Virtual TD Entrepreneurial Thinking Incubator (TD ETI) established on campus
SACKVILLE, NB — Students at Mount Allison University will be able to more easily pursue their innovative and entrepreneurial ideas during their undergraduate studies, and with a lot more support. The Sackville university received a $500,000 donation from TD Bank Group in support of programming and resources to encourage and foster entrepreneurial thinking.
The announcement was made virtually by the Honourable Frank McKenna (LLD ’91), Deputy Chair, Wholesale, TD Bank Group; Jennifer Auld, Vice-President, Atlantic Region with TD Bank Group; and Mount Allison University President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Jean-Paul Boudreau on April 9. Several Mount Allison student entrepreneurs also participated.
“TD has been a proud supporter of Mount Allison University since 1999, and our roots in Atlantic Canada run deep, with nearly 3,000 colleagues across the region,” said Frank McKenna, Deputy Chair, Wholesale, TD Bank Group. “That's why I'm proud to announce our support of the TD Entrepreneurial Thinking Incubator Program that will help support innovation and open new doors right in our own backyard, so that our communities cannot just survive, but thrive.”
“As a part of The TD Ready Commitment, our corporate citizenship strategy at TD, this funding aims to help students foster innovation and accelerate entrepreneurial thinking that will contribute to positive growth across Atlantic Canada, strengthening the communities where we live and work,” said Jenn Auld, Vice President, Atlantic Region, TD. “At TD, we believe that creative ideas can build a better world and we are thrilled to be working together with the faculty and students of the Mount Allison University to make this program a reality.”
The Venture Space MtA Entrepreneurial Thinking Incubator powered by TD Ready Commitment provides reference materials, personalized access to mentors and experts, and coaching support for students to develop, catalyze, and test social and commercial entrepreneurial ideas, potentially bringing those ideas to market or the community.
“At Mount Allison we want to prepare our students, and future innovators and community leaders, for whatever possibilities and opportunities the future presents, and to support them in their pursuits,” says Jean-Paul Boudreau, Mount Allison’s President and Vice-Chancellor. “And that is exactly what this gift from TD will do by providing important networking opportunities, mentorship and coaching sessions, and funding to help our students’ entrepreneurial endeavours, be it commercial or community-based. Thank you to the TD Bank Group and the TD Ready Commitment for this forward-thinking gift that nurtures resiliency and career readiness.”
The program is overseen by the University’s Office of Experiential Learning and Career Development in collaboration with other initiatives and programs designed to enrich and support student entrepreneurial endeavours and career preparation. Along with a new mentorship network and coaching programs, the new funding includes TD Ignite Grants, providing for students’ additional opportunities and supports for budding entrepreneurial projects.
Several Mount Allison students have already benefited from the program, participating in The Pitch, a Dragon’s Den-styled event where students have the opportunity to pitch their business idea to a panel of judges. Third-year Commerce student Nathan Robichaud was named the winner for the 2021 competition on April 3 for his business plan, Borealis Seafood, which proposes methods to consolidate the Jonah crab market in the Atlantic provinces and work to divert Jonah crab from its primary use in bait shops into shellfish processing plants. Robichaud is also a 2021 recipient of the Frank H. Sobey Award for Excellence in Business Studies.
Computer Science, Mathematics, and Physics student Lopsii Olagoke is the Co-President of the student group Enactus who received a TD Ignite Grant this spring. With the funding, Olagoke and his team have continued to develop Textbook Osmosis, collecting old textbooks to offer at greatly discounted prices to students and donate to a variety of groups and non-profits that lead to a communal benefit for their use. Olagoke was also 1 of 25 recipients in Canada to receive the Enactus John Dobson Founders Bursary for outstanding leadership.
Third-year Commerce student Hunter Gibbons is the Virtual Incubator Intern with the office of Experiential Learning & Career Development. Gibbons has helped to launch and grow several entrepreneurship programs this year, including the design and implementation of Venture Space, a virtual entrepreneurship incubator, powered by TD. An entrepreneur herself, Gibbons is a past Reisman Intern at Mount Allison, establishing SoSmart Dog Accessories in 2020.
The entrepreneurial program is open to students in all areas of study, including those within the University’s Ron Joyce Centre for Business Studies Commerce program and the emerging Frank McKenna School of Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, announced in September 2020.
About the TD Ready Commitment
TD has a long-standing commitment to enriching the lives of its customers, colleagues and communities. As part of its corporate citizenship platform, the TD Ready Commitment, TD is targeting CDN $1 billion (U.S. $775 million) in total by 2030 towards community giving in four areas critical to opening doors for a more inclusive and sustainable tomorrow – Financial Security, Vibrant Planet, Connected Communities and Better Health. Through the TD Ready Commitment, TD aspires to link its business, philanthropy and human capital to help people feel more confident - not just about their finances, but also in their ability to achieve their personal goals in a changing world. For further information, visit td.com/tdreadycommitment.