Indigenous entrepreneurship program comes to Waterloo
St. Paul’s University College rolls out training initiative for Indigenous students
WATERLOO, Ont. (February 3, 2021) – Indigenous post-secondary students from across Canada will soon be able to participate in a new entrepreneurship training program.
Hosted by St. Paul’s University College at the University of Waterloo and lead by industrious entrepreneur Jacob Crane, the program will be administered online by the Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre and GreenHouse social impact incubator at the College.
“We are delighted to start offering programs which will support Indigenous students in their entrepreneurial aspirations,” said Richard Myers, principal at St. Paul’s. “As an institution, I believe we are uniquely suited to provide an innovative learning experience, which focuses on an Indigenized approach to business.”
Programming will be tailored to meet the needs of Indigenous youth and their communities while also training host organizations with the cultural competency required to work with Indigenous youth.
Over four months, students will receive four weeks of classroom coaching from notable Indigenous entrepreneurs from across the country and a three-month period for which students will work to achieve specific milestones within their enterprise. At the end of the program, students will receive co-curricular credit, a certificate of achievement and be able to compete for up to $3,000 in funding for their venture.
“By investing in Indigenous entrepreneurship, we can help solve problems at the forefront of our communities,” said Jacob Crane, program manager. “When an Indigenous person starts a business, 20 people are positively impacted in the first month alone.
“This is very empowering because it allows them to take economic ownership of their life.”
“Indigenous Entrepreneurship is very different because it focuses more on solving problems and sharing wealth with the collective,” said Crane. “There are 631 indigenous communities in Canada, if we had just one member from every community participate in the program, it would make a significant positive and direct impact on our communities.”
This training program will pilot the entrepreneurial work integrated learning (WIL) component of an Indigenous Entrepreneurship minor to be offered by the College starting in Fall 2021. A total of sixty Indigenous students will participate in the WIL experience.
St. Paul's University College is an affiliated institution of the University of Waterloo, located in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. The College functions as a residence for both undergraduate and graduate students at the University and offers classes to all University students. St. Paul’s also provides specialized support through two units housed at the College: GreenHouse, a social impact incubator, dedicated to supporting innovators who want to see social and environmental change, and the Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre, which facilitates the sharing of Indigenous knowledge, culturally relevant information and support services for Indigenous students studying at the University.
The University of Waterloo acknowledges that much of our work takes place on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. Our main campus is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land granted to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River. Our active work toward reconciliation takes place across our campuses through research, learning, teaching, and community building, and is co-ordinated within the Office of Indigenous Relations.