Research

New Saint Mary's space at Volta innovation hub

A new partnership between Saint Mary's University and Volta, an innovation hub in downtown Halifax, will see the university become the first post-secondary institution to provide its students and faculty direct access to Volta's community of innovators with a dedicated work space onsite.

Saint Mary’s will have a permanent office space at Volta, dubbed the Entrepreneurship Connector, that can house up to 6 people. The space allows SMU's community to build stronger relationships within Halifax's innovation district, while providing access to resources, help create new experiential learning opportunities, and enable Saint Mary’s faculty, researchers and programs to better reach and engage with the community and local businesses.

Volta, now in its sixth year of operation, tripled in size last year to 60,000 square feet. Spanning across three floors of the Maritime Centre, the innovation hub is creating a place for entrepreneurs and innovators to work, learn and connect with each other.

"Universities play an important role in driving innovation in Atlantic Canada, and they help attract the talent the region needs to thrive," said Jesse Rodgers, Volta's CEO. "This partnership will infuse Volta's community with the creativity, enthusiasm and innovative thinking that SMU students exemplify."

“We are passionate about helping our students, and our region succeed,” said Dr. Rob Summerby-Murray, President and Vice-Chancellor. “We know that it is by working together, with like-minded partners, that we will have the most impact and do the most good…where we will drive innovation and entrepreneurial thinking to the benefit of our province, and far beyond.”

“Saint Mary’s University is excited to have a permanent physical space at Volta,” said Michael Sanderson, Director of the Saint Mary’s University Entrepreneurship Centre. “At SMU, we believe entrepreneurship is for everyone, so this space and partnership creates a direct pathway for students, faculty and staff from across all disciplines within the university to engage in entrepreneurship and help grow and support the start-up ecosystem.”

See also:

Dr. Ellen Farrell releases research findings on Atlantic entrepreneurial ecosystem


Dr. Ellen Farrell releases research findings on Atlantic entrepreneurial ecosystem

Dr. Ellen Farrell

Dr. Ellen Farrell

Global relationships key to healthy startup community says new research

A major research project from Saint Mary’s University suggests Atlantic Canadian startup businesses need to look further afield for innovation, information and funding.

A three-year, $210,000 research project exploring the startup community in Atlantic Canada has delivered its final report. The research shows that while the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is highly interconnected, companies can achieve greater benefit by reaching out globally for information on technology and product solutions. By relying more on “weak ties” or relationships outside of the Atlantic region or Canada, the Atlantic entrepreneurial ecosystem can improve innovation and results. The research also suggests firms explore venture capital availability outside of the Atlantic region.

“Our study looked at the “knowledge-seeking behaviours” of startups. We found that the Atlantic region is highly connected. One great opportunity lies in encouraging startups to extend their global reach for product and technology information, taking advantage of “weak ties” such as acquaintances, because this can help develop new innovations,” said Dr. Ellen Farrell. “As it is, the world is beating a path to our door to purchase our Atlantic Canadian equity,” she says, citing examples like the purchase of Atlantic businesses Radian 6 and Go Instant by Salesforce, and Quintiles IMS’s recent acquisition of STI Technologies.

The report points to more work to be done by mature firms to support growing businesses. A call to action in the report offers a long list of suggestions for ways these firms can support startups, including testing prototypes, lending talent or equipment, and providing an entry introduction into an industry network of contacts.

“Saint Mary’s University is dedicated to fostering both the foundational and community-engaged research efforts of our professors. This project of Dr. Farrell and her team is an excellent example of research that supports our community and directly impacts the health of our region’s economy,” says Saint Mary’s University Associate Vice-President Research, Dr. Adam Sarty.

“This applied research has already helped inform start-up founders, policy makers and other members of the ecosystem it describes. Dr. Farrell’s work complements her teaching in entrepreneurship, and is key in building a culture of innovation with an entrepreneurial approach to both business development and general problem solving.”

A team led by Dr. Ellen Farrell, a management professor at the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary’s University, conducted the research, which was based on a study Dr. Farrell undertook in 2014. The team was comprised of eleven researchers plus graduate and undergraduate students from six universities across the region. Federal funding to support the project came from ACOA’s Atlantic Policy Research Initiative.

Research into the effects of low interest rates on Canadian loan markets receives grant

Dr. Mohammad Rahaman, Canada Research Chair in International Finance & Competitiveness and a professor with the Sobey School of Business

Dr. Mohammad Rahaman, Canada Research Chair in International Finance & Competitiveness and a professor with the Sobey School of Business

The work of a Saint Mary’s University researcher into the effects of low interest rates on the syndicated loan market in North American has received a boost.

Mohammad Rahaman, Canada Research Chair in International Finance & Competitiveness and a professor with the Sobey School of Business, is receiving a $40,000 research grant from the Canadian Securities Institute Research Foundation.

Rahaman’s research focuses primarily on understanding how access to intermediated capital such as bank loans can be a source of power and efficiency for industrial firms in a competitive global market place. He is currently investigating the effects of the unprecedented and prolonged low interest rates by central banks following the global financial crisis.

His research also touches on how financing through syndicated loans influences investment, innovation, and internationalization among North American industrial firms. A syndicated loan is a loan provided by a group of lenders and set up and administered by one or more commercial or investment banks.

“This is one of the most coveted research grant awarded by industry practitioners in Finance in Canada, and I am honoured to be its recipient,” said Rahaman. “No other finance faculty member in the Maritimes has received this grant, which speaks to a recognition of the importance that the Sobey School of Business has in our region and the quality of research underway at the school.”

The Canadian Securities Institute Research Foundation encourages and supports grounded research on the Canadian Capital Markets.

“The Canadian Securities Research Foundation is actively supporting research into interest rate risk, especially the drivers and impact of the current low interest rate environment,” said Heather-Anne Irwin, Executive Director of the Foundation. “We are thrilled to be supporting Professor Rahaman in his work, as we strive to bridge the gap between theory and practice.”

Saint Mary’s expands cross-border education ties with China

Students in business programs at Guangzhou College, South China University of Technology (GCU) will have added opportunities to transfer to Saint Mary’s after two years and complete their degree at the Sobey School of Business.

A senior delegation from GCU was on campus this week to sign an enhanced Transfer Credit Agreement, paving the way for closer ties with one of China’s most renowned independent colleges. Executive Vice-President Zhixin Zeng, Vice-President Ying Lin, Dean of the International Business School and Director of the International Office Liguang Wu and International Office Program Coordinator Huijing Huang held a series of meetings with their counterparts at Saint Mary’s on Monday, April 15.

Mr. Zeng suggested that GCU’s visit to campus reflected the growing ties between the two universities, while Mr. Lin commented that the new Transfer Credit Agreement opened the door to exciting new possibilities for international cooperation between the two institutions.

Celebrating a Longstanding Partnership

In the years since the signing of an initial MOU in 2011, designed to foster academic and educational cooperation between Guangzhou College and Saint Mary’s, around 60 students have come to campus – some to complete their third and fourth years of their degree as part of the 2+2 agreement with the Sobey School of Business, others to take the Master of Finance Program. Many of the 25 students currently enrolled at Saint Mary’s enjoyed a dinner on Sunday hosted by their alma mater in China to celebrate the arrival of the delegation to Halifax.

Meeting with the delegation on Monday, Dr Summerby-Murray, President and Vice-Chancellor of Saint Mary’s, said that the University was committed to building on the strong foundation of academic partnership between the two universities. This week’s visit, he said, was also an important affirmation of people-to-people connections between Canada and China. As “Canada’s International University”, Saint Mary’s is proud to be recognized as a national leader in building bridges between the two countries, he said.

Guangzhou College of South China University of Technology is a large primarily undergraduate institution with more than 21,000 full-time students who can choose from 35 programs offered through 14 schools. Its 283-acre campus is located just outside Guangzhou city in China’s Pearl River Delta, home to more than 120 million people a major centre of technology and innovation.

Mineral Resources Development Fund expansion announced at Saint Mary’s University

Dr. Jacob Hanley and Kevin Neyedley chat with Sean Kirby, left, executive director of the Mining Association of Nova Scotia, and Energy and Mines Minister Derek Mombourquette. (Photo: Kelly Clark/CNS)

Dr. Jacob Hanley and Kevin Neyedley chat with Sean Kirby, left, executive director of the Mining Association of Nova Scotia, and Energy and Mines Minister Derek Mombourquette. (Photo: Kelly Clark/CNS)

Businesses, prospectors and researchers now have more support for innovative projects in the mining sector as the result of a provincial government announcement at Saint Mary’s University.

As part of Budget 2019-20, the province is increasing the Mineral Resources Development Fund by $800,000 to a total of $1.5 million. Energy and Mines Minister Derek Mombourquette opened the fund to applications in an event at Saint Mary’s on April 9.

“Mining is a globally competitive sector that creates career opportunities for our young people, while generating revenue for programs and services that benefit all Nova Scotians,” said Minister Mombourquette. “These investments make connections and develop new ideas that help our companies stay at the forefront of technology and environmental protection.”

Saint Mary’s University Professor Dr. Jacob Hanley and PhD student Kevin Neyedley received $47,500 from the fund in 2018. They are working on research and gathering geological information about how strategic minerals formed. This will help identify where deposits may be located and then extracted with minimal environmental impact.

“It is vitally important for Nova Scotians to have access to the most current scientific knowledge, gathered using cutting edge research tools,” said Dr. Hanley.

“Our research can help attract companies by reducing exploration costs for industry and reduce the impact that grass-roots exploration has on the environment through narrowing the size of mineral deposit targets,” said Mr. Neyedley.

Last year, the province supported 28 projects including mineral exploration programs, professional development, innovation, university research and training opportunities for young people.