Youth Entrepreneurship Leadership Launchpad (YELL) Canada and Simon Fraser University (SFU) announced on May 14th, the 2018 Venture Challenge, that they intend to work together to create a first for high school students in Canada. The two organizations will work together to explore a pilot in which students who complete the YELL program in high-school would be able to receive university credit toward an entrepreneurship credential at SFU’s Beedie School of Business.
YELL and SFU Beedie School of Business seek to develop a new model for giving university credit for a program taken in high school. Existing models for giving university credit for high school programs often require the course to be Advanced Placement (AP) or require that classes are taken on campus, which can put them out of reach for some students. SFU Beedie and YELL are committed to ensuring that neither financial resources nor proximity to the university affect a student’s ability to access this opportunity. The model under development is intended to ensure any student who takes the YELL program in BC, regardless of which high school they attend, will be eligible to claim that credit at SFU Beedie.
“This partnership allows us to give an edge to all of our students, not just those within Metro Vancouver, but also to those students in northern and rural BC taking the exact same program,” noted David Cameron, Executive Director of YELL Canada. “We hope this ground-breaking partnership helps legitimize the importance of entrepreneurial learning to high school students. The fact is, many trades people, lawyers, doctors, athletes, artists, and scientists start their own business at some point, but more than that, entrepreneurial skills teach youth how to adapt in the fast-paced and changing economy we see. These skills, the ability to adapt, change your thinking, deal with failure, and innovate are super important for their future, particularly as they enter the workforce.” Added Cameron, “in my experience, these skills develop much more easily at a younger age - university is too late.”
SFU’s Director of Entrepreneurship, Dr. Sarah Lubik, highlights the importance of the entrepreneurial mindset and the people that have them. “Increasingly, it’s hard to predict what technology will enable and what jobs will be available in the future, but what we can predict is fast-paced change, complex problems and the value of the people that can keep up, collaborate, tolerate ambiguity and problem-solve: the entrepreneurs.
“But sadly it’s not always clear that entrepreneurship aligns with a university education, or that universities are looking for these ways of thinking, these attitudes. This is a key priority of Beedie and SFU, and we are excited to work with YELL to create a pathway that shows how much we value people with this mindset and to create a clear welcome for those students who want to exercise and cultivate it.”
“It is very exciting for our students to have the chance to earn university credentials while in high school,” adds West Vancouver Superintendent Chris Kennedy. “It also reinforces the quality of the YELL Program for students.”
At 20, Georigy Sekretaryuk is a YELL Alumnus and co-founder of Nero, a smart-jewelry line that you can use to call for help with the tap of a button “[YELL] taught me to find approaches to problems through different, creative ways, and how to apply them in the real world to help improve the society that I live in. I was put into positions that made me think quickly on the spot, and this helps me greatly in my day-to-day life. I have become a better speaker and presenter, and I am confident that I can find a way to get any job done.”
Now a 2nd year Computer Science and Mathematics student at SFU, Georgiy highlights the common cultures of entrepreneurship and support between the organizations. “SFU has a very strong spirit of innovation that allows students like myself to be creative in any way we see fit. SFU's strong entrepreneurial community made me want to attend SFU because I felt confident that I would receive the support necessary with my entrepreneurial endeavors, which I did. [SFU] is very well set up with work labs and spaces to assist in the creation of projects like the one I'm working on that require extensive tinkering and an open, welcoming environment for innovation.”
YELL and Beedie anticipate launching the pilot before the end of 2018, ready for the students who come to SFU in September 2019.
Media release from SFU: http://beedie.sfu.ca/ideas/2018/05/sfu-beedie-to-offer-credit-to-high-school-students-completing-youth-entrepreneurship-program/