Catherine Callbeck Centre for Entrepreneurship opens at UPEI

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The University of Prince Edward Island launched its new student entrepreneurship hub at an official grand opening event today. Named in honour of UPEI’s former chancellor, the Catherine Callbeck Centre for Entrepreneurship was made possible through a $2.25 million gift from the River Philip Foundation, a contribution of $372,000 from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and a further $372,000 from Innovation PEI (IPEI), and a $100,000 donation from the Credit Unions of PEI. The innovation hub will offer unique learning opportunities and programs that support student entrepreneurship and provide access for community partners to connect with on-campus talent.

Sean Casey, Member of Parliament for Charlottetown, on behalf of the Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, said, “Over the years, ACOA has been proud to support many projects to help build and diversify our entrepreneurial landscape, working alongside our post-secondary institutions, the Province of PEI, and other key players to create opportunity for new businesses and strengthen the region’s economy. We are pleased to support this vital new piece to our vibrant start-up ecosystem here in PEI.”

Susie Dillon, Member of the Legislative Assembly for Charlottetown-Belvedere, on behalf of the Honourable Gilles Arsenault, Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Trade, said, “This new space is the type of environment where the bright minds of UPEI and industry can come together and dovetail into our Island’s vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem. There’s no doubt that this space will spark conversation, foster collaboration, and drive innovation. Congratulations to the UPEI community for turning this project into a reality!”

The Catherine Callbeck Centre for Entrepreneurship will build upon and coordinate existing activities in individual faculties and coordinate and make entrepreneurship more broadly accessible and visible to students across all faculties and disciplines at UPEI. The Centre, in partnership with the UPEI Experiential Education department, will also create new entrepreneurial-oriented experiential learning opportunities.

“On behalf of the University, we thank the River Philip Foundation, ACOA, IPEI, and Credit Unions of PEI for their generous support of this important initiative that will serve as a catalyst for students to turn their business ideas into new start-up ventures,” said Dr. Greg Keefe, UPEI’s interim president and vice-chancellor. “It is so fitting that the Centre is named after our former chancellor as Catherine comes from a long line of entrepreneurs and continues to be a tremendous champion of young people.”

Dr. Greg Naterer, Vice-President Academic and Research, said, “We’re very excited to strengthen the entrepreneurial culture among students and connect with other existing activities on campus, including the MacLauchlan Panther Pitch. In addition to our funding partners, we also have partnered with the Atlantic Student Development Alliance and SpryPoint. Special thanks to Drs. Tarek Mady and Reuben Domike from the Faculty of Business, and Megan MacLean, Director of Work-Integrated Learning, for their contributions and efforts in making the Centre a reality.”

Amy Andrews joined the University last year as the new Manager of Entrepreneurship and will oversee the Centre. “We’ll be offering a range of student programming activities at the Centre. For example, a student ambassador team will help to promote entrepreneurship opportunities among students, and an increased visibility of success stories will build more awareness of entrepreneurship as a possible career direction.”

She added, “Funding for entrepreneurial work terms will allow students to focus on their startup venture for an entire semester and receive compensation for the work term as well as mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs. Students will also have opportunities to work with community innovators and business leaders through entrepreneurial placements.”

Located in the Robertson Library annex, the Catherine Callbeck Centre for Entrepreneurship includes the Credit Unions of PEI Boardroom, an open collaborative innovation area where student teams can connect with entrepreneurs and mentors, and other group workspaces. The location is in a high-traffic area with prominent visibility that will be open to students from all faculties and schools.

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