UW launches new Indigenous entrepreneurship coaching program

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The host is St. Paul’s University College under the direction of the indigenous entrepreneur Jacob Crane

The University of Waterloo has announced the launch of a new entrepreneurship education program tailored to meet the needs of indigenous youth and their communities. The training program, hosted by St. Paul’s University College, is led by indigenous entrepreneur Jacob Crane, who is managed online by the Waterloo Indigenous Student Center in conjunction with GreenHouse, a college “social impact incubator” that provides “programs, opportunities and a community for Students to develop problem solving skills and come up with innovative ideas ”.

According to a statement from the University of Waterloo, the four-month program will give students four weeks of classroom instruction from “well-known Indigenous entrepreneurs from across the country,” plus a three-month period during which students work to reach milestones within their program own specified company.

At the end of the program, enrolled students receive a certificate of achievement as well as credit towards the curriculum. These students can also apply for up to $ 3,000 for their respective corporate project. Program manager Jacob Crane said the training program was “very empowering” as it allows Indigenous youth to take beneficial ownership of their lives.

“By investing in indigenous entrepreneurship, we can help solve problems at the top of our communities,” said Crane. “When an indigenous person starts a business, 20 people are positively affected in the first month alone.”

Regarding this impact, Crane said that indigenous entrepreneurship is particularly unique – as he believes it is more focused on “solving problems and sharing wealth with the collective.”

“There are 631 indigenous communities in Canada. If only one member from each community were to participate in the program, it would have a significant positive and direct impact on our communities.”

The indigenous entrepreneurship training program will serve as a pilot for the entrepreneurial learning component of an indigenous entrepreneurship minor, which is expected to be offered by St. Paul’s University College from autumn 2021. According to the University of Waterloo, a total of 60 indigenous students will take part in this work-integrated learning experience.

“We are excited to offer programs that support Indigenous students in their entrepreneurial endeavors,” said Richard Myers, director of St. Paul’s. “As an institution, I believe we are uniquely suited to deliver an innovative learning experience that focuses on an indigenized business approach.”