EPICentre to support youth entrepreneurship
(Windsor, Ontario, Friday, August 22, 2014) – A multi-disciplinary UWindsor program to support young people in the early years of their entrepreneurial careers has received a $1.1 million grant from the Government of Ontario’s Youth Jobs Strategy.
The University’s EPICentre is an initiative spearheaded by University of Windsor President Alan Wildeman, with programming contributions from the Odette School of Business and support for incubation and technology transfer from the University’s Office of Research and Innovation Services.
The grant was received through the $20 million campus-linked acceleration program (CLA), introduced as a key part of the Government of Ontario’s Youth Jobs Strategy
“Fostering the entrepreneurial spirit among students is a key component of Ontario’s Youth Jobs Strategy, through programs that help transfer their ideas and skills to the marketplace while creating rewarding careers,” said Reza Moridi, Ontario’s Minister of Research and Innovation, and Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities. “By partnering with colleges and universities to support entrepreneurship, we are ensuring our province’s business leaders of tomorrow are getting the support they need to succeed today.”
The program is managed provincially by Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE).
“Ontario Centres of Excellence is pleased to be able to deliver this project as a trusted partner of the Government of Ontario,” said Dr. Tom Corr, President and CEO of Ontario Centres of Excellence. “I look forward to putting our years of experience in connecting academia and industry, and our on-going support of young entrepreneurs to good use making this initiative a tremendous success.”
CLAs are initiatives of the Government of Ontario and partnerships between Ontario universities and local Regional Innovation Centres that are being run and managed by Ontario Centres of Excellence. EPICentre will partner with the Regional Innovation Centre in Windsor-Essex (WETech Alliance) to further expand the capacity of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Windsor Essex region and link campus innovation to the community. Funding is expected to provide opportunities to significantly accelerate the growth of youth-led ventures contributing to the local economy, and have the potential to spur entrepreneurial opportunities for young people beyond the region and even into the U.S.
“The CLA program will allow our Windsor-Essex youth to develop and hone their entrepreneurial skills, as well as build their business and support networks,” says UWindsor’s Vice-President of Research and Innovation, Dr. K.W. Michael Siu, “These assets will give our youth a better chance to be able to succeed and prosper in the region after their graduation, and the skills are entirely portable should they choose to go elsewhere.”
EPICentre has six physical locations on campus, including a mentoring/consulting hub at the Odette School of Business; incubation and prototype development space in Engineering, Science, Computer Science and Creative Arts; and dedicated youth venture development space in the EPIC Innovation Incubator, scheduled for grand opening November 19, 2014.