Partners in Innovation and Entrepreneurship

If you think there is no support on campus for starting a business, then you’re thinking wrong
By Alyson MacKay, Entrepreneurship Coordinator

In March 2015, the Faculty of Business partnered with Confederation College and the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre to create Partners in Innovation and Entrepreneurship (PIE). Since its induction, PIE has supported numerous students at all stages of their business planning and has seen some great successes come from the creative minds on campus here at Lakehead.

The overall vision of PIE is to build a culture of entrepreneurship on campus and help students see starting their own business as a viable career choice. So far PIE has supported this vision by hosting events such as Startup Weekend and Pitch it, workshops that involve business plan creation, hosting local entrepreneurs to tell their story and one on one support students have receive from conversations with me, Alyson MacKay, Entrepreneurship Coordinator and The Captain of the PIE ship.

PC Lakehead University

PIE isn’t just for business students – anyone from any discipline can be an entrepreneur.  We have art students running successful businesses, engineers building prototypes working at high level incubators in the US, and computer science students building software. Entrepreneurs are everywhere and they can be anybody!

The partnerships that PIE has been able to create expands the reach far beyond campus for support. Think of PIE as a funnel of information for the resources available to you on campus, within the city, the province, the nation and even the globe. There is an abundance of support available, but you have to make the first move and talk about what you need. If you’re not sure what you need, don’t worry – we can get there. Like the age-old question of the chicken or the egg, except in entrepreneurship we ask: I it the idea or the opportunity that comes first? You decide and we’ll work on the next steps together.

The PIE office is tucked away in the main hallway of the Ryan Building. It’s a lonely office that needs more visitors, so come by for a chat and see what PIE has coming up on the events calendar. Here’s a hint: we have a Pitch Competition, a guest speaker from Shopify, and a weekend long event focused on sustainability. Have an idea for something you would like to see? Send me your feedback. If it can help you learn more about entrepreneurship or lower any barriers for you, then we’ll make it happen.  All events are free, and give you a chance to learn something new, meet some cool people and guarantee you will always be fed.

Do I have you hooked yet?  Maybe yes or maybe no, but thanks to the lovely folks at The Argus, this isn’t the last you’ll hear from me. I’m hoping by the year’s end I’ll have you thinking more about entrepreneurship. Since you can’t predict the future, why aren’t you creating it?

Entrepreneurship Coordinator, Alyson MacKay can be reached at amackay@lakeheadu.ca