Fostering entrepreneurial ecosystem in Atlantic Canada needs mentoring, new ideas

Published on April 20, 2017

Ken Carter, of Memorial University’s Grenfell Campus, and Ellen Farrell, a professor at St. Mary’s University, discuss the mapping out of the Atlantic Canada entrepreneurial ecosystem in Corner Brook Thursday.

©Gary Kean/The Western Star

Like organisms in a biological ecosystem, businesses need the right climate to grow and thrive and not just merely survive.

Sometimes, it’s a matter of being in the right place at the right time and taking advantage of the conditions.
Sometimes, it’s the symbiosis of being able to forge a partnership that can be beneficial to each party.
Around 40 people gathered at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University, in Corner Brook to hear researchers from six universities discuss the environment for entrepreneurship in Atlantic Canada Thursday.
The focus of the group is to map out and compare sub-regions of Atlantic Canada with an eye to identifying strengths and making recommendations on how to foster more and better entrepreneurship.
The data pertaining to Newfoundland and Labrador has yet to be analyzed, but the findings from the other three provinces will likely permeate the region.
Ellen Farrell, entrepreneurship and venture capital professor at St. Mary’s University, said those findings include a need for entrepreneurs within the region to reach out beyond Atlantic Canada for new innovations and entrepreneurship ideas in order to keep forging ahead.
A second major finding is the need for better interaction between up and coming companies and the larger, well-established firms within the region.
“The great ecosystems of the world have had a lot of contribution from mature companies,” said Farrell, noting experienced companies can help offer advice and other services.
Ken Carter, director of the Office of Engagement at Grenfell Campus, was happy with the turnout for the session and the insight provided by the group who attended. He hopes it’s another step forward in fostering the entrepreneurial spirit in Newfoundland and Labrador.
“Our longer-term goal is to help shift the ecosystem so those mature firms in our region are more engaged so more people are reaching out beyond our region and more people are sharing those connections,” he said.

The Atlantic Canadian Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Research Network is a partnership of researchers from:
- Memorial University
- St. Mary’s University
- University of Prince Edward Island
- Universite de Moncton
- Cape Breton University
- University of New Brunswick.
Source: Grenfell Campus, Memorial University