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Knowledge seekers

Entrepreneurial collaboration and communication in Atlantic Canada

By Melanie Callahan

Entrepreneurship in Atlantic Canada is the subject of a regional research effort supported by the Harris Centre, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and Grenfell’s Scholarship in the Arts.

The project brings together faculty and staff from both campuses of Memorial University, St. Mary’s University, University of PEI, Université de Moncton, Cape Breton University and University of New Brunswick.

From left, Nathan Dennison, N.S. Business Inc.., and Ellen Farrell, St. Mary’s University, provide an overview of the Atlantic Entrepreneurship Ecosystem’s project.
From left, Nathan Dennison, N.S. Business Inc.., and Ellen Farrell, St. Mary’s University, provide an overview of the Atlantic Entrepreneurship Ecosystem’s project.
Photo: Submitted

The group is mapping knowledge-seeking behaviours in the Atlantic Canadian entrepreneurial ecosystem in order to compare and contrast regions and recommend ways to strengthen the ecosystem. An entrepreneurial ecosystem is defined as a unique, complex environment that supports entrepreneurial activity

“Interest in mapping and better understanding these ecosystems will be valuable for policy-makers, industry associations, entrepreneurs, academics and other actors,” said Ken Carter, director, Office of Engagement at Grenfell Campus.

Entrepreneurial culture

Grenfell’s Navigate Entrepreneurship Centre is working with key ecosystem partners, including the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and the provincial department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation, entrepreneurial groups such as Humber Valley Entrepreneurs, and support organizations like Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs, to build an entrepreneurial culture in the Corner Brook area.

This includes initiatives such as startup weekends, entrepreneurial workshops and networking sessions, regional development conferences, and career and entrepreneurial expos for students. IT also involves close participation with Grenfell Campus’s business program.

“Interest in entrepreneurial ecosystems has intensified as successful regions have shown that high levels and intensity of support to entrepreneurs can be an effective regional economic development strategy,” said Dr. Blair Winsor, Faculty of Business Administration, St. John’s campus.

“Rather than competing, we need to work together to be the best in the world at what we do.” — Dr. Ellen Farrell

The project is a good example of co-operation between researchers and institutions in Atlantic Canadian. The group is also looking at other teaching and research opportunities.

“We need collaboration to make things happen beyond those that we are able to do on our own,” said Dr. Ellen Farrell from St. Mary’s University.

“We need to move forward in this world as a region. We have great universities, researchers and collaboration. Rather than competing, we need to work together to be the best in the world at what we do.”


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