Photo credit: Cameron Fitch / UNB Photo

Ten aspiring entrepreneurs from across Canada have gathered at the University of New Brunswick’s Fredericton campus to launch various startups through the Summer Institute program.

Hosted at the J. Herbert Centre for Technology Management and Entrepreneurship at UNB, the Summer Institute is a three-month long accelerator. The program helps bring business ideas to life through education, resources, and mentorship.

“The program guides entrepreneurs to success by harnessing their existing skills and empowering them with the knowledge and resources they need to launch a startup,” says Dr. Dhirendra Shukla, director of J. Herbert Centre for Technology Management and Entrepreneurship.

“The support offered to participants leads, we hope, to personal growth and individual success,” Dr. Shukla says. “But, most of all, we hope that it teaches them how entrepreneurship creates opportunity for not just themselves but others.”

The University of New Brunswick – named the most entrepreneurial university in the nation by Startup Canada – offers various programs that give students the chance to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.

The Summer Institute is unique in that it is open to those who aren’t enrolled at UNB, says Melissa O’Rourke, program manager for the institute.

“Participants don’t have to be students or have a degree and we provide a stipend to cover living costs, making the program more accessible,” Ms. O’Rourke says. “The Summer Institute houses a diverse group of participants and startups.”

This year’s cohort includes a middle school teacher, UNB students, a chemist and a chef.

This group has brought forward a number of ideas to try to commercialize, including a cold climate essential oil, an after-school program focusing on mental wellness, an organic coffee scrub, crocheted apparel for children, a muscle relief product for back pain, a line of cold brew teas and coffees, and a collaborative play robot.

Over the three-month long program, various mentors including business mentors, design mentors, manufacturing mentors and financial mentors offer their expertise in order to guide participants to success and help build skills which will live on past the program.

Designer in residence John Leroux, a well-known and highly regarded New Brunswick architect, has been involved with the Summer Institute since 2014.

“As mentors, we want people to succeed,” says Mr. Leroux. “Whatever they need, we can help them – or connect them with someone who can.”

“So, after three months, participants leave the Summer Institute with a powerful toolkit and network of connections.”

The Summer Institute has helped established multiple startups including conscious clothing company Wear Your Label and energy storage company Stash. Every year the list of successful startups from the program continues to grow.

On Friday, July 21, the Summer Institute will conclude as participants share their stories of learning and achievement at the Picaroons Roundhouse. Doors will open to the public and media at 7 p.m. with presentations beginning at 7:15 p.m. Register now.

Media contact: Kelly Stewart

Photo credit: Cameron Fitch / UNB Photo

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