It’s safe to say entrepreneurship comes more naturally to some. But it’s a skill like any other that can be learned and developed, which is precisely where the Stu Clark Centre for Entrepreneurship (SCCE) comes in.
“Students take on a great deal of coursework focused on accounting, marketing and HR but the reality is many students aren’t exposed to entrepreneurship until after graduation,” said Amy Briscoe, the Centre’s Program Coordinator, which is part of the Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba.
“Our job is to do everything we can to equip our students for success and help them learn the skills necessary to be an effective entrepreneur so they can write their own future.”
To do so, the Centre focuses on a variety of key areas, with their primary focus being mentorship and education.
One of the primary offerings by the SCCE is time with its on-site venture coach, who can be booked by students for one-on-one consultations. But that’s just scratching the surface of what they have to offer.
“Beyond the centre’s own resources, we introduce students to the entrepreneur community and link them with mentorship opportunities to really broaden their business outlook,” said Briscoe. “Organizations like North Forge Technology Exchange and Futurepreneur are incredible resources for our students and give them access to expertise and technology they wouldn’t otherwise have.”
Regarding the elements North Forge specifically brings to the table, Briscoe emphasizes how important things like legal, tech and financial consultation can be to student entrepreneurs, not to mention access to North Forge’s renowned Fabrication Lab.
“Prototyping has become an integral part of so many entrepreneurial ideas but financially speaking it’s often out of reach, especially for students,” said Briscoe. “The Fabrication Lab is another example of an incredibly valuable resource made available by Winnipeg’s expanding entrepreneurship community that helps students take their ideas to the next level.”
Another major focus of the Stu Clark Centre for Entrepreneurship is business plan and investment competitions, which are designed to encourage University and High School students to approach business, new venture and investment opportunities in both critical and creative ways.
The Centre holds three main competitions throughout the year (the Stu Clark Investment Competition, the Manitoba New Venture Championship and the Manitoba High School New Venture Championships) which are designed to challenge the business acumen and abilities of high school through to MBA level students.
“We’ve found entrepreneurial competitions are a great way to promote entrepreneurship in general and to prepare students for what they’ll experience as part of the business community,” said Briscoe. “Students don’t stay students forever so the better we can prepare them for life after graduation the better.”
Through its mentoring and competition programs, the Stu Clark Centre for Entrepreneurship has played a part in many great success stories, including Exigence Technologies, a smart coatings and specialty chemicals company whose founders won Top Canadian University at the Stu Clark Investment Challenge in 2014, and White Pine Bicycle Company, the business plan for which originated during the 2014 Manitoba New Venture Championships
These are just two of the countless examples of how the Stu Clark Centre for Entrepreneurship has helped provide the resources and insight necessary to achieve entrepreneurial success. Something Briscoe says is the driving force behind the Centre.
“We’re here to help students succeed, and connecting our students with people and resources that further their business concepts is one of the very best ways we can do that.”