Entrepreneurship is a high-impact career pathway for students, whether it be creating a new social enterprise or a new business venture which helps address unmet needs in our communities or the world at large,” says John Knight, manager of Corporate Research Partnerships for Trent University.
This is one of the many reasons why Trent University continues to make key investments in entrepreneurship, most recently with the creation of a Centre for Social and Business Innovation and Entrepreneurism (CSBIE) which will be housed in the new Student Centre, a 37,000 sq. ft. facility scheduled to open on Trent’s Peterborough campus in September 2017.
“This enterprise will build on the successful initiatives and partnerships that already exist at Trent, such as the FastStart program, the Trent Business Council, The Cube, the student-run Trent Youth Entrepreneurship Society, and Trent’s involvement with the Greater Peterborough Innovation Cluster,” Mr. Knight says. “Locating it in the Student Centre, where students congregate, will attract those who are curious about starting their own businesses as well as those who have never considered being entrepreneurs.”
Cultivating student-led initiatives
The CSBIE, hosted by Trent’s Career Centre, will cultivate student-led initiatives and start-ups by providing experiential, co-curricular and interdisciplinary learning opportunities, as well as access to mentors, partners and resources. Students will gain the knowledge, tools, experience, and support to become successful innovators, entrepreneurs and change agents.
The opportunities for experiential learning are beneficial to all students, even those who don’t start their own businesses. “There are a lot of learning experiences in entrepreneurship that are valuable,” says Mr. Knight. “Students learn about financing, self-motivation, how to manage risk, how to be creative, and how to market.”
Focus on social innovation
A unique aspect of CSBIE will be the focus on social innovation to address pressing socio-economic issues.
“Because of Trent’s liberal arts background we have a history of involvement in social causes and social innovation,” Mr. Knight says. “A lot of our graduates work for social enterprises and non-profits, so it makes sense to help them start their own social enterprises.”
An investment in solving problems
The $15 million Student Centre will be funded mainly though a student levy which will cover $10.5 million of the capital costs. The remaining $4.5 million will be contributed through university sources and philanthropic donations. Mr. Knight is encouraging friends and alumni of Trent to support entrepreneurism at Trent by making a donation to the project.
“The Centre for Social and Business Innovation and Entrepreneurism and its affiliated programming is designed for a low-risk student investigation of the entrepreneurship option in their career path,” he says. “A large number of students at Trent have a common passion to find ways of fixing our world’s problems. What matters is that young people find a way to take action. We truly believe that we can help Trent students fix the world’s problems, one new enterprise at a time.”