Sobey School of Business

Another successful South Shore Tour for the Sobey School of Business 

Top business students from Saint Mary’s University recently met with business leaders from Nova Scotia’s South Shore to discuss opportunities for collaboration and employment.

Thirty-nine students from Sobey School’s graduate business programs toured Lunenburg and Bridgewater on Friday, Sept. 28, visiting 22 companies and attending information sessions. The businesses met with students and had the opportunity to see how an innovative intern or new graduate could help their bottom line or grow their business. 

“This tour is a direct expression of our commitment to making an impact on the prosperity of this province,” said Dr. Harjeet Bhabra, dean of the Sobey School of Business. “At the same time, it helps our students build the ability to recognize opportunities that they otherwise might miss. And it helps connect the work of the university with more of the province.”

The businesses taking part in the tour include:

  • Aqualitas

  • ABCO

  • CO3 & Mashup Labs

  • Freemans Lumber

  • Hawboldt Industries

  • Heart to Hand

  • Lunenburg Industrial Foundry and Engineering (LIFE)

  • Michelin

  • Ocean Gear

  • Old Town Boat Works

  • Petite Riviere Winery

  • Port Mersey Commercial Park

  • Pro-Oceanus

  • RPS Composites

  • Sattlers Stained Glass

  • South Shore Tourism Co-op

  • Stelia

  • Terra Beata

  • Van Dyk’s Health Juice Products Ltd.

  • Westcote Pottery

“The South Shore Corporate Tour reveals the opportunities available in Queens County and along the South Shore through our innovative businesses and the superb lifestyle we enjoy,” said David Dagley, Mayor of Region of Queens Municipality. “We are pleased to welcome them to the South Shore, and proud to showcase our community.”

The Saint Mary’s students involved come from Sobey School graduate programs including the Master of Business Administration (MBA); the Master of Technology Entrepreneurship and Innovation; and the Master of Finance.

The South Shore Tour is an initiative between South Shore businesses and Saint Mary’s University. The tour is coordinated by the Graduate Career Services office of the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary’s, and is in its second year.

Saint Mary’s students make their first venture capital investment in international travel start-up

Saint Mary’s University’s Venture Grade Fund, a student-raised and led venture capital fund, is making its first investment, $15,000 to travel start-up Trip Ninja.

Trip Ninja is a travel-planning software for use by online travel retailers such as Expedia or Priceline. When retail customers are booking plane trips to several different places, Trip Ninja helps online travel retailers find the best price. This multi-destination platform finds the best way to book the trip, whether travellers are flexible in their route or if they need to visit destinations in a particular order.

“It has been great working with Saint Mary’s University’s Venture Grade Fund, and seeing the confidence they have in our product,” said Trip Ninja Co-Founder, Andres Collart. “Saint Mary’s has helped us through reviewing aspects of our business with their MBA students who have a firm grasp on entrepreneurship and innovation. It’s been great working with an organization who is committed to helping start-ups and entrepreneurs have success.” 

The Saint Mary’s University Venture Grade Fund is a student-raised and run venture capital fund and the first student-raised venture capital investment fund in Canada in which the students raise the capital. Their fund is operating at about $200,000 currently.

The team seems to have chosen well as the fledgling travel tech company has attracted notable local, national and international investors, including East Valley Ventures, Innovacorp and other investors experienced in the travel industry. Innovacorp is also a supporter of Saint Mary’s University’s Venture Grade Fund’s assessment of Trip Ninja, and provided Venture Grade with half the capital required for their investment.

The team’s faculty advisor and mentor is venture capital expert and SMU professor, Dr. Ellen Farrell.

“This is a win-win-win situation,” said Farrell. “Venture Grade’s donors and partners like Innovacorp get to offer students an unparalleled experiential education experience, the students get the benefit of raising the capital and conducting due diligence, and the start-up spends the investment thus supporting their business.”

Should the company experience a successful exit, meaning if they are purchased for a large sum, the investors, including Venture Grade, will receive a payout scaled to the purchase. Any returns made on Venture Grade’s investments are returned to Venture Grade, the student fund.

The fund was started by students of Dr. Ellen Farrell at the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary’s University in fall 2016, with a connection to Silicon Valley’s C100 group, Boston’s Canadian Entrepreneurs in New England, and initial support from Innovacorp. It has expanded to include members at other Atlantic universities including Acadia University, Dalhousie University, and Memorial University.

“Sobey School of Business and Saint Mary’s University are proud to offer students the opportunity to experience the risks and rewards of investing,” said Dr. Harjeet Bhabra, dean of the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary’s University.

“With the School’s strengths in finance and entrepreneurship, the Venture Grade Fund could only have been created here. We’re proud to continue making an impact on our region and on the entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

Dr. Wendy Carroll receives the Dr. Geraldine Thomas Educational Leadership Award

 Dr. Wendy Carroll (right) receives the Dr. Geraldine Thomas Educational Leadership Award from Dr. Madine VanderPlaat, Associate Dean of Arts

Dr. Wendy Carroll (right) receives the Dr. Geraldine Thomas Educational Leadership Award from Dr. Madine VanderPlaat, Associate Dean of Arts

In 2007, the Quality of Teaching Committee (now the Senate Committee on Learning and Teaching) established an Educational Leadership Award to recognize the faculty who develop, enhance, and promote the quality of teaching at Saint Mary’s and beyond. The Committee gratefully acknowledges the support of the Saint Mary’s University Faculty Union for this award. The award is named for Dr. Geraldine Thomas, national teaching award winner and founding member of the Quality of Teaching Committee. Throughout her academic career, Dr. Thomas supported efforts to improve teaching and learning within the University, the Atlantic region, and nationally.

Dr. Carroll is an award-winning teacher and researcher who is an Associate Professor and the Director of the EMBA program. As an educator, Dr. Carroll has worked boldly to advance the quality of education in business programs in the Sobey School and to raise the profile of Saint Mary’s as a centre of excellence in evidence-based management. In all that she does, Dr. Carroll is an advocate for using evidence-based approaches. Her teaching has motivated students to answer challenging questions about human resource management and to transfer this knowledge to practice. Her excellence as an educator is evidenced by the seven teaching awards she has received in the past eight years.

Dr. Carroll’s research focuses on current issues and challenges in human resource management and leadership. In July 2016, she was awarded a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grant for work on exploring employee silence in organizations after unjust events, such as harassment or bullying. She has advised and mentored students to examine the evidence about a variety of human resource practices and worked with them to share the findings through conference presentations and other publications. Through scholarship and workshops, Dr. Carroll is committed to sharing her pedagogical approach and methods with colleagues within and outside of the University.

Dr. Carroll’s commitment to enhancing decision making goes beyond the classroom and takes her into a number of practitioner forums to share knowledge about evidence-based HR. As an early associate of Center for Evidence-based Management, Dr. Carroll subscribes to the principles of knowledge mobilization and sharing by presenting at HR conferences, and at other practitioner associations. For her role as an educator and researcher impacting practice, Dr. Carroll was named one of the top HR professionals of 2016 in Canada by Canadian HR Reporter Magazine

Premier Stephen McNeil on campus to congratulate Enactus team on the success of the Square Roots food token program3

Premier Stephen McNeil came to Saint Mary’s recently to congratulate Enactus team members on the success of the Square Roots food token program, as they prepare for a national competition. Enactus is a global student organization focused on addressing social issues through entrepreneurship. A total of 38 students are heading to Toronto next week to compete in the Enactus Canada National Exposition.

The Province of Nova Scotia recently supported Saint Mary’s work in entrepreneurship when it announced an $11 million investment for the creation of the Entrepreneurship, Discovery and Innovation (EDI) Hub on campus.