New Humber Lakeshore building aims to cultivate innovative ideas and promote entrepreneurship

Aleema Ali

GENERAL ASSIGNMENT REPORTER

Humber Lakeshore’s G Building is intended to encourage entrepreneurial activities and support students in their early approach to entrepreneurship as a large part of the 2013-2018 strategic plan.

That was the subject as Humber president and CEO Chris Whitaker and senior vice president, academic, Laurie Rancourt hosted the Humber Centre for Entrepreneurship and Centres for Innovation Town Hall on Monday.

The mission is to “cultivate innovative ideas into successful business ventures while promoting economic development,” according to the presentation.

The plan includes Launchpad and Venture Seed, two Humber programs to assist entrepreneurialism. Launchpad helps students develop early stage business models, refine their business pitches and create products.

Venture Seed develops the funding for startups for students in upper year and for alumni.

Resources available to students at the new G building include boardrooms, lecture halls, media labs, session rooms and a kitchen, as well as lounge areas, including a very popular loft.

Whitaker said the centre offers students a foundation that will complement the skills they are already developing in their programs.

“The benefit of the Centre for Entrepreneurship [G building] is that it has the potential to cross all of our programs. Many students have particular careers in mind when they come here and there’s others that aren’t too sure where their program and their credentials will take them,” Whitaker said.

Whitaker also said one of the many goals the centre has set is to prepare students for ever-changing workforces by anticipating trends.

Although North campus does not have a “G Building”, it does have the same kind of spaces students can go to, like the Learning Resource Commons.

Rancourt said the jumpstart for the five-year plan started with listening to what the community wanted. In modeling the centre after what was heard, she said the success should be inevitable with the ongoing progression.

“The sky is the limit, and the challenge for us, hopefully at some point in the very near future, is that we’re going to have waiting lists of students that want to get involved, industry partners that want to get involved, and faculty members that want to get involved,” said Rancourt.

Rancourt praises Humber for its commitment to students’ success.

“I’ve been at a lot of different post-secondary institutions, and Humber is one of the ones that has the most time and resources invested in providing development supports for faculty and staff across the institution,” Rancourt said.

Darren Lawless, dean of Applied Research and Innovation Research, answered one of the more important questions during the question-and-answer period that concluded the session.

Lawless said that students and faculty will be able to learn about these new resources through Humber’s means of communication. There will be a communication plan created and enforced, which will entail websites and links for the Centre for Teaching and Learning, and through scholarships.

“The more you can showcase a product, then that will hopefully trigger someone to say ‘Well I can do that too, who do I speak to?’” Lawless said.

“There will be lots of spaces to encourage entrepreneurial activity,” he said.

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