Move Over Wall Street, Hello Silicon Valley
Long gone are the days when every business student was looking for a job on Bay Street or Wall Street: the Royal Banks and Morgan Stanleys of this world. Now, the most coveted jobs are those that you make for yourself: start-ups in technology, biomedicine, fintech, and a myriad of other business and industry models at the forefront of innovation. Goldman Sachs has made way for Google.
The appeal of becoming an entrepreneur is easy to see. You can be your own boss, have the opportunity to create something from scratch, and get to reap the full financial reward of what you build. What is less easy to see is the amount of hard work and dedication that goes into starting a business, before the first dollar has been spent or made, and for very long thereafter.
Dalhousie Leads the Way
At the Rowe School of Business, the Norman Newman Centre for Entrepreneurship (NCCE) is dedicated to educating, training, and supporting students with this kind of drive. With a mandate to promote entrepreneurship in all its forms, the centre offers a wide ranges services, including:
- Classes for students interested in starting a business, design thinking, and innovation;
- Conferences, speaker series, innovation weekends, and fire-side chats where real entrepreneurs and students/alumni/the business community can interact;
- Training programs such as the Entrepreneurial Skills Program – in conjunction with the Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development Inc. (CEED) – where students can gain a certificate in entrepreneurship;
- A 100K Competiton that brings students and researchers together to launch their talent, ideas, and technology into companies;
- LaunchPad Accelerator;
- Annual participation in Canada’s Business Model Competition (hosted this year by Dalhousie!), and;
- An extensive mentorship network for students and alumni.
Due the dedication of its staff, the centre has also gained an international reputation and standing, further opening opportunities for students. In 2015 for instance, two Dal students were invited to participate in the prestigious University Innovation Fellows initiative in Silicon Valley – the first ever invited from outside the US; this invitation was coordinated by the Norman Newman Centre and looks to be continued in the future.
Moreover, many if not most of these opportunities are available to students from any faculty, not just business. This leads to a unique dynamic in many ways, with students from different disciplines learning and sharing ideas together, creating companies which bridge previously untouched areas.
All About the People
As with any initiative however, the Norman Newman Centre for Entrepreneurship succeeds most where its participants are concerned. Students, in particular, are highly engaged and come bursting with ideas and passion – maximizing every opportunity and advantage at their disposal. For those who have the privilege to work at the NNCE – people like Dr. Mary Kilfoil, Academic Lead for the Launch Dal Program – this can be the most rewarding part of all; watching students grow and prosper in their chosen field and build a business or set of skills from scratch.
Many of these students go on to have promising careers; sometimes creating businesses of their own, sometimes joining those of others. Wherever they end up though, these lucky few carry with them the lessons they learned and the experiences they had as part of the Norman Newman Centre.