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World class

MCE among top five emerging entrepreneurship centres in the world

By Susan White

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

MCE was named a finalist in the outstanding emerging entrepreneurship centre category of annual awards presented by Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers (GCEC). It’s the only Canadian post-secondary entrepreneurship centre recognized by the GCEC, and one of only four outside of the U.S. to be named a finalist or winner across the eight award categories.

“We’re thrilled that the work MCE has been doing to advance Memorial’s entrepreneurial capacity has been recognized by the GCEC,” said Florian Villaumé, director, MCE.

Best of university entrepreneurship

The GCEC awards showcase and celebrate the best of university entrepreneurship, with the emerging category targeting centres that are less than five years old. The awards ceremony was held on Sept. 28 in Stockholm, Sweden.

A scene from the awards ceremony in Stockholm.
Photo: Submitted

Nineteen applications were received in the emerging category with five finalists recognized at the awards ceremony.

“This recognition is for all students, entrepreneurs, businesses, partners, staff and faculty members who help make the work we are doing at MCE world class.” — Florian Villaumé

The winners were Brown University’s Nelson Centre for Entrepreneurship and Dartmouth College’s Magnuson Centre for Entrepreneurship, which, along with finalist Liu Idea Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Rice University, are based in the U.S. The fifth finalist was the Hebrew University Jerusalem’s HUJI Innovate from Israel.

“We have been learning from the best entrepreneurship centres in the world, and listening attentively to entrepreneurial students whom we serve at Memorial University,” said Mr. Villaumé.

“This recognition is for all students, entrepreneurs, businesses, partners, staff and faculty members who help make the work we are doing at MCE world class.”

Exponential growth

MCE is a pan-university centre that grew out of a partnership between the Faculty of Business Administration and the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

It has achieved exponential growth since launching in 2017. From an initial intake of 20 students, MCE now provides programming to more than 300 students each year who are interested in entrepreneurship.

As of April 2019 MCE has invested $159,000 in student business ideas. Twenty-three MCE-supported businesses have been incorporated, and the centre has attracted $4.7 million in funding from local businesses, donors, a private foundation and provincial and federal governments.

Student success

MCE has contributed to the early success of such student-led businesses as Colab Software, which was recently the first Atlantic Canadian company to be accepted into Y-Combinator, a prestigious accelerator that has an acceptance rate of just 1.5 per cent.

From left are Jeremy Andrews and Adam Keating of CoLab.
Photo: Dave Howells

It also contributed to Mysa, which was recently recognized as a Top 20 Early Stage startup by the Canadian Innovation Exchange. Canadian Innovation Exchange is Canada’s largest curated startup investment conference.

Mysa was also one of 10 Canadian companies named to the Lazaridis Institute’s Scaleup Program, which helps leading technology companies increase sales.

From left are Joshua and Zachary Green of Mysa.
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

“We’re proud of the growth we’ve achieved so far, and are inspired by the ambition, creativity and commitment that we see from students,” said Mr. Villaumé.

“We look forward to continuing to build on what makes Memorial and Newfoundland and Labrador unique, and to helping build Memorial’s reputation as one of the most entrepreneurial universities in Canada.”

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