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Fostering Student Entrepreneurship in Southwestern Ontario

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Fostering Student Entrepreneurship in Southwestern Ontario

Partnering with Colleges and Universities to Create Innovative Programs

Ontario is helping student entrepreneurs gain business skills, mentorship and hands-on experience to start and grow a business.

Campus-Linked Accelerators (CLA) is investing over $5.8 million to build on world-class innovation and entrepreneurial programs at Southwestern Ontario's colleges and universities. On-Campus Entrepreneurship Activities (OCEA) is providing more than $650,000 to support Southwestern academic institutions that are committed to entrepreneurship on their campuses.

Campus-Linked Accelerators:

  • The Waterloo Region Campus Linked Accelerator is a partnership between the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University. University of Waterloo will expand its internationally recognized entrepreneurship programs, such as Velocity. Wilfrid Laurier University's Laurier Brantford program will work to ignite the spirit of entrepreneurship in Aboriginal youth and youth at risk.
  • University of Windsor's EPICentre will support job creation and economic development opportunities by encouraging on-campus entrepreneurship and innovation, with strong ties to entrepreneurial mentors.
  • Western University's Entrepreneurship, Engagement, Economic Development (E3) will act as a hub for educational, community and private-sector partners and the foundation for nurturing a vibrant on-campus eco-system of entrepreneurship.

On-Campus Entrepreneurship Activities:

  • Conestoga College's Entrepreneurship@Conestoga helps students explore entrepreneurship as a career option and develop their entrepreneurial skills. The Advanced Manufacturing Technology (AMT) Catalyst will support entrepreneurs in advanced manufacturing and related trades.
  • Lambton College is developing a Centre of Research and Entrepreneurship. This centre will be the focal point for on-campus entrepreneurship activities as well as a regional connector for local start-up companies looking for assistance with applied research and development projects.
  • St. Clair College's Genesis is an on-campus entrepreneurship centre. Genesis will be the college's focal point for students, faculty and community members who want to know more about starting a business.

CLA and OCEA are part of Ontario's Youth Jobs Strategy and are being launched by universities and colleges across the province.

The Youth Jobs Strategy is part of the government's economic plan to help young people to develop the skills needed to launch rewarding careers. Making sure young people can realize their fullest potential is part of the government's plan to invest in people, build modern infrastructure and support a dynamic and innovative business climate.

Quick Facts

  • Almost all postsecondary institutions across Ontario have on-campus entrepreneurship programs (42 out of 44 institutions).
  • Ontario is investing $20 million over two years in the CLA program and $5 million over two years in the OCEA program.
  • OCEA and CLA programs are managed by Ontario Centres of Excellence.
  • Communitech is the partnering Regional Innovation Centre (RIC) for the Waterloo region. A member of the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE), it will act as the conduit between University of Waterloo, Sir Wilfred Laurier University, Conestoga College and the region`s business community.
  • 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 been created to date under the Youth Jobs Strategy.

Additional Resources


“Helping young entrepreneurs is another example of Ontario’s Youth Jobs Strategy at work. These programs will help harness their ideas, their vision and enthusiasm and turn them into jobs for today and for tomorrow. Their innovative spirit will build Ontario’s future.”

Reza Moridi

Minister of Research and Innovation

“The new Waterloo Region Campus Linked Accelerator adds a new dimension to the local entrepreneurial ecosystem — giving students direct access to the support and resources they need to be successful. This is a tremendous addition to our local technology ecosystem.”

Iain Klugman

CEO, Communitech

“Ontario Centres of Excellence is pleased to be able to deliver these projects as a trusted partner of the Government of Ontario. I look forward to putting our years of experience in connecting academia and industry, and our on-going support of young entrepreneurs in Southwestern Ontario to good use in making these initiatives a tremendous success.”

Dr. Tom Corr

President and CEO, Ontario Centres of Excellence

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