BDC partners with ACE to support young canadians making a difference in their communities

Students getting and giving an education both in and out of the classroom

TORONTO, Feb. 13, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship (ACE) students are helping to fuel Canada's economic and entrepreneurial engine and are getting support through a partnership with the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC).

As part of a new commitment, BDC recently pledged $150,000 over a three-year term to support Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE), a team program operated by ACE. The partnership has been improved by the development and launch of a grant program that empowers student teams with the skills and resources to make a meaningful difference in their communities through entrepreneurship.

BDC SIFE Entrepreneurs First! Project Fund has awarded six grants of $2,500 to six SIFE teams to develop and implement projects that serve to accelerate the success of Canadian entrepreneurs. Teams are also assigned a local BDC project advisor to help support their efforts.

The schools participating in this year's BDC SIFE Entrepreneurs First! Project Fund include Brandon University (Brandon, Manitoba), Concordia University (Montreal, Québec), Lakehead University (Thunder Bay, Ontario), Okanagan College (Kelowna, British Columbia), Saint Mary's University (Halifax, Nova Scotia) and the University of Windsor (Windsor, Ontario).

"As part of our commitment to entrepreneurship, we recognize the importance of promoting business education and creating opportunities for future entrepreneurs," says Michel Bergeron, Vice President, Corporate Relations at BDC.  "BDC is proud to partner with ACE and SIFE to encourage student involvement in local communities.  SIFE projects target students at an age when they start to think about career choices. This is an ideal time to discover that being entrepreneurial in tackling social and business challenges can be a very valuable and rewarding experience."

Projects are based on specific needs identified by the students in each community. Initiatives include: providing skills and confidence to new immigrants to start entrepreneurial ventures; kick starting struggling small businesses to encourage growth and prosperity; tackling local unemployment issues with skills diversification; and, promoting sustainable entrepreneurship in depressed aboriginal areas.

"BDC is a natural fit for ACE because we both share a passion for encouraging communities to find unique, entrepreneurial solutions to everyday economic problems," says Amy Harder, President of ACE. "The students involved with our program are making a difference by improving the livelihood of others while becoming stronger individuals themselves."

Teams will present the outcomes of their projects as part of their overall entrepreneurship program at upcoming regional and national competitions taking place throughout Canada in March and May 2012.

About ACE 

Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship (ACE) is a national, charitable organization that is teaching and igniting young Canadians to create brighter futures for themselves and their communities. By implementing entrepreneurial projects and ventures with real impact, ACE students make a meaningful contribution to their communities today, while also discovering their potential to achieve an even greater impact as the leaders of tomorrow. ACE delivers a team-based program called Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) and an individual-based program, Student Entrepreneur. SIFE projects allow students to apply business concepts learned in the classroom to develop and implement community outreach projects that improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need. The Student Entrepreneur program has been credited with enhancing the success of students operating their own businesses, creating jobs and encouraging economic growth.

In the past year alone, ACE students ran over 500 projects, created over 640 jobs, directly impacted over 94,500 people, logged 287,000 volunteer hours and generated over $12,000,000 in economic opportunity. ACE is currently established on 60 post-secondary campuses across Canada.

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About BDC

Canada's business development bank, BDC, puts entrepreneurs first. With almost 1,900 employees and more than 100 business centres across the country, BDC offers financing, subordinate financing, venture capital and consulting services to 29,000 small and medium-sized companies. Their success is vital to Canada's economic prosperity.

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For further information:

For Media Inquiries: 
Paula Worthington
Account Director, Brookline Public Relations
(403) 538-5641 ext. 104

Maria Constantinescu
Advisor, Public Relations
(514) 496-7146


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