Student Success

Huskies goalkeeper Christian Oxner signs with the HFX Wanderers FC

Big news for Saint Mary’s Huskies soccer fans. The HFX Wanderers FC have added Saint Mary’s goalkeeper Christian Oxner to their roster.

Oxner, is putting pen to paper to become an official Wanderers player after being chosen by the club at the CPL-U SPORTS draft last November.

“Christian is another player who has worked tremendously hard to get where he is, he deserves this opportunity,” said Wanderers coach Stephen Hart.

Christian Oxner (image from https://hfxwanderersfc.canpl.ca/)

Christian Oxner (image from https://hfxwanderersfc.canpl.ca/)

Halifax-born Oxner said he was expecting to fight for a spot on the Wanderers squad in preseason trials, until Stephen Hart called him with the offer he had been dreaming of.

“It feels good, I was so glad to get drafted but now I’m getting the chance to represent the city I grew up in so now I can play with freedom and I’m excited,” he said.

Oxner grew up in Clayton Park and played for local team Dunbrack as a youngster, before establishing himself as one for the future while playing for Saint Mary’s Huskies and Western Halifax FC.

He was a big part of the dominant Western Halifax FC team that won three provincial championships and a national title, which Hart has also been impressed with.

Now he’s looking forward to playing in front of his family and friends at the Wanderers Grounds, as well as being an example to potential future stars in the Halifax region.

Read more about the signing of Christian Oxner and Alex De Carolis at the Halifax Wanderers website.

Student entrepreneurs from across Atlantic Canada at Saint Mary’s for business development conference

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Student entrepreneurs from across Atlantic Canada will be working closely with experienced entrepreneurs to help develop their businesses at the Starting Point Entrepreneurship Conference taking place at Saint Mary’s University.

The conference begins on Tuesday, Feb. 19, and will bring student entrepreneurs from post-secondary institutions and high schools from multiple provinces together to work with entrepreneurs, CEOs and startup experts. The students have the chance to work directly with the entrepreneurs to help brings their business ideas to fruition or grow an existing business. Events include keynote speakers, master classes with successful businesspeople, funder speed dating and the Iron Entrepreneur Tournament.  At the end of the conference, students have a chance to win cash investments for their businesses.

This year’s conference theme is “From Vision to Venture.” The theme is about encouraging and inspiring students to bring their ideas to reality by giving them the confidence and tools to do so. Conference proceedings such as master classes, the iron entrepreneur competition and the keynote speaker will focus on helping students to realize that vision and help them to bring it to fruition through actionable advice and inspiration.

Since it began in 2015, the conference has hosted 590 student entrepreneurs from post-secondary institutions and high schools from across the country and given over $40,000 in funding and prizes. The conference is organized by the Saint Mary’s University Entrepreneurship Centre. Over the past five years, SMUEC programs have provided opportunities to more than 4,500 students, allowing them to be engaged in curricular and extra-curricular activities. 

To learn more about the Starting Point Conference visit www.startingpointconference.com.

Preparing students for the workforce, supporting entrepreneurship focus of new RBC-SMU partnership

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A new partnership between Saint Mary’s University and the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) will create new co-operative education positions and expand entrepreneurial coaching, skill building and mentoring for Saint Mary’s students.

On Thursday, Feb.14, 2019, Saint Mary’s University and the RBC Future Launch Program announced the establishment of the RBC Talent Hub at the Saint Mary’s University Entrepreneurship Centre. The partnership is supported by a gift of $695,000 over three years from the RBC Foundation in support of RBC Future Launch. The new RBC Talent Hub will encompass four initiatives designed to expand cooperative education and entrepreneurship opportunities for Saint Mary’s students.

“As a national leader in business education, Saint Mary’s has a history of driving entrepreneurship and innovation,” said Saint Mary’s University President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray. “Through this new partnership, we are looking to bridge the gap between the needs of our changing economy and what students are learning. Together with RBC, we can better prepare our students for the workforce and support the growth of Saint Mary’s as a key driver of entrepreneurial culture and success in our region.”

Chris Ronald, RBC Regional President, Atlantic provinces and Saint Mary’s University President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray

Chris Ronald, RBC Regional President, Atlantic provinces and Saint Mary’s University President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray

RBC Future Launch is a 10-year, $500 million commitment to empowering Canadian youth for the jobs of tomorrow. With a focus on networking, skills development, practical work experience and mental wellbeing supports and services, the initiative aims to help break down the barriers facing young people.

“Canada is at a transition point, economically, socially and technologically, and universities play an important role in positioning our country for tomorrow,” said Chris Ronald, RBC Regional President, Atlantic provinces.  “Our country’s future prosperity will depend on our young people and their ability to lead us forward, which is why we are so proud to help bring students high quality experiential learning opportunities through the RBC Talent Hub.”

The RBC Talent Hub Program will consist of:

•      Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) program: rotating, nationally recognized EIRs who will coach and mentor students and help connect local entrepreneur-led businesses with co-operative education opportunities.

•      Entrepreneurial Mindset Success Certificate: multi-level skilled entrepreneurship training workshops for Saint Mary’s students.

•      Student Consultant Team: co-operative education students will run this self-led student consulting practice focused on the needs of entrepreneur-led businesses.

•      Talent Fund: fund student co-op placements in the region and support opportunities for students to grow their own business as part of a co-op term.

Gregg Curwin (BComm’90), the inaugural RBC Entrepreneur in Residence

Gregg Curwin (BComm’90), the inaugural RBC Entrepreneur in Residence

Chris Ronald also announced the inaugural RBC Entrepreneur in Residence.  An innovative alumnus and industry disruptor with decades of business experience, Gregg Curwin (BComm’90) is the director, and former president & CEO, of TruLeaf Sustainable Agriculture, a company that has created an indoor farming system to grow fresh plants for food and medicines. In his advisory role as EIR, Curwin will work within Saint Mary’s University Entrepreneurship Centre to coach and mentor students and help to build relationships with regional entrepreneurs.

“I am thrilled to be a part of this partnership between Saint Mary’s and RBC,” said Curwin. “This type of forward-thinking approach is exactly what is needed to prepare students for the demands of the workforce and the opportunities they have before them as business leaders and entrepreneurs. Some of the most important things I learned about being an entrepreneur came from my mentors. Being able to share my knowledge with the next generation, and pay it forward, is an incredibly rewarding experience.”

Two years in a row of podium finishes for Saint Mary's venture capital students

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For the second year in a row, a team of students from the Sobey School of Business took second place in the Venture Capital Investment Competition (New England region), held in Boston.

In early February, the Saint Mary’s students joined teams from Cornell University, Babson College, New York University, Tufts University and Southern Connecticut State University to show their venture capital expertise.

The way the competition works is that two days before the event, teams receive pitch decks from startup companies. The teams are given 38 hours to learn as much as they can about the presenting startups. Then they arrive at the competition, and it begins with the startup pitches. Teams receive 14 minutes of one-on-one time with each startup. Finally, teams have two hours to make an investment decision and submit their recommendations.

Cornell University, narrowly edged Saint Mary’s to take first place. In addition to finishing second place, Saint Mary’s Venture Grade took home the competition's only Entrepreneurs Choice Award, chosen by the startup entrepreneurs.

“The spread between 1st  and 2nd  place was 1.6%,” said Dr. Ellen Farrell, the faculty coach of the Saint Mary’s University Venture Grade Fund. “In the Boston event, there was an entrepreneur looking for $11,000,000 but who wasn’t committed to exiting so the team didn’t feel he met the fund thesis; and another father/son co-founding group offering a new type of incuabator to 3rd world countries that had yet to commercialize.  In picking Language I/0, SMU met the entrepreneur’s elevated valuation expectations with term sheet provisions.  There was a buzz in the room about the team’s defence when they were done.  Brilliant job.”

Competing in the competition were Kory Henn (Entrepreneurship), Emma Scott (Entrepreneurship), Jake Chambers (Entrepreneurship), Maxim Roy (Accounting) and Tahsin Fatin (Finance).

Congratulations on your great showing!