Two teams of students from Ryerson University will spend most of their winter break in villages in India and Egypt teaching locals how to build and sell affordable water filters, reports the Canadian Press. The goal of the two small teams is to help improve access to clean water while providing local residents with an entrepreneurial education that can spur the creation of new businesses. The two student initiatives—Project Saaf and Project Myaah—are part of the Ryerson chapter of a non-profit organization known as Enactus, whose goal is to transform lives through socially conscious entrepreneurship. “What makes the holidays special for me is the act of giving…The most essential thing that I could give is something that I think should be a human right, the gift of water,” said Samarth Arabastani, a third-year electrical engineering student who is leading the project in India.
The Torontoist has released an article highlighting how three universities and three colleges based in Toronto are working to support student mental health issues. The piece focuses on what programs and events the schools offer on top of existing counselling programs that are available on most campuses; it examines the efforts of Ryerson University, the University of Toronto, York University, Humber College, Seneca College, and George Brown College, as well as collaborative efforts between the institutions. Among these collaborative efforts is Mindfest, an event organized collaboratively between OCAD University, Ryerson University, and the University of Toronto that includes information sessions and a club night to help raise students’ awareness of the mental wellness programs available to them on their home campuses.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and PEI Premier Wade MacLauchlan have returned from their 10-day trade mission to India and have negotiated new agreements for postsecondary institutions. According to a press release by the Ontario Government, the ON delegation participated in a signing ceremony announcing agreements involving Ryerson University, McMaster University [CIEC Academic Member], Sheridan College, Algonquin College, and Seneca College. According to Canadian Broadcasting Company, the University of Prince Edward Island signed MOUs with two Indian universities.
Canada’s future success will depend heavily on how well we encourage students to develop innovation skills, say members of a Globe and Mail panel. One of the best ways to do this, they add, is to provide students with the ability to try new things and to risk failure through experiential learning. Ryerson University President Sheldon Levy highlights the University of Waterloo as a strong example of a school with an effective co-op education program. “Our strategies, policies and resources have got to put young people more in the centre of the innovation agenda rather than being peripheral to it,” Levy adds. “Therefore our education systems have got to start looking at innovation as a core competency.”
A piece published by the Conference Board of Canada examines the changing relationship between Canada and India, with a focus on PSE partnerships. The article notes that in November, Prime Minister Stephen Harper spent his longest official foreign visit to date in India, while in April, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi became the first Indian prime minister since Indira Gandhi to visit Canada. PSE is a key piece in this growing relationship. India hopes to increase the number of skilled youth in the country, and Canada’s reputation as a leader in PSE makes it a natural partner. The Conference Board cites a partnership between Ryerson University and the Bombay Stock Exchange as representative of the closer ties between the countries.
The Canada Foundation for Innovation on Friday announced that 87 projects will benefit from a total of $333 M in funding for research infrastructure. These projects include a collaborative effort by scholars at Carleton University [CIEC Academic Member], McGill University, Simon Fraser University [CIEC Academic Member], and the University of Victoria to develop new components for the ATLAS detector at the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN) in Switzerland, which enabled the discovery of the Higgs boson; studies at Toronto General Hospital into healing human organs outside of the body for transplants; and research at Ryerson University into the social and cultural impact of the “Internet of Things.”
Canada has announced that Ryerson University, [CIEC Academic Member] Simon Fraser University, and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) will receive up to $10.7 M over the next 5 years in support of the Zones of Incubation and Innovation initiative. The funding will be distributed through the Canada Accelerator and Incubator Program (CAIP). The joint initiative between the 3 institutions is intended to provide universities and community-based entrepreneurs involved with digital technology start-ups access to facilities, business development resources, and mentoring. “The Zones of Incubation and Innovation Network will play an important role in SFU’s growing innovation agenda. We are pleased to be partnering with Ryerson University and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology on this initiative and grateful for the financial support provided by the Government of Canada through the CAIP program,” said SFU VP Research Joy Johnson. Canada also announced $2.7 M in funding for The Next 36, a national accelerator and incubator program that includes 9 Canadian universities as academic partners.
Ryerson University’s G Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education yesterday launched the new Internationally Trained Medical Doctors Bridging Program. The program will help integrate qualified, internationally trained doctors into non-licensed health-care employment. It will address a number of barriers faced by internationally trained doctors through an 11-week curriculum that will include sector-specific in-class training and 4-week practicum placements. The program is responding to an identified need for health professionals qualified to participate in and support non-clinical initiatives. Students will also develop their skills in areas such as health research, health informatics, data analysis, and health management. The first cohort of students will begin their studies in mid-January.
Simon Fraser University [CIEC Academic Member] and Ryerson University last week signed an agreement with the Bombay Stock Exchange Institute (BSEI), formalizing a letter of intent signed in January. The signing officially creates the BSEI-Ryerson-SFU Accelerator Program India, a Mumbai-based incubator/accelerator that will help entrepreneurs in both countries launch start-ups and connect with mentors, investors, and customers. SFU also signed an agreement with Indian Oil Corp Ltd (IOCL) to further their collaborative research into hydrogen and fuel cell technology. SFU previously announced plans to work with IOCL on an initiative to bring Indian PhD students to SFU to train in the fuel cell technologies, hydrogen, and clean energy, a program which will commence in January. SFU also recently announced an agreement with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations to create a new visiting scholars program.
The Ontario government has committed $1.5 million towards partnerships with George Brown College and Ryerson University that are aimed towards training graduates for jobs that lack skilled employees. George Brown will receive $750,000 to train 92 unemployed and under-employed youth for commercial baking and metalwork jobs. Ryerson will get $800,000 to create 120 jobs in the high-tech sector for graduates in the social sciences and humanities; examples of possible initiatives include offering liberal arts graduates short-term training and job placements that would provide them with the types of skills already acquired by science students. Both projects are part of the government’s $25-million Youth Skills Connections program, which aims to bring employers, PSE institutions, government and young people together to tackle the so-called skills-gap issue.
TCS Insights: The Ontario government hopes to fill the void created by low numbers of skilled employees in certain industries by training unemployed and underemployed individuals for available positions. The province is displaying a commitment to providing job opportunities for all students attending post-secondary institutions.
By Sparsh Sharma
Ryerson University’s innovative Digital Media Zone is going to help them transform their business concepts
Sheldon Levy, president of Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada, recently introduced four vibrant Indian students selected for fellowships at the university’s dynamic Digital Media Zone (DMZ) – a hub for collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurship. The fellows will have a four-month term to transform their digital ideas into innovative businesses and business solutions.
“I have always believed that great things come from innovation and the sharing of ideas. These fellowships are a wonderful opportunity to bring some of the best, brightest and most entrepreneurial students from India together with Canadian entrepreneurs and innovators to learn, innovate and explore new digital business opportunities together,” said Levy.
Three of the fellows – Sharanya Aiyahna Haridas, Siddharth Kumar Thakur and Celestine Preetham – are from IIT-Madras and G Visweswaran is from the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad. Three more fellows have been shortlisted from IIT-Delhi and their names would be announced formally soon (see box 3). The university worked with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) to reach out to students at these three top institutes.
Haridas is founder-CEO of Young Folks Media and That’s So Gloss; Thakur is founder of ScanBox, Preetham is founder of TravelNet App and Visweswaran is co-founder and vice president of My IndiEye (see box 2). The fellowships are valued at approximately Rs5,95,000 each (CAD12,500).
“This international fellowship programme is about bringing together global talent to create the innovations of the future, to share and grow the success of the DMZ working model. At Ryerson, we are very excited to offer these opportunities and we cannot wait to see the results,” added Levy.
How were these students selected?
SL: We were looking for students who had a unique, innovative business idea, enabled by digital media that brings commercial or social value. The candidates who met these criteria were then assessed on how unique or innovative their idea was; how feasible it is to develop; is it marketable; and if it will fit in with the collaborative nature of the DMZ.
How are the fellows going to be mentored?
SL: The DMZ will set up space for them; connect them to our internal networks and systems and support them by giving them access to a range of industry experts, who will provide information and advice on business planning, presentations, funding, accounting, patents, intellectual property rights, marketing and more.
Tell us about the DMZ.
SL: Opened in April 2010, Ryerson University’s DMZ is a multi-disciplinary workspace for young start-up companies infused with the energy and resources of downtown Toronto. It’s a place for innovating, collaborating and marketing new products and services, and it’s where commercial enterprises can turn to, for progressive and creative digital solutions. Till date, the DMZ has helped more than 166 innovators to incubate and accelerate 36 start-ups and to launch 61 projects. Fellowships with students from China are going to be announced shortly.
Where did this unique idea of having a DMZ come from?
SL: We know that students and young people are major contributors to the innovation agenda, and their ideas and energy are incredible. At Ryerson, our goal is to keep that talent and energy in Canada, rather than training our young people to work in USA’s Silicon Valley. We created the zone with this idea in mind, to encourage and showcase our emerging talent and to connect students and young alumni with the private and public sector.
About the start-ups:
That’s So Gloss: India’s first web-zine and online community for teen girls and young women
TravelNet: Mobile app and internet-based service that uses GPS and telecom technology to connect ride-seekers, vehicles and traffic control
ScanBox: Web-based service company with a clear focus on simplicity, value creation and great user experience
My IndiEye: Mobile sightseeing platform for travelers
Alok Nikhil Jha – MyMovie: Online movie selection, ticketing, and more
Avnish Gaur – AskMePrice: Product search website based on price, location and other variables
Abhishek Gupta and Saurabh Kumar – Zumbl: Avatar-based, anonymous chat website.
Source: Connect – Canada in India
Ryerson University has signed an agreement with Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, laying the groundwork for students and faculty from both institutions to collaborate on research and industry-based projects to foster innovation and entrepreneurship. This association will offer students and faculty from both institutions opportunities to collaborate on research projects in emerging fields of nanotechnology, biomedical engineering and renewable energy. In addition, IIT Bombay also signed agreements with University of Waterloo and University of Toronto during their two-day delegation visit to Toronto in October.