Entrepreneurs on Campus: University-Based Support for Start-ups

Prepared by Mitacs
Released: June 14, 2018


Universities across the country are implementing a range of approaches to both promote and support entrepreneurship: whether by encouraging students to develop ideas and explore entrepreneurship as a career option, helping researchers turn their discoveries into viable businesses, or some combination thereof.

The diverse approaches reflect the vibrancy and dynamism of Canada’s university campuses. New models of developing and supporting entrepreneurs at universities are designed to equip students with skills and experience as they navigate the transition to a changing workforce, while promoting engagement with communities and economic development.

In some cases, traditional university program and institutional structures contrast with qualities associated with entrepreneurship. This presents new challenges as institutions seek to instill ‘entrepreneurial mindsets’ or develop a ‘culture of entrepreneurship’ on campus.

Understanding the phenomenon of campus-based entrepreneurship can be challenging for observers. How might universities overcome challenges as they seek to instill a culture of entrepreneurship among students and faculty? What distinguishes a campus-linked incubator from one that operates independently, and how effectively are their efforts coordinated?

In exploring these and other questions, Mitacs has sought to provide an overview of the evolving role that universities play in developing and supporting entrepreneurs, with associated challenges and opportunities.




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