Fast Start Puts Students on Track to Success
Watch the FastStart video for more information.
You might call it the icing on the cake. Graduating with a degree is the goal for most post-secondary students, but a new program launched at Trent University called FastStart offers an opportunity to take their degree to a new level.
FastStart is a new entrepreneurial training partnership aimed at university and college students. Designed to increase entrepreneurship skills and awareness, it also aims to help students create solid business plans that take their products and services to market – quickly and successfully. Finalized in October 2014, the program was launched at Trent this past January as an extra-curricular program that opens the door to entrepreneurship for all students and community members 29 years of age or under.
John Knight, lead of the FastStart program and manager of Corporate Research Partnerships at Trent University, says the program is still in its infancy, but it has been received extremely well – both in the community and with students.
“We have over 100 Trent students already interested in our FastStart programming,” Mr. Knight says. “We are extremely surprised and pleasantly so, at how much local seasoned entrepreneurs want to support the program and help provide advice and mentorship to prospective young entrepreneurs. The engagement of young entrepreneurs with the business seasoned entrepreneurs is truly amazing.”
Trent and Fleming College, along with the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) and Durham College, are working with the Greater Peterborough Innovation Cluster (GPIC) and the Spark Centre, both companies aimed at supporting budding entrepreneurs, to deliver this powerful new resource. Trent students in Peterborough and Durham will have ample opportunity to access programs and services.
Speaking of the early impact of FastStart at Trent, Mr. Knight says, “Some of our youth start-up companies are moving at almost ‘warp speed’. For example, we recently supported two companies which are now generating revenues. These young people came to a seminar in March of this year, and now they are running businesses.”
The launch of FastStart at Trent is indicative of how, at both campuses, the University is placing a significant focus on entrepreneurship to spur community economic and social development. In Peterborough, FastStart at Trent will be part of a new on-campus business and social entrepreneurship centre designed to equip students with the knowledge, tools, experiences and supports needed to become successful innovators, entrepreneurs and change agents.
Mr. Knight believes that entrepreneurship is something every student should be exposed to and believes that there are a lot more opportunities if you have an awareness of how to create your own enterprise. Five years down the road, he expects FastStart will have helped start 50 companies, with 150 clients who will be future entrepreneurs.
Ten years down the road? Mr. Knight sees even more growth and potential. “We will have at least three FastStart companies located in the Trent Research & Innovation Park. These companies will be employing 150 people or more.”