Mary Ng, federal minister of small business and export promotion, talks with a U of G student at the CBaSE MakerSpace about the student’s innovative business idea (University of Guelph).

Mary Ng, Canada’s minister of small business and export promotion, toured U of G’s Centre for Business and Student Enterprise (CBaSE) in the College of Business and Economics (CBE) on Oct. 26. She spoke with student entrepreneurs about the importance of encouraging and supporting student business ideas.

The Markham-Thornhill MP has a special interest in promoting the innovative ideas of business students, having served in that role at Ryerson University. She was elected to Parliament last spring.

CBE dean Julia Christensen Hughes discussed college programs and the entrepreneurial spirit that drives them. CBaSE’s culture and hands-on business development spaces foster diverse business ventures, Christensen Hughes said.

Minister Mary Ng and Guelph MP Lloyd Longfield met with young entrepreneurs on the U of G campus (University of Guelph).

“We have a very unique value proposition among business schools in that we are being leaders and developing leaders for a sustainable and equitable world,” she said. “We’re very passionate about the role of business in helping to make a better world.”

Touring the cBaSE Hub Incubator and MakerSpace, Ng learned about ventures to detect contaminants and pathogens in industry and to tackle food waste and improve food security.

Commenting on the range of products and services that students are investigating, Ng said, “There is no question that it is a matter of turning ideas into actions, whether that action is social entrepreneurship or a business enterprise. The learning that they get in starting an enterprise and seeing where it goes is a great journey.”

Also on the tour were Guelph MP Lloyd Longfield and Daniel Atlin, U of G vice-president (external).