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Support, connect, empower

Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship receives community impact award

By Jackey Locke

The Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship (MCE) has received GlobalNL’s inaugural Community Impact Award.

The award recognizes and celebrates organizations that are furthering GlobalNL’s mission to support, connect and empower Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

“It is such an honour to be the recipient of GlobalNL’s Community Impact Award in recognition of the support we have provided to student entrepreneurs during the current pandemic,” said Florian Villaumé, director, MCE. “The decisions we make at the Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship are guided by the needs of students we support, and no pandemic will ever change that.

“I’d like to share this award with all my colleagues across Memorial University, who have been expending similar effort to help students going through and succeeding during this pandemic.”

GlobalNL's Community Impact Award
GlobalNL’s Community Impact Award
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

The MCE was established in 2016 to serve as a campus-wide entrepreneurship centre for entrepreneurs and early-stage companies. Through student-centric programming, the MCE provides entrepreneurial students at Memorial University with foundational training, encouragement, guidance, access to funding and connections to create high growth businesses.

The centre provides workshops and presentations to students throughout the year that are tailored to students exploring entrepreneurship. It also provides startup coaching, entrepreneurial work terms/internships and pre-seed funding to students creating startups.

When the pandemic closed the centre’s physical space and cancelled in-person events, the centre shifted to a virtual learning environment where online events flourished and entrepreneurial work terms continued.


The MCE recognized challenges presented by the pandemic as an opportunity to organize a virtual networkshop – part networking, part workshop – with six partnered universities in Atlantic Canada. This networking series connected like-minded entrepreneurial students, business leaders, lawyers and more.

The centre also offered 35 virtual entrepreneurial work terms in the summer and fall semesters (10 work terms were held over the same period last year), when some co-operative education placements were cancelled because of the pandemic.

The MCE has helped kickstart several successful startups in Newfoundland and Labrador, including Mysa, CoLab Software, BreatheSuite and InspectAR. These companies received guidance, introductions to industry experts and advisors, legal advice and resources, pre-seed funding and guidance on raising investment capital.

Furthermore, the centre helped these Newfoundland and Labrador-based companies connect with and learn from a global network of expatriates through GlobalNL.

From left are Enaya AbdElGaber, networkshop series delivery intern, MCE; Lauren Taylor, GlobalNL digital strategy intern; Jason Trask, programs catalyst, MCE; Elyse Summers, community and marketing coordinator, MCE; Kingsley Gifford, co-founder, GlobalNL; and Greg Smyth, co-founder, GlobalNL.
From left are Enaya AbdElGaber, MCE; Lauren Taylor, GlobalNL; Jason Trask, MCE; Kingsley Gifford, GlobalNL; Florian Villaumé, MCE; Elyse Summers, MCE; and Greg Smyth, GlobalNL.
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

GlobalNL co-founders Greg Smyth and Kingsley Gifford say awarding the MCE with their inaugural Community Impact Award was an easy choice.

“We recognize the MCE’s incredible contribution to the province championing and enabling aspiring entrepreneurs to compete on a global stage,” they said. “In an unparalleled year, the MCE’s commitment to promoting innovation and supporting local startups has been nothing short of inspiring.”

As part of the award, which was presented on Dec. 22 at a celebration at Signal Hill Campus, the MCE received a GlobalNL trophy, three goal coaching sessions with Lesley Powell at Cloudberry and promotion of an episode about the MCE that aired on GlobalNL’s Uncharted Waters podcast.

With files from GlobalNL.

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