United College launches Diploma in Indigenous Entrepreneurship

Thursday, May 4, 2023
Principal, Rick Myers with Jacob Crane and partners at Bow Valley

United College recently announced the launch of an innovative initiative to deliver indigenized entrepreneurship education.  

The new Diploma in Indigenous Entrepreneurship will be delivered in partnership with post-secondary institutions across Canada and will focus on the unique needs and priorities of Indigenous entrepreneurs.  

“Our goal is to become a national centre of excellence in Indigenous entrepreneurship, further developing the potential of talented Indigenous students,” said Richard Myers, United College Principal, speaking from Bow Valley College in Calgary on April 26, 2023.  “This diploma offers a genuinely indigenized business education, with a curriculum that is built and delivered by Indigenous instructors, that draws on Indigenous business case studies that have been developed specifically for this program.”   

The diploma in Indigenous entrepreneurship is innovative in its delivery as well as its design.  Instructors from United College at the University of Waterloo will use distance technology to deliver content to students at five partner institutions:  Bow Valley College in Calgary; Assiniboine College in Brandon; Oshki-Pimache-O-Win in Thunder Bay; Sault College in Sault Ste. Marie; and Humber College in Toronto.  Participating students will continue to receive academic and cultural support through the Indigenous Student Centres at their respective campuses.           

Experiential learning is also a cornerstone of this program. 

Students will be able to work on a venture of their own or work with their classmates to solve an entrepreneurship challenge for a local Indigenous organization or company,

Program Manager, Jacob Crane, a member of Tsuu T’ina First Nation

Students will graduate with a diploma in Indigenous entrepreneurship from the University of Waterloo.

Students in the program are eligible for full-tuition scholarships named after J.P. Gladu, former President of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business and former Chancellor of United College.  This initiative has been generously supported by the Hallman Foundation, the NCR Foundation, the Business Higher Education Roundtable, the Peter Gilgan Foundation and the Suncor Energy Foundation.

Quick Facts:  

  • Incoming students begin their studies Fall 2023 and are expected to complete the diploma in Spring 2025     
  • Delivered remotely to six community colleges across Canada, scaling to 10 colleges
  • Target initial enrollment of 25 Indigenous students, scaling to 100 students
  • Experiential learning component with Indigenous entrepreneurship placements
  • Unique Indigenous business case studies form the core of the curriculum
partner college logos