President Cheryl Jensen signed a pledge to foster entrepreneurship at Algonquin in early October.
Last fall, an entrepreneurship centre was opened in the Student Commons building. It’s a place where students can come to be mentored, form business teams, and hold meetings. “I don’t know of another college that is actually supported and funded like ours to help students start their own business,” said Jensen. “Times are changing for employment.” Jensen said. “Entrepreneurship and productivity are seen to be the new drivers of economic prosperity.”
“As times change and manufacturing moves out of Canada, the opportunities for young people and for people changing careers is really to start forming our own companies and making sure that those grow,” said Jensen. “So it’s extremely important to me that our students have these skills.”
The agreement is composed of five commitments, the entrepreneurship centre being one of them. The others include bringing entrepreneurs in to speak to students, being engaged in the economic development in the city, leveraging the college to spur innovation, and to creating a buzz about entrepreneurship at Algonquin.
Leanna Verucci, the entrepreneurial manager at the centre, said all students can benefit from this pledge.
“Often people associate the idea of being an entrepreneur with being in business,” said Verucci. “But there are so many different types. Just because you aren’t in the school of business, that doesn’t mean you can’t be entrepreneurial. It’s a mindset. It’s about how you think, how you innovate. It’s seeing things not as obstacles but as opportunities.”
Verucci explained how you could still be entrepreneurial and work for someone else.
“It’s the way you think about things and how you approach things,” said Verucci. “Even if you’re working for someone else you have to be innovative. It’s about innovating and coming at a problem in a different way.”
Jensen also stressed the important of innovation for every student entering the job market.
“That feeling that you own what you do and putting everything into what you do is a really important skill that employers are looking for,” said Jensen. “To be innovative, to do better every day than what you did before, is something that all of our students should understand.”