By David Penney
ON SEPT. 6, 2018, Memorial University and Emera Inc. announced a landmark contribution from Emera to Memorial supporting innovation and entrepreneurship programming in Newfoundland and Labrador.
The $7 million contribution from Emera will sustain and enhance student innovation and entrepreneurial programming through entities at Memorial University that include the Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship (MCE), the Centre for Social Enterprise (CSE), Genesis and other innovation initiatives. While these three centres operate as distinct entities, their student programs will be enhanced to better support and complement each other thanks to this investment.
ENTREPRENEURS IN ACTION
Florian Villaumé, director of the MCE, was thrilled with the announcement of Emera’s contribution to student innovation and entrepreneurship programming.
“We need to get students on the path to entrepreneurship to ensure that aspiring entrepreneurs stay in our province and join the local entrepreneurial ecosystem. Through inspiration, guidance, resources and a community, we create an exciting environment where those students work on entrepreneurial projects and shine.”
The MCE stands to receive a portion of the investment and Mr. Villaumé is enthusiastic about how this will help create a dynamic environment for student entrepreneurship.
“These funds will go a long way in helping us ramp up our programming, reach more students and generate excitement about entrepreneurship on campus,” he said.
“The MCE has been on campus since 2016, and we have already seen a large number of new startups created and many entrepreneurial students making the choice to stay in the province after graduation. Emera’s support will help build on our past successes and increase the number of student entrepreneurs we can support.”
Initiated as a partnership of the faculties of business administration and engineering and applied science, the MCE serves undergraduate and graduate students across Memorial’s St. John’s campus.
The Centre for Social Enterprise (CSE) is another emerging student innovation entity at Memorial that will benefit from Emera’s contribution.
Created through a unique partnership between the Faculty of Business Administration, the School of Social Work and the School of Music, but engaging the entire Memorial community, the CSE seeks to enhance the quality of the human experience via social enterprise and social innovation.
“Supporting organizations with strong social mandates is key to pursuing a truly comprehensive model for innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Nicole Helwig, manager, CSE. “Student enthusiasm for social justice and their ingenuity to drive positive social change reflects this, and the social enterprise model embraces that ideal.”
Supporting idea generation while educating and enabling student entrepreneurs across campus, the MCE feeds the earliest stage of the startup funnel, while the CSE helps students discover how social enterprises develop innovative and sustainable ways to address social and environmental challenges and explore future career paths in the sector.
The Genesis Evolution Student Program is focused on accelerating the development of the most promising technology ideas into formal startup enterprises.
This investment in student programming is all about reaching emerging entrepreneurs at the very beginning to cultivate and inspire them. They’ll be the next generation of innovative leaders in Newfoundland and Labrador, creating new ventures and technologies that we haven’t even considered.
– Michelle Simms
“Genesis has a long history of success when it comes to supporting entrepreneurs pursuing technology-based businesses with high-growth potential in this province,” said Michelle Simms, CEO, Genesis.
“This investment in student programming is all about reaching emerging entrepreneurs at the very beginning to cultivate and inspire them. They’ll be the next generation of innovative leaders in Newfoundland and Labrador, creating new ventures and technologies that we haven’t even considered. Memorial is taking another big step forward as a leader in this work with Emera’s support.”
EMERA INNOVATION EXCHANGE
In recognition of Emera’s investment, the public engagement and innovation space at Memorial University’s new Signal Hill Campus was named the Emera Innovation Exchange.
“We believe in supporting and developing the leaders and ideas of tomorrow,” said Scott Balfour, Emera president and CEO.
“By helping to provide this collaborative space to foster innovation and entrepreneurship, we’re not only supporting students at Memorial, we’re also proudly supporting economic development in Newfoundland and Labrador.”
The announcement of Emera’s contribution and naming of the Emera Innovation Exchange came a few weeks before the official opening of Signal Hill Campus on Sept. 29, 2018.
A multipurpose facility that includes the Emera Innovation Exchange and Signal Hill Accommodations for graduate students, the focus of Signal Hill Campus on public engagement and innovation is reflected in the public-facing Memorial tenants located at the facility, including Genesis, the Gardiner Centre, the Harris Centre, Newfoundland Quarterly and the Office of Public Engagement. Other tenants include the MUN Pensioners Association and public partner, Business and the Arts Newfoundland and Labrador.
“By naming the public engagement and innovation space at Signal Hill Campus the Emera Innovation Exchange, we celebrate Emera’s support of Memorial’s innovation goals — helping us empower a new generation of innovators and entrepreneurs,” said President Gary Kachanoski.
By enabling the long-term success of entrepreneurial and social enterprise programming at Memorial, Emera is also fostering economic development and social benefits for the entire region.