A donation from the Fondation Chopin-Péladeau and Quebecor helps UdeM launch an entrepreneurship awareness, training and support program for the entire university community.
Entrepreneurship is often associated with hi-tech innovations that have strong commercial potential, but there are many areas – some not so obvious – where entrepreneurship exists and could be expanded, including through the work of a university.
To that end, and to help foster entrepreneurship in all its forms, Université de Montréal is establishing the Millénium Québecor program with a donation from the Fondation Chopin-Péladeau and Quebecor. It will be offered to students in all faculties.
By supporting the emergence of a new generation of entrepreneurs, Millénium Québecor will meet a need in UdeM’s student community. In a 2019 survey by the university, 30 per cent of respondents said they would like to start their own business related to their field of study.
Upgraded courses and better programs
“The Millénium Québecor program, which will be rolled out over the next few months and the coming years, has three distinct but interlocking components: entrepreneurship awareness, training, and coaching for start-ups,” explained Chantal Pharand, UdeM's assistant vice-rector of student and academic affairs.
The first step will be outreach to make students and research teams aware that their academic skills could be useful in business or in the community. These efforts will also target cégeps and high schools.
On the training front, UdeM's current courses on entrepreneurship will be upgraded and offered across the university's 13 faculties and schools. The university will also develop more comprehensive programs, such as a minor in entrepreneurship that could be combined with a major or any other undergraduate or graduate program.
“For example, music students looking towards a career might want to supplement a major in music with a minor in entrepreneurship, or pharmacy graduates might want to acquire the knowledge required to operate their own pharmacy,” said Yves Joanette, UdeM's assistant vice-rector of research.
Lastly, the Millénium Québecor program will help businesses start up and scale up through financial assistance “and most importantly through mentoring by our graduates, who together possess a wealth of experience and knowledge they can share via entrepreneurship clubs or networking with other established companies across Quebec,” said Pharand.
From a new heart pump to an AI app
The initiatives emanating from Millénium Québecor will complement the activities of UdeM's Centre d’entrepreneuriat, which is already active in the community and has helped dozens of start-ups stand on their own two feet.
For example, Puzzle Medical Devices has introduced a minimally invasive, biocompatible heart pump; the non-profit VocaVie provides voice-stimulation activities for people with voice and communication needs; and Myelin is an app that uses artificial intelligence to make scientific information about mental health readily accessible.
Millénium Québecor will be available to all students who want to start their own business, as well as employees, researchers and alumni who wish to contribute to the economic and social development of today’s Quebec and help build the Quebec of the future.
When entrepreneurship comes naturally
In some fields of study, entrepreneurship is a natural path to take. For example, law graduates will frequently open a law office or notary’s office, and optometry and dentistry graduates are likely to start their own practice. But other, less obvious fields can also lead to entrepreneurial careers.
Through Millénium Québecor, students in all fields who possess or discover an entrepreneurial streak will have access to a variety of training programs tailored to their particular field of study, whether they plan to start a business or are just thinking about it.
Pharand and Joanette are confident that the new initiative will prove popular: “It will let students put their knowledge to good use, to responsible use. They will have all the tools they need to leave their mark in the job market and on society as a whole.”