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Entrepreneurship course inspires innovation and business training at Faculty of Science

New collaboration with the Asper Stu Clark Centre for Entrepreneurship provides students with the confidence to bring their ideas to market.

January 28, 2022 — 

Students have given a unanimous thumbs-up to the new course, SCI 4000 The Science Entrepreneurial Mindset! The course aims to provide students with an entrepreneurial toolkit and the confidence to bring their ideas to market.

“To say this course exceeded my expectation would be an understatement! I learned many useful techniques. This course is what I needed to re-ignite my passion for entrepreneurship and I’d like to sincerely thank the instructors for being so supportive, insightful, and encouraging,” explains Nikhat Lubna, a student in the Faculty of Science.

To inspire students, the course featured guest speakers who could identify with the students – Faculty of Science alumni who have become successful entrepreneurs themselves. “I was excited to hear a non-business faculty, and the one I graduated from was offering an entrepreneurship class,” says Chris Schmidt [BSc./16], Co-Founder/CEO at Pluto Ventures. “Therefore, I wanted to guest speak because I was in the students’ shoes not long ago and can relate to them.”

The course was piloted in May 2021 and developed in collaboration with the Stu Clark Centre for Entrepreneurship at the Asper School of Business. It challenged students to generate ideas and address “Why” their ideas might succeed. It also covered the “How-to” with an introduction to business planning, market validation, and HR considerations, concluding in a group pitch event.

“The Stu Clark Centre for Entrepreneurship is a university-wide center providing a variety of services in support of introducing and promoting an entrepreneurial and innovation mindset across the entire student population. The competencies embodied by the entrepreneurial mindset are highly desirable and necessary whether a student is starting a business of their own, working within a small or medium-sized organization, or working within a large corporate structure. These skills include critical thinking, communication, collaboration, creativity, and innovation. These are the skills of the future and students who demonstrate these competencies will definitely be more attractive to future employers!”, explains Debra Jonasson-Young [MBA/99], Executive Director for the Stu Clark Centre for Entrepreneurship.

According to a report in April 2019, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Education at Canadian Universities by the University of Toronto, the majority of tech founders in Canada are science students, yet science students are radically underserved by entrepreneurship and business training given the rate at which they start companies.

“While science students may not traditionally see entrepreneurship as a career path, they are already developing some of the necessary skills to succeed in this area” explains course instructor Christa Kruck [BSc. (Hons)/11, MBA/16]. Based on his own experience, Schmidt notes that “critical thinking and problem-solving are crucial skills needed to excel in science, and they translate exceptionally well to entrepreneurship.”

“Working together with the Stu Clark Centre for Entrepreneurship, our aim is to foster this mindset early on at the Faculty of Science at the undergraduate level and grow the pipeline of new talent and innovation here in our province and beyond”, says Dr. Brian Mark [MSc./98], Dean, Faculty of Science.

“SCI 4000 was a perfect opportunity to work together, and the Stu Clark Centre was excited to collaborate with Teresa de Kievit and Christa Kruck as they developed this amazing course and brought it successfully through to fruition. Teresa and Christa, themselves creative and innovative, were wonderful partners to work with and we look forward to other ways of collaborating in the future,” adds Jonasson-Young.

“The world needs entrepreneurs now more than ever”, says course instructor, Joshua Zaporzan [B.Comm.(Hons)/17], Owner & President of Audax Ventures. “The introductory skill sets learned in this course are those that will help build creative thinkers, innovative leaders, and change-makers in our community. The Stu Clark Centre is excited to continue to help support our entrepreneurial ecosystem and further spark entrepreneurial spirit across the University of Manitoba”, adds Zaporzan.

SCI 4000 The Science Entrepreneurial Mindset will be offered to Faculty of Science students again in May 2022. The Asper School of Business also offers ENTR 2020 Starting a New Business, which is open to students in faculties outside of the Asper School of Business.

Are you a Faculty of Science Alumni Entrepreneur?

If so, we want to hear from you! Please contact Christa Kruck, Alumni Relations, and Graduate Programs Coordinator, Faculty of Science, to learn more about opportunities to connect at the UM Faculty of Science.

Are you an aspiring Student Entrepreneur? 

Check out our new Science Entrepreneurship and Professional Development & Science Communication websites.

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