A $400,000 grant from the provincial government will enable the University of Guelph to expand its student entrepreneurship centre, supporting young people in starting and growing their own businesses.

U of G’s College of Business and Economics (CBE) has received $400,000 from the provincial Youth Jobs Strategy.

The grant will be used by the Centre for Business and Social Entrepreneurship (CBaSE) — the College’s enterprise unit — to develop and deliver innovative learning opportunities and to support student-based entrepreneurial activities on campus.

“CBaSE supports creativity and entrepreneurial thinking. It promotes the college’s commitment to entrepreneurship by equipping students with the knowledge and tools necessary to navigate the entrepreneurial space,” said CBaSE director Melanie Lang.

“CBaSE is the college’s ‘conduit’ between the University and the business community. It facilitates opportunity and collaboration with the local community, offering programs and activities designed to help transform student understanding of their disciplines, world views and abilities.”

The funding has come through the $5-million On-Campus Entrepreneurship Activities (OCEA) program. The program is managed by Ontario Centres of Excellence for the Ministry of Research and Innovation (MRI).

“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,” said Reza Moridi, 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.”

CBaSE will partner with Innovation Guelph (IG) to support local entrepreneurs.

Innovation Guelph CEO Jamie Doran said, “IG’s partnership with CBaSE means that entrepreneurial students at U of G can access top-level business mentors as well as education and funding programs focused on new entrepreneurs. CBaSE and IG are making it easier for students to choose entrepreneurship as a career choice.”

The funding will expand initiatives designed to introduce businesses and students across campus to the culture of entrepreneurship and to support more youth-led businesses, said Julia Christensen Hughes, dean of CBE.

“The OCEA grant is a real testament to the value of the work we do to connect the dots between education, student enterprise and new value creation in the community,” she said.

“This grant will enable our students to grow and develop their innovative businesses, providing real benefits to the community.”