The Spark Zone, a sandbox to foster social innovations and business ideas, has been recognized as the world’s best in enterprise and entrepreneurship skill-building.
The staff of the Spark Zone accepted the award in Houston, Texas from the International Education Business Partnership Network. The IPN Global Best Awards was held October 17 through 19 at the Houston Space Centre.
“This award recognizes Spark Zone’s success in supporting students to learn about entrepreneurship through not only academics but also by introducing them to our great mentors and networks,” noted Jason Turner, Spark Zone manager. “This global award is an endorsement of our ability to guide students in creating viable businesses. We are really proud of the programs and initiatives we’ve introduced in Nova Scotia’s post-secondary institutions.”
Spark Zone is a partnership between Saint Mary's University, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Nova Scotia Community College, Mount Saint Vincent University, the Atlantic School of Theology and University of King's College, with Saint Mary's serving as the host institution. The Spark Zone is funded by the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education.
“Nova Scotia’s unique mix of industry and academia, and the ease with which the two come together, is what makes our innovation story compelling,” said Hon. Labi Kousoulis, Minister, Labour and Advanced Education. “The Spark Zone is a great example of innovation in action, and I’m pleased to see it recognized internationally for its leadership.”
The Global Best Award submissions are evaluated on how well the programs deliver the following criteria:
• Enhanced employability
• Extent of experiential learning
• Knowledge transfer of employability skills
• Youth involvement in design and operation of the partnership
• Replicability of the partnership
• Recognition of excellence
The competition includes other entrepreneurship centres and service providers from across the world with winners from six regions attending the conference.
About the Spark Zone
Utilizing physical and virtual spaces, The Spark Zone brings together students and community members to create, develop and ultimately launch business ideas and social innovations. Partners at Saint Mary’s University, NSCAD University, Mount Saint Vincent University, Nova Scotia Community College, University of King’s College, and the Atlantic School of Theology provide opportunities for people to connect and then nurture those connections as ideas become reality.