ncTakeOff Entrepreneurship Hub, Niagara College (2014-19)
Announced in October 2013, Campus-Linked Accelerators (CLAs) and On-Campus Entrepreneurship Activities (OCEAs) programs were launched to further Ontario’s Youth Jobs Strategy objectives: help more young people find work or launch their own businesses and ensure employers have access to the skilled people they require to build their businesses.
In 2014, Niagara College’s Dean, Business, Hospitality & Environment, Dean, Media, Trades & Technology were successful in securing OCEA funding and together with me, as Project Manager, established ncTakeOff to initiate and expand on entrepreneurship activities to meet the needs of our Niagara College community. Our funding with OCE was successful in two renewal application processes before March 2019, when the program finally came to a province-wide end.
- Developed more than 227 student companies or business concepts, most through formal one-one student entrepreneur consultations
- Facilitated more than 115 events (including annual pitch competitions, biannual startup weekends, monthly-regular business planning courses and entrepreneur development workshops, guest speaker panels, networking socials, and entrepreneurship support fairs) which reached approximately 8,500 student attendees.
- Cultivated strong working relationship with more than 20 community and industry partners, including Brock University, District School Board of Niagara, Innovate Niagara, Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce, Niagara Region, St. Catharines/Welland Enterprise Centre, Small Business Enterprise Centre Niagara Falls, and Social Enterprise Niagara.
- Approximately 25% of faculty in the Schools of Business and Management/Hospitality, Tourism and Sport engaged in creative, innovative and entrepreneurial thinking virtual surveys and in-person focus groups; many opted in to two professional development workshops related to Lean Startup methodology and entrepreneurship development.
Community Projects, Leadership Niagara (2014/15)
Each year a cohort of 30-50 emerging leaders from across sectors are enrolled in the Leadership Niagara Accelerate Civic Leadership program. Program participants engage in critical community projects with local non-profit organizations throughout their program year.
During the 2014 & 2015 program years, I supported the program participants to design and execute projects ranging from from strategic marketing campaigns and event support, to developing a micro loan program and social enterprise planning:
- Autism Ontario (Employment Program)
- Education Foundation Niagara (Event Management)
- Habitat for Humanity (Marketing & Fundraising Campaign)
- Heartland Forest (Marketing & Awareness Plan)
- Hospice Niagara (Volunteer Engagement Plan)
- Learning Disabilities Association Niagara (Event Management)
- Mainstream Services (Engagement Plan)
- Niagara Furniture Bank (Branding Strategy)
- Niagara Sustainability Initiative (Partnership Engagement)
- Pathstone Mental Health (Partnership Engagement)
- Project Share (Strategic Plan)
- Rose Cottage Visiting Volunteers (Marketing & Awareness Plan)
- Proaction Cops & Kids (Niagara Chapter Launch)
- YWCA (Strategic Marketing Campaign)
Project SEED (Socially Engaged Entrepreneur Development), Brock University (2011-12)
Funded by the Niagara Community Foundation, in partnership with the Brock University Alumni Association and Brock University Students’ Union, Project SEED was a social innovation incubation program that I managed through Brock’s Student Leadership and Innovation Commons. Six projects, designed by student leaders, received funding, mentorship, and marketing support:
- Brock BALL (Basketball Aiming for Life’s Lessons) – basketball clinics for at-risk youth
- Bunch of SEEDs – a photo project documenting the work done by Project SEED grant recipients that will be displayed in the Schmon Tower lobby
- DIG (Develop Integrate Grow) – establishing a community garden at Brock
- Give Us Your Goods – taking old electronics and furniture for recycling
- Sit N’ Knit – a learn-to-knit program to facilitate friendships and better mental health
- Women’s Space Initiative – an effort by the Feminist Active Collective to establish a space to discuss women’s issues