New entrepreneurship training program launches for Indigenous students

Wednesday, February 3, 2021
Jacob Crane Indigenous Entrepreneur

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.