Supporting young entrepreneurs
December 18, 2014
Up-and-coming entrepreneurs will have access to the knowledge and expertise of Queen’s faculty thanks to a new partnership.
Queen’s School of Business (QSB) announced earlier this week that it would become the exclusive academic partner with Venture for Canada (VFC), a growing not-for-profit that connects aspiring young entrepreneurs and Canadian startups.
“This is a great opportunity for Queen’s to contribute to new venture success in Canada,” says Elspeth Murray, Associate Dean of MBA and Master’s programs and Director of QSB’s Centre for Business Venturing. “The centre’s mission is to help improve the odds of success for new businesses — and developing young talent is part of that mission.”
QSB will deliver an intensive, five-week boot camp designed to develop an entrepreneurial mindset before participants begin a two-year work placement with a startup partner. Lectures will be led by QSB faculty with expertise in entrepreneurship and guest speakers from the corporate world.
This year, Venture for Canada received nearly 500 applications from recent university and college graduates. Thirty-five applicants who have demonstrated a passion for entrepreneurship and leadership are chosen each year. Following entrepreneurship boot camp at Queen’s, participants are placed in a paid, two-year fellowship with one of 59 Canadian startup partners, such as Shopify, 500PX and Kira Talent.
Scott Stirrett, Venture for Canada’s founder and executive director, established the organization to address the disconnect between bright young graduates and startups.
“Elite undergraduates want to work for dynamic, emerging businesses, but startups often lack the resources to participate in competitive on-campus recruiting,” he says.
Venture for Canada is modelled on Venture for America, which has placed hundreds of recent graduates from top U.S. universities such as Harvard, Yale and MIT. VFC is guided by an advisory board comprised of members of the business and academic communities in Canada, as well as prominent Canadian business leaders, such as Annette Verschuren, Geoff Smith, John Risley, and Ned Goodman, serving as honorary chairs.
“The best way to learn entrepreneurship is through hands-on experience,” Mr. Stirrett says. “After gaining valuable skills and access to a national network of entrepreneurs and investors, Venture for Canada fellows are in a strong position to launch their own companies.”
The first Venture for Canada boot camp begins in May 2015.