OCE helps drive more STEM students to popular fellowship program

March 30, 2016

Venture for Canada (V4C) is seeing a notable increase in the number of applications from highly qualified science and technology graduates interested in starting their own company.

Nearly 40 per cent of this year’s applications came from students with STEM backgrounds. And, for the first time, a high number of them were graduate and PhD students.

“This very positive development helps to bring a greater diversity of academic backgrounds to the program, and opens the doors for students with advanced education, including PhDs, to pursue entrepreneurship as a career path,” says Dr. Tom Corr, President and CEO of Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE).

Venture for Canada, which places top recent grads in emerging start-ups and early stage companies to gain invaluable business experience, received more than 1,670 applications this year.

The final step in V4C’s extensive selection process, where Fellow applicants undergo a series of individual and group interviews by business leaders and experts, was held last month.  The event involved about 130 Fellow applicants and judges from universities, accelerators, start-ups, non-profits and government.

OCE teamed up with V4C two years ago to help attract more science, engineering, and math students or STEM students to the fellowship program.

“Given our extensive experience working with students, researchers and entrepreneurs in the STEM disciplines, we knew we could help get the word out about this fantastic experience,” says Dr. Corr.

This was done through the creation of an OCE – Venture for Canada fellowship stream, which is focused on providing opportunities for STEM students to work at top Ontario start-ups.

“We are extremely pleased with the increasingly strong calibre of applicants we are seeing,” says Scott Stirrett, Executive Director, Venture for Canada. “This is good news for the province’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, including the dynamic start-ups that are going to benefit from the exceptional talent of these Fellows.”