York University launches LaunchYU: a campus-wide entrepreneurship program

TORONTO, November 10, 2014 – York University today announced the creation of LaunchYU, a campus-wide initiative that supports early-stage entrepreneurship and helps to accelerate start-up companies within York University and the surrounding community.

The LaunchYU initiative will identify students and youth interested in exploring entrepreneurship as a viable career option, foster their entrepreneurial endeavours, and support the acceleration of high potential ventures. Innovation York, the University’s industry liaison and commercialization office, in collaboration with the Faculty of Health and the Lassonde School of Engineering, will facilitate LaunchYU.

“Building on existing entrepreneurship activities within Innovation York, the Schulich School of Business and the Bergeron Entrepreneurship Science & Technology program in the Lassonde School of Engineering, LaunchYU demonstrates the commitment that York University has made and will continue to make to entrepreneurship,” said Robert Haché, York’s Vice-President Research & Innovation. “Our goal is to help foster innovation and entrepreneurship in our students and ensure that startup companies created at York University reach their maximum potential.”

In order to mobilize LaunchYU, York University partnered with a number of organizations, including Collide Hub Inc. a startup company that is commercializing a resource-sharing and collaboration platform for entrepreneurs, ventureLAB, one of Ontario’s Regional Innovation Centres, and York Entrepreneurship Development Institute (YEDI) an organization focused on accelerating innovative small businesses and not-for-profit organizations.

“By partnering with these key organizations, we can leverage existing resources, bring them on campus and make them accessible to our student population and surrounding community,” says Sarah Howe, Director, Innovation York. LaunchYU will support hundreds of youth entrepreneurs over the next two years and aims to foster many new ventures.”

The government of Ontario’s Youth Jobs Strategy has provided York with $200,000 in funding over two years through its On-Campus Entrepreneurship Activities (OCEA) program. York University and its project partners have matched that contribution through cash and in-kind contributions of $350,000. The OCEA funding is managed by the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), part of the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs.

Ontario's Youth Jobs Strategy represents an investment of $295 million over two years with the goal of connecting 30,000 youth with the tools, experiences and entrepreneurial support they need to find employment or start their own businesses. To date, more than 20,000 job opportunities have already been created under the Youth Jobs Strategy.

“Fostering the entrepreneurial spirit among students is a key component of Ontario’s Youth Jobs Strategy, through programs that help transfer their ideas and skills to the marketplace while creating rewarding careers, says Reza Moridi, Ontario's Minister of Research and Innovation, and Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities. “By partnering with colleges and universities to support entrepreneurship, we are ensuring our province’s business leaders of tomorrow are getting the support they need to succeed today.”

“Ontario Centres of Excellence is pleased to be able to deliver this project as a trusted partner of the Government of Ontario. I look forward to putting our years of experience in connecting academia and industry, and our on-going support of young entrepreneurs to good use in making this initiative a tremendous success.” says Dr. Tom Corr, President and CEO of OCE.

For more information, please go to www.launchyu.ca

York University is helping to shape the global thinkers and thinking that will define tomorrow. York U’s unwavering commitment to excellence reflects a rich diversity of perspectives and a strong sense of social responsibility that sets us apart. A York U degree empowers graduates to thrive in the world and achieve their life goals through a rigorous academic foundation balanced by real-world experiential education. As a globally recognized research centre, York U is fully engaged in the critical discussions that lead to innovative solutions to the most pressing local and global social challenges. York U’s 11 faculties and 28 research centres are thinking bigger, broader and more globally, partnering with 288 leading universities worldwide. York U's community is strong − 55,000 students, 7,000 faculty and staff, and more than 250,000 alumni.

Media Contact:
Arielle Zomer, communications manager, Vice-President Research & Innovation, York University, 416 736 2100 x21069 / azomer@yorku.ca

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