OCE hosts CLA/OCEA network meeting in Windsor

October 19, 2016

OCE Hosted the CLA/OCEA Network Meeting in Windsor
WINDSOR, Oct. 19, 2016 – The sometimes thorny issue of intellectual property, how Canadian starts-ups can generate early-stage revenues, and regional angel investing were just three of the topics at Ontario Centres of Excellence’s two-day network meeting of Campus-Led Accelerators/On-Campus Entrepreneurship Activities (CLA/OCEA).

The event also included a keynote speech and panel discussion on scaling up, multiple breakout sessions and tours of the University of Windsor’s EPICentre entrepreneurship hub and Detroit’s TechTown business accelerator just across the Ambassador Bridge.

With 80 attendees representing the 25 CLA/OCEA projects from across the province, the network meeting provided robust discussion on some of the successes and challenges in the CLA/OCEA space.

“It’s a great opportunity to catch up with my colleagues at other academic institutions,” says participant Annette Markvoort, Entrepreneurship Animator at Fanshawe College’s LEAP Junction Entrepreneurship Services in London, Ont. “Some of us are business profs and academics, while others are entrepreneurs. This event is valuable because I love seeing and hearing what others are doing. It’s about finding the best way to help our students leap into entrepreneurship.”

“Since the CLA and OCEA programs began two years ago, we have seen some amazing results, with many success stories across a variety of sectors,” says Martin Croteau, Director, Academic Entrepreneurship, Ontario Centres of Excellence. “We are building unique communities of entrepreneurship, in a way that other organizations simply cannot do because we’re on campus.”

Keynote speaker Jay Shah, Executive Director of Velocity, one of the University of Waterloo’s business incubators, stressed the importance of having an entrepreneurial stream outside the formal academic path. Cynthia Goh, Academic Director of the Banting and Best Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Toronto, provided an alternative view that universities don’t just exist to produce businesses or entrepreneurs, but also productive, socially engaged citizens who can impact society for the better.

Other participants pointed out the occasionally competing agendas of campus-based entrepreneurship centres and their outreach efforts to local business and the broader fundraising departments of colleges and universities.

A component of Ontario’s Youth Jobs Strategy, CLA/OCEA are helping more young people launch their own businesses and is making Ontario academic institutions the focal point for youth entrepreneurship within their communities. CLA/OCEA are an important step in the evolution of Ontario’s entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem. These programs provide funding to post-secondary institutions to create, improve and sustain a culture of entrepreneurship among students and youth, and to integrate these entrepreneurial activities with investors, industry, and other stakeholders in their region.

CLA investments will help Ontario accelerate the commercialization of ideas and inventions out of its world-class research institutions, develop the business leaders of tomorrow, and harness the power of its support networks to help build competitive regional innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems.

To learn more about CLA/OCEA, please visit our Campus-Linked Accelerators page or our On-Campus Entrepreneurship Activities page.

About Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Inc.

OCE drives the commercialization of cutting-edge research across key market sectors to build the economy of tomorrow and secure Ontario's global competitiveness. In doing this, OCE fosters the training and development of the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs and is a key partner with Ontario's industry, universities, colleges, research hospitals, investors and governments. A champion of leading-edge technologies, best practices and research, OCE invests in sectors such as advanced health, digital media and information communications, advanced manufacturing and materials, and cleantech including energy, environment and water. OCE is a key partner in delivering Ontario's Innovation Agenda as a member of the province's Ontario Network of Excellence (ONE). Funded by the Government of Ontario, the ONE is made up of regional and sector-focused organizations and helps Ontario-based entrepreneurs rapidly grow their company and create jobs