Fanshawe College has a bold vision for young entrepreneurs.
The school has partnered with Western University to form a campus-linked accelerator to help start-ups.
Between the two schools, the program has received $1.45 million in provincial funding to get started. The schools are working on creating student entrepreneurship centres where young people can meet and share ideas.
Fanshawe’s Manager of Career Services, Darlene O’Neil, says the biggest barrier facing young entrepreneurs is the lack of a support system — something she hopes to change.
“They have the great idea, [but] they don’t have the network to help them develop a business plan, to help them figure out where to go for funding or to prototype things,” O’Neil says. “So this campus-linked accelerator is going to be able to provide all those supports.”
The partnership between Fanshawe and Western is unique in bringing together college and university students. O’Neil says the great benefit of the collaboration between the schools is that it breaks down silos.
“We’ll have a theoretical student from Western match up with an applied-learning student from Fanshawe, and the theoretical student might have the great idea but doesn’t know how to bring it to fruition,” says O’Neil. “So together, as teams, they’ll be able to work together.”