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Memorial University launches Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Gateway for young entrepreneurs

Ref. No. 54

DATE:     Nov. 20, 2001
SUBJECT:     Memorial University launches Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Gateway for young entrepreneurs

Budding business people at Memorial University of Newfoundland will be able to better navigate their path to start-up success thanks to the Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Gateway (Gateway) launched at the university today. The mentoring program is designed to assist potential entrepreneurs within the university community navigate their path to business development. The program has been developed at the Faculty of Business Administration through the P.J. Gardiner Institute for Small Business Studies and the Chair in Youth-focused Technological Entrepreneurship.

The Gateway is designed to provide potential entrepreneurs within the university community with counseling advice and direction to the various resources, programs and services both within and external to the university that can meet their business start-up needs. The purpose of the Gateway is to assist the client with navigation to the appropriate resource and ensure the client is prepared to best use that resource. Gateway clients are technologically-able youth entrepreneurs with a university affiliation such as undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

The Gateway is a joint initiative of the Faculties of Business Administration, Science, Medicine and Engineering at Memorial University, with external support coming from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency ($298,497 over 3 years), the John Dobson Foundation ($50,000), the Business Development Bank of Canada ($25,000) and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce ($10,000).

The Honourable Brian Tobin, Minister of Industry and the Honourable Robert Thibault, Minister of State for ACOA, announced ACOA's funding today. "Entrepreneurship development and access to information about business are key aspects of ACOA's mandate," said Minister Tobin. "By partnering with Memorial on this ground-breaking new initiative we are able to ensure those within the university community with an interest in starting a business can benefit from the myriad of programs and services available to them."

"Memorial University is pleased to support this innovative initiative, which builds on our strength as a centre of innovation and discovery," said Dr. Axel Meisen, president of Memorial University. "The Gateway model, when refined and proven, will be replicable by universities and colleges nationwide. By involving young entrepreneurs from outside the university, the Gateway will also assist our rural communities, which are rich in entrepreneurial talent."

"The Gateway is a common point of entry that will connect the right client with the right resource at the right time," said Dr. Bob Richards, who is the Chair in Youth-focused Technological Entrepreneurship, a key partner in the project's development. "The supportive, mentoring structure of the Gateway will help clients navigate their way through a sea of business development resources and connect with the most appropriate resource at the right time."

In its trial phase, the Gateway has already counseled 30 student companies, including Intrignia Solutions, a high-tech firm specializing in robotics. "Taking technology from a research lab and turning it into a commercial product proved to be a significant challenge for our company," said Jamie King, an engineering student and co-founder of Intrignia Solutions. "The Gateway has been instrumental in the commercialization of Intrignia and a tremendous source of advice and encouragement."

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For more information, please contact:

Aimee Sheppard, information officer (business), Memorial University of Newfoundland at (709) 737-2616 or Ivan Muzychka, manager of Memorial's News Service, 737-8665.

Dr. Bob Richards, Chair in Youth-focused Technological Entrepreneurship, Memorial University of Newfoundland at (709) 737-8883.

Doug Burgess, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, (709) 772-2935.

 

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