened in September 2012. George Brown offers 142 full-time programs and 193 continuing education certificates/designations across a wide variety of professions to a student body of over 25,800 (full-time enrolment) students, including over 3,500 international students; and over 62,800 continuing education registrants. Students can earn certificates, diplomas, postgraduate certificates, apprenticeships and degrees. www.georgebrown.ca

SOURCE: George Brown College

For further information: or to arrange an interview, please contact: Jodi Serwatuk, George Brown College, 416-415-5000 ext. 3767, jserwatuk@georgebrown.ca

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