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Top tier

Global recognition for Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship

Campus and Community

By Jackey Locke

The Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship (MCE) has been recognized as one of the top emerging entrepreneurship centres in the world for the second consecutive year.

The MUN MCE Team from left are Elyse Summers, community and marketing co-ordinator; Jason Trask, programs catalyst; and Florian Villaumé, director.
From left are MCE team members Elyse Summers, community and marketing co-ordinator; Jason Trask, programs catalyst; and Florian Villaumé, director.
Photo: Submitted

The centre was named as a finalist in the outstanding emerging entrepreneurship centre category by the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers at its annual conference, held virtually from Oct. 29-30 and hosted by the Troesh Centre at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas.

The MCE was the only Canadian and non-U.S. centre to reach the finals and was the only Canadian submission in the emerging centre category.

“We are humbled to be recognized by the GCEC for a second year in a row,” said Florian Villaumé, director, MCE. “This would not have been possible without the continuous commitment for excellence from the MCE team, advisory board, funders and supporters.”

One of six finalists

The GCEC awards are designed to showcase and celebrate the very best of university entrepreneurship worldwide.

Each year, the top entrepreneurship programs are recognized in several categories with the victors chosen by a committee of judges, including past winners.

There were 17 submissions in the emerging centre category, and the MCE was one of six finalists.

The MUN MCE was one of six finalists and the only Canadian team in the outstanding emerging center category.
The MUN MCE was one of six finalists and the only Canadian team in the outstanding emerging centre category.
Photo: Submitted

“This recognition highlights that the MCE continues to bring world class training and resources to Memorial’s students,” said Mr. Villaumé. “This support is comparable to universities with bigger budgets and more established ecosystems.”

Student-focused

The MCE is a pan-university entrepreneurship centre created in 2016 to inspire and enable aspiring entrepreneurial-minded students and to provide them with foundational training, encouragement, guidance, access to funding and connections to create high-growth businesses.

Through student-focused programming, the centre’s vision is to advance Memorial to become the leading entrepreneurial university in Canada.

Situated in Newfoundland and Labrador’s only university, the MCE plays a highly strategic role in helping to diversify the provincial economy.

“The most challenging times hide opportunities and we look forward to continuing embracing them.” — Florian Villaumé

As the centre continues to grow, so, too, does the entrepreneurial culture at Memorial and across Newfoundland and Labrador.

“As Memorial University’s entrepreneurial culture continues to grow, new startups are created and more and more students are choosing to stay in the province to join local startups,” said Mr. Villaumé. “The most challenging times hide opportunities and we look forward to continuing embracing them.”

Growth of an entrepreneurial ecosystem

From an initial intake of 20 students in 2017 to now providing programming to more than 300 students, the centre has hosted more than 100 entrepreneurial work terms and receives more than 85 startup ideas annually. In addition, MCE-supported startup companies have raised $13.2 million and have created more than 150 jobs in the province since 2016.

The centre is also focused on inspiring female and international students to explore entrepreneurship. The result has been a steady increase in the number of female students engaging with the MCE from approximately 25 per cent in 2018-19 to 33 per cent in 2019-20. International students consistently comprise an average of 65 per cent of workshop participants.

The centre has also been important in the emergence of impactful startups that have received global accolades, like BreatheSuite and InspectAR.

BreatheSuite has developed an add-on device for inhalers to help people with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease to ensure patients receive optimal dosages of their medications. The two-year-old, St. John’s-based company employs nine people and recently completed external testing of its device in the U.S.

InspectAR is a local startup, recently acquired by Silicon Valley-based Cadence Design Systems, that uses augmented reality to accelerate electronics development.


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