By Jake Scott
Ryerson will be coming into some cash provided by the Ontario government to expand entrepreneurial interests at the university.
The ministry of research and innovation announced that GTA universities and colleges will receive more than $6.8 million from the Campus-Linked Accelerators (CLA) program as part of the provincial government’s youth jobs strategy. $2 million of that will go to Ryerson.
Each university will use the money to focus on a different aspect of entrepreneurship. Ryerson is looking to “provide training for as many as 3,000 budding entrepreneurs, including youth in the local community and underrepresented groups,” according to a press release.
The university has roughly 120,000 square feet of combined innovative space with the six zones, according to Ryerson President Sheldon Levy.
“At Ryerson we set a goal that 10 per cent of our students would graduate with a degree in one hand and a business in the other. That’s a big goal, that’s 2,500 students,” Levy said. “Todays announcement just adds additional support. It gets us that much closer to the 10 per cent.”
This is a goal that was set out in the 2014 Strategic Mandate Agreement that Ontario universities submitted to the provincial government. The 10 per cent is aimed at the student body as a whole, and not just business-oriented majors. Currently 50 per cent of groups at the Digital Media Zone are Ryerson affiliated, but that doesn’t mean everyone gets in.
“I applied to the DMZ once and I never heard back from them, so I just gave up on a business,” said Michael Staltari, a fourth-year real estate management student. “It should have a bigger presence.”
Ryerson will be using money to increase student interest in entrepreneurial activities and create three new zones. These will include the Design and Fabrication Zone, the Biomedical Zone in partnership with St. Michael’s Hospital and one mysterious unspecified zone located in the new Student Learning Centre.
The announcement was made at the Ontario College of Arts and Design University by Richmond Hill MPP Reza Moridi.
“We are transforming our universities,” Moridi said. “When they graduate … Instead of looking for a job [students] can create the jobs.”