Durham Region Post-Secondary Institutions Launch FastStart Program

The University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), in conjunction with Durham College, Fleming College and Trent University shared today that the four organizations are working with Spark Innovation Centre and the Greater Peterborough Innovation Cluster (GPIC) to launch the FastStart program (FastStart), a powerful new resource designed to help university and college students acquire entrepreneurial skills and convert innovative business ideas into successful companies.

FastStart is an entrepreneurial training partnership designed to increase the entrepreneurship skills and awareness of university and college students and help them develop solid business plans and take products to market. It is being funded through an $800,000 Government of Ontario grant being shared equally among all four post-secondary institutions under the province’s $5 million On-Campus Entrepreneurship Activities (OCEA) program, managed by Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE).

“Fostering the entrepreneurial spirit among students is a key component of Ontario’s Youth Jobs Strategy, through programs that help transfer their ideas and skills to the marketplace while creating rewarding careers,” said Reza Moridi, Ontario’s Minister of Research and Innovation, and Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities. “By partnering with colleges and universities to support entrepreneurship, we are ensuring our province’s business leaders of tomorrow are getting the support they need to succeed today.”

FastStart, designed to leverage existing synergies, educational approaches and the student needs of each university and college in their respective geographic market, reflects the commitment of the six partnering institutions to offer a program that enables students to apply what they learn to their future careers, whether they are in startups, established businesses, social innovation or public service.

FastStart features include:

  • Available to students at all four institutions, in all fields of study, including youth in the community with an entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Customized services to help participants refine their ideas, build teams and prepare solid business plans to deliver products to market.
  • Programs such as boot camps and student incubators.
  • Progressive, more focused programs to students with demonstrated interest and ability.
  • Opportunities for students to transition through FastStart to the Spark Centre, GPIC or local business access development centres where they can access additional services to help them quickly advance and launch their businesses.

The OCEA program is part of Ontario’s Youth Jobs Strategy, which is seeing the province invest $295 million over two years to help 30,000 more youth from across the province connect with the tools, experiences and entrepreneurial support they need to find employment or start their own businesses.

“Ontario Centres of Excellence is pleased to be able to deliver this project as a trusted partner of the Government of Ontario,” said Dr. Tom Corr, president and chief executive officer, OCE. “I look forward to putting our years of experience in connecting academia and industry, and our ongoing support of young entrepreneurs to good use in making this initiative a tremendous success.”

Funded by the Government of Ontario, the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE) is Ontario’s innovation system. The ONE is made up of regional and sector focused organizations designed to help Ontario-based entrepreneurs rapidly grow their companies, and create jobs. For more information visit http://www.onebubsiness.ca.

Please visit faststartfs.ca to find an online copy of this release. Further information will be posted as it becomes available.

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