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UNB Summer Institute seeks artistic entrepreneurs

Author: Communications

Posted on Apr 10, 2014

Category: UNB Fredericton

Entrepreneurship is thriving at the University of New Brunswick (UNB)—and not just in its faculties of business.

The Dr. J. Herbert Smith Centre for Technology Management and Entrepreneurship on the Fredericton campus has launched an innovative and intensive summer program for entrepreneurs with background ranging from arts to engineering.

Dhirendra Shukla, chairman of UNB’s Dr. J. Herbert Smith Centre for Technology Management and Entrepreneurship talked to the Telegraph Journal’s Chris Morris this week.

Read the full story below and find out more about the Summer Institute at UNB.


'Artistic entrepreneurs' sought for institute

The Daily Gleaner (Fredericton) 
Tue Apr 8 2014 
Page: C1 
Section: Business 
Byline: Chris Morris Legislature Bureau 


A professor at the University of New Brunswick is doing what he can to nurture more entrepreneurial spirit among the province's young people.

Dhirendra Shukla, chairman of the Dr. J. Herbert Smith Centre for Technology Management and Entrepreneurship, said Monday he is delighted by the enthusiastic response to a new summer program at UNB that will bring together arts, business and engineering students in a creative mix.

The summer institute for arts, technology and business students will begin in May and run for three months. Shukla said that already 40 people have signed up for the program, including students from the province's College of Craft and Design, St. Thomas University as well as business and engineering students.

"We're going deeper into the pool and bringing artistically creative people into the entrepreneurial ecosystem," said, who is also a professor and teaches at the university centre.

"The students may be developers of wood or clay products, 3D producers or game makers. We want people who haven't been traditionally involved to create a richer community."

Shukla said too often arts students are dismissed as being of little consequence in a business-driven world of high-tech startups.

But Shukla believes creative people have an important part to play in entrepreneurship, especially in New Brunswick.

"We want to take a different twist and create an environment where the arts meet business and engineers," he said of the summer program.

"We have the ability to do something phenomenal here that no one else is doing. Everyone is trying to be the Silicon Valley. ... Everyone is trying to be the next Google and Facebook. That is great, but I think what we have as New Brunswickers is we have a rich history, access to creative, capable people and access to wonderful resources that can act as the base for on which to build a creative industry."

Shukla said he believes creative, artistic people can lead the way to developing more value-added products for New Brunswick to market, especially in areas such as the production of wood items and textiles.

"It is my thinking that after the industrial revolution we are going to have the creative economy," he said in an interview. "I want to be a leader in that space."

Shukla himself straddles the two worlds of business and science. With an MBA and a PhD in entrepreneurial finance, as well as qualifications in both chemical engineering and computing and performance engineering, he brings practical business ideas to marketing engineering advances.

Born in Rajasthan, India, raised in Zambia and educated in the United Kingdom, Shukla has worked with telecom company Nortel Networks (Canada), and chemical company Croda International (U.K.).

Shukla said that at the Centre for Technology, Management and Entrepreneurship, business faculty professors identify key entrepreneurial students, who are then paired with engineering students. Together, they work on novel ideas or with startups or struggling companies.

Alternatively, they may work with professors to commercialize an idea.

He said the blending has proven very successful, with around 10 start-ups formed last year.

The Dr. J. Herbert Smith Centre for Technology Management and Entrepreneurship program began at UNB 25 years ago.

Last year, there were more than 300 students enrolled and more than 420 this year. The school has just appointed a second entrepreneur-in-residence, Jordan Smith, the founder of OneLobby, to work alongside Rivers Corbett, co-founder of Relish Gourmet Burgers.

"We are adding more skill sets and points of view to the mix," said Shukla.

"We consider ourselves to be management educators, but we also teach more hands-on skills, such as performance excellence and project management. We integrate design, strategy, marketing and finance courses to make entrepreneurship part and parcel of our DNA."

Shukla said that boosting entrepreneurship among the youth is part of the answer to kick starting the Maritimes' stalled economy.


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