Sarah Al-Ahmadi is a business administration student at the college. She is looking forward to the L-Spark partnership as it will help students express thoughts and ideas for business. Photo credit: Joshua Ambar

Algonquin’s business students can look to a brighter future with the new partnership between the college and Canada’s leading software as a service accelerator, L-SPARK.

The two institutions will join forces to help college students in the school of business with their startups and will be located in the DARE District, according to a college press release from March 5,

“We are working hard and focusing on getting entrepreneurs to build their companies and become more successful,” said Leo Lax, executive managing director of L-SPARK. “We believe Algonquin is a great source for entrepreneurship and students who are looking to start their own businesses or considering joining a startup.”

L-SPARK wants to share knowledge and exchange capabilities, to be able to give a view of what the future will potentially look like for the next generation, explained Lax. Students can expect focus on key areas such as software, cyber security and IOT (internet of things) as the mentors at L-SPARK specialize in these fields.

“It’s an exciting situation; we are building our ecosystem, we are creating an environment and becoming a destination of choice,” said Lax. “We encourage that, and we hope to be able to build with that with Algonquin in the future.”

This is L-SPARKs first time partnering with a post-secondary institution, however Algonquin has a history of partnerships with external industry organizations. Katherine Root, chair of marketing, entrepreneurship and office studies, said that the approach is to enhance academic progress and bring entrepreneurs into our environment.

“It can bring them into industry or bring industry into the classroom,” said Root. “I think giving our students many pathways to opportunities is a good thing.”

For many students, networking is key to success and having help for the future can be very beneficial.

Sarah Al-Ahmadi, 27, a business administration student, believes It will be beneficial for students because it will give them an opportunity to express their thoughts and ideas through business. This is especially true for young startups because younger people need advice and network to get more ideas about how to run their businesses.

“Yes, if I am thinking to start my own business I think it will be beneficial,” said Al-Ahmadi. “I would get to have an opportunity to have more knowledge from more experienced people in the field.”

L-SPARK is based in DARE because the area allows it to be centralized for some of the services to make it successful. This area is where ideas collide and “space matters” according to President Cheryl Jensen. There is opportunity through the DARE District for companies to come in and hire students and stay there until they are big enough, then move out.

Jensen explained that this partnership is a “knowledge exchange” and will open opportunities to students if they want to start a business and use the space as an incubator before venturing off themselves.

L-SPARK is business-oriented, but all students can seek their services. However; this is only the beginning for partnerships with the college like this one.

“Once that pilot gets going there’s no reason we can’t expand into other disciplines,” said Jensen. “Just getting started.”