Date: September 26, 2013
Incubator to support social innovation
Entrepreneurs at the University of Victoria, whether they have an idea for a business, non-profit venture or social innovation, now have the resources and support of the Innovation Centre for Entrepreneurs (ICE) to help realize their vision.
ICE already has more than a dozen business start-ups in the pipeline. UVic is expanding the centre, which was initiated by the Gustavson School of Business last year, into a program available across all disciplines to deepen its support of new ideas and strategies to deal with society’s complex challenges.
“As a community of learners, innovators and entrepreneurs, there is no shortage of excellent ideas at the University of Victoria,” says Vice-President Academic and Provost Reeta Tremblay. “The Innovation Centre for Entrepreneurs will provide students, staff and faculty from all faculties the support to develop their ideas while also building relationships with the region’s business leaders and entrepreneurs.”
ICE provides tools, expertise and space on campus to help entrepreneurs take an idea to the stage where it is ready for investment. Advisers and mentors from outside the university provide innovators valuable input and connections.
“We encourage anyone within the UVic family to bring their ideas forward,” says ICE Director Robin Milne. “Many people are passionate about an idea but unsure how to go about moving it forward. ICE provides a framework that initially helps them to shape and present their concept. Their plan is then fully developed together with an assembled team of advisers.”
More than 100 students have already benefited from ICE. Early Entrepreneurs, a social enterprise that provides elementary schools with a program to teach students about entrepreneurship and global awareness, is just one example.
“After successfully testing the model of taking a small amount of seed money into classrooms and teaching students how to grow it into enough money to build schools in developing countries, we knew we had the core of a new business,” says Early Entrepreneurs co-founder Kim Cope. “Now we’re refining that with the help of ICE.”
ICE welcomes entrepreneurial-minded people on campus and potential volunteer advisers from the community to get involved with the centre and this important addition to the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
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