• News
  • February 23, 2015


Ontario Partnering with Local Postsecondary Institutions to Create Innovative Programs

February 19, 2015 - Ontario is helping student entrepreneurs in Thunder Bay learn business skills, access mentorship opportunities and gain hands-on experience to start and grow a business.

The province is investing $200,000 to support a partnership between Lakehead University, Confederation College and the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre to support its commitment to entrepreneurship through the $5 million On-Campus Entrepreneurship Activities Program (OCEA).

This Centre will be the focal point for on-campus entrepreneurship activities as well as a regional connector for local start-up companies looking for assistance with applied research and development projects. It will support job creation and economic development opportunities by encouraging on-campus entrepreneurship and innovation, with strong ties to entrepreneurial mentors.

The OCEA program is part of Ontario’s Youth Jobs Strategy and is being launched at universities and colleges across the province.

Supporting entrepreneurship — at any age — is part of the government's economic plan for Ontario. The four-part plan is building Ontario up by investing in people's talents and skills, building new public infrastructure like roads and transit, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives and building a secure savings plan so everyone can afford to retire.



“Our government is committed to ensuring that young people in the Thunder Bay region have access to world-class education and skills training. Connecting students with local businesses provides the support they need to become successful entrepreneurs and job creators themselves. I know Thunder Bay is brimming with untapped potential and this partnership will enable the city’s hugely talented youth to get the opportunities they need to succeed.”

— Michael Gravelle, MPP Thunder Bay-Superior North, Minister of Northern Development and Mines


“I am pleased that these educational institutions have agreed to partner together and help fund On Campus Entrepreneurship Activities (OCEA). It will give students the tools they need to fulfill their entrepreneurial interests.”

Bill Mauro, MPP Thunder Bay-Atikokan, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry  


“Helping young entrepreneurs is another example of Ontario’s Youth Jobs Strategy at work in Thunder Bay and across the province. These programs will help harness their ideas, their vision and their enthusiasm and turn them into jobs for today and for tomorrow. Their innovative spirit will build Ontario’s future.”

— Reza Moridi, Minister of Research and Innovation


“Ontario Centres of Excellence is pleased to be able to deliver these projects as a trusted partner of the Government of Ontario. I look forward to putting our years of experience in connecting academia and industry, and our on-going support of young entrepreneurs in Ontario to good use in making these initiatives a tremendous success.”

— Dr. Tom Corr, President and CEO of Ontario Centres of Excellence


“Lakehead University is pleased to be partnering with Confederation College and the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre to deliver the On-Campus Entrepreneurship Program. The program is consistent with Lakehead’s strategic priorities of community engagement and economic development as it facilitates meaningful opportunities for our students, youth, and others in the region. It also promotes innovation and fosters entrepreneurship among our students that will directly benefit our communities.”

Dr. Brian Stevenson, President & Vice-Chancellor of Lakehead University


  • Almost all postsecondary institutions across Ontario have on-campus entrepreneurship programs (42 out of 44 institutions).
  • Ontario is also investing $20 million over two years in the Campus-Linked Accelerators program to build on world-class innovation and entrepreneurial programs at campuses across the province.
  • OCEA and CLA programs are managed by Ontario Centres of Excellence.
  • The Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre is the partnering Regional Innovation Centres (RIC). As a member of the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE), it will act as the conduit between the university and the region’s business community.
  • Ontario is investing $295 million over two years in the Youth Jobs Strategy to help 30,000 more young people from across the province connect with the tools, experiences and entrepreneurial support they need to find employment or start their own businesses.
  • More than 26,000 job opportunities have already been created under the Youth Jobs Strategy.


Keep in Mind...

This website is provided for your convenience. If you'd prefer to call or email, my staff and I would be happy to hear from you.

Top Stories