On Friday, February 21st,I had the chance to sit down with avery select group of people to discuss education, entrepreneurship and job creation in Ottawa. Ontario’s newly elected premier, Kathleen Wynne, had a similar discussion in Toronto and it seems that she is planning to make this a priority for the government.
The discussion included the STEM program, with a particular focus on exposing youth to the business world at a very early age. I was delighted to hear that most of the attendees agreed that higher education is not the only path to business success. In reality, a lot of times entrepreneurs like myself had to unlearn a lot of things we picked up from university. And businesses see that –– that’s why some of the business leaders in the room told me that they start looking for talent at a very early stage, even before high school. I would have loved to have had that opportunity when I was in 6th grade.
The conclusion was that more ‘real-life’ enriching experiences were necessary to promote business talent and stimulate entrepreneurial ambition. As a practical step, businesses and entrepreneurs need to work with schools and students to create more. Bruce Lazenby and Invest Ottawa are working on a plan to make that happen. So if you want to help, their doors are wide open and there are plenty of volunteer and mentorship opportunities.