OCE delivering four new programs for young Ontarians

April 28, 2014

OCE President and CEO Dr. Tom Corr speaks during the launch of four new OCE programs for young Ontarians at Western University as local MPP Deb Matthews and audience members look on.

Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) will deliver four new programs on behalf of the Ontario government that mark a significant investment in young entrepreneurs and job creation.

“This is a significant step forward in the evolution of Ontario’s entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem,” said OCE president and CEO Dr. Tom Corr at the program launch in London on April 24. “Together, these programs represent an investment in Ontario’s students and young entrepreneurs that will equip them with the skills, experience and support they need to succeed.”

Part of Ontario's $295-million Youth Jobs Strategy, these programs will provide young entrepreneurs with business skills, capital to start and grow a small business and the opportunity to gain experience and expertise through R&D internships. Five programs in total were part of the announcement.

“Helping young entrepreneurs and those seeking rewarding careers in R&D is another example of Ontario’s Youth Jobs Strategy at work,” said Reza Moridi, Ontario’s Minister of Research and Innovation. “These programs will help harness their ideas, their vision and enthusiasm and turn them into jobs for today and for tomorrow. It is their ideas, courage and drive that will build Ontario’s future.”

The programs OCE will deliver are:

  • The $5-million On-Campus Entrepreneurship Activities (OCEA) program and $20-million Campus Linked Accelerators (CLA) program both of which help students develop entrepreneurial skills and transfer academic expertise and knowledge to the marketplace.
  • The $9-million SmartStart Seed Fund to help young entrepreneurs build technology companies. The fund is open to 18 to 29 year olds affiliated with a CLA or OCEA program, as well as start-ups linked either to an Ontario campus or Ontario's network of Regional Innovation Centres.
  • The $10-million TalentEdge program that bridges the gap between academia and the workforce. It provides opportunities for post-secondary students, PhD fellows and recent graduates to work on collaborative R&D projects between their academic institution and industry.

MaRS Discovery District is delivering the $7-million Youth Business Acceleration Program to equip young entrepreneurs with skills needed to start and grow successful technology businesses.

The Youth Jobs Strategy is part of the government's economic plan that is creating jobs for today and tomorrow. The comprehensive plan and its six priorities focus on Ontario's greatest strengths -- its people and strategic partnerships.

To date, more than 10,000 jobs have been created under the Youth Jobs Strategy.