Sept. 28, 2016
Got a business idea? Passionate about entrepreneurship?
“Our ambassadors take on a leading role in driving entrepreneurship at Memorial,” said Daan Goossens, program catalyst, Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship. “They are given a lot of responsibility and we take their input on what we should do very seriously. This year, we have a senior ambassador team taking on more formal roles, such as recruitment and learning leads, while the junior ambassadors will be responsible for proposing a project that they will lead. The goal of the project is to further show students at Memorial that entrepreneurship is one of the most rewarding career paths out there.”
This is the second year the centre has sought student ambassadors. Last year, 12 ambassadors joined the program from a variety of disciplines. The ambassadors’ role is to raise awareness about entrepreneurship across the student body through a variety of activities. They also attend entrepreneurial events and visit locations with developed entrepreneurial environments.
In 2016 the group travelled to Silicon Valley in the San Francisco Bay area of California. This November, the ambassador team will head to Boston, Mass.
“The purpose of these trips is to expose entrepreneurial students to an environment in which starting a business is the norm and where thinking big and innovatively is just a way of life,” said Mr. Goossens. “It shows students what an entrepreneurial community is like so that we can try to foster a similar community locally.”
For civil engineering student John Ennis, the trip to Silicon Valley was a game changer.
“Silicon Valley was the most eye-opening experience of my life,” he said. “Prior to the trip, I would have never been able to fully imagine the scale upon which entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley think. These people are not smarter or better than the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. They just think on a bigger scale. This was, by far, the most beneficial realization of my trip.”
Acting as a student entrepreneurship ambassador and participating in the trip south of the border has changed his career goals, as well.
“The trip definitely has had an effect on my studies and future career goals,” said Mr. Ennis. “At this age, I crave a job that I am passionate about and that has opportunities for creativity and spontaneity. I am currently on a work term with Kozmo Wireless, a Valley-based startup focused on disrupting the logistics market . . . It has already confirmed my desire to be an entrepreneur, mixing creativity with engineering to create a one-in-a-million product.”
The Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship promotes entrepreneurship across Memorial University and offers supports for students and faculty members who are interested in pursuing entrepreneurial paths. A joint venture of the Faculty of Business Administration and the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, the centre also provides programs to connect new startups and entrepreneurs with expertise, mentors and funding agencies and aims to develop academic curricula and conduct research relevant to entrepreneurship in the province.
“Our goal is to help people at Memorial pursue a meaningful career about something they are passionate about through entrepreneurship,” said Mr. Goossens.
“We have many students thinking about ideas, seeing problems they can solve and not accepting the status quo. For them, seeing a developed entrepreneurial environment allows them to think outside their daily context and open their minds to think about ideas that can make a big impact on the world. The ambassador team, and by extension the centre, is a great opportunity for people interested in entrepreneurship to find their own version of entrepreneurship and what it means to them.”