Memorial University is launching a pilot project to kickstart student-led business
WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF people actually lived in a business incubator? The Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship (MCE) wants to find out, putting out a call for applications to the Living and Learning Entrepreneurship Community. Students at the university who are interested in starting their own businesses are encouraged to apply. The 15 students accepted into the pilot program will board together in Bond House at Patton College with hopes the living situation will be a catalyst for new ideas.
Waterloo University in Ontario has been running a similar residence program for a decade, seeing 300 tech startups spawned at its Velocity residence, and MCE hopes the program will act as a petri dish for student-led businesses. The Living and Learning Entrepreneurship Community is all about making connections and isn’t just for students in the business faculty—the program will run as a partnership between the School of Music, Faculty of Business Administration, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Student Life and the Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship. Integrating the faculties will bring people together in a new way to facilitate collaborations amongst the students. “The most powerful thing we can do is build a community,” says Florian Villaume, the director of the MCE.
Students won’t just be washing the dishes together; the pilot program provides exposure to local startups through regular events, development sessions and visiting workshops while completing Introduction to Entrepreneurship 1600, along with having access to the MCE’s full range of offerings and its coworking space. The pilot program takes off in the fall semester of 2018 with groups of like-minded individuals. While Villaume can’t say for certain whether the students will found the next great company, ideas will be seeping out of Patton college from September to April.