Chris Ryan expects to be surprised by "the quality of thought and the level of ideas" students will bring to and cultivate at the Genesis Entrepreneurship Centre that St. Clair College of Applied Arts and Technology in Ontario opens at its South Windsor campus in September 2015.
Mr. Ryan, the college's director of entrepreneurship, plans to "open students' minds to the wealth of opportunities available to them." He also hopes to take their ideation about what they want to do and help them formulate a process for getting there. "Sometimes, an idea just needs to be moved into the right direction to be successful," he says.
In addition to teaching modules around topics like "taking a business from inception to startup," Mr. Ryan plans to have workshops, seminars, networking events and challenges that will bring students together to solve problems as a team.
"We'll encourage interdisciplinary involvement," he says, adding that he envisions connections – such as between a fashion design student, an advertising and marketing student and a business administration student – to lead to partnerships that allow everyone to move forward.
In addition to student collaborations, Mr. Ryan is looking to facilitate mentorships with St. Clair College's alumni. "Each year, we acknowledge our alumni of distinction," he explains. "Those are individuals who have done very well in their chosen fields. We'd like them to share what they have taken away from the college as well as from industry.
"The world of entrepreneurship and innovation is changing very quickly. Our goal is to get our students to think entrepreneurially," Mr. Ryan says, adding that the centre is meant to complement existing programs at St. Clair College and is open to students in all disciplines.
"We'd like to inspire people to think about what could be," he says. "And once they figure that out, we'll try to identify how to get there and what solutions are needed for making the world a little better."
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