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Chair, Ryerson Entrepreneur Institute
Faculty Advisor, Enactus Ryerson
Associate Professor, Ted Rogers School of Management, Entrepreneurship & Strategy, Ryerson University, Toronto Canada

Despite the growth in entrepreneurship programs, there remain cries for big changes to the way entrepreneurship education is designed, implemented and assessed. The faculty at Ryerson University have been active in conferences and publishing double-blind peer-review academic journal articles to address this critical issue and these are used to support the thoughts shared on this website.

At REI, Entrepreneurship is about far more than just starting a new business. It involves being alert to what IS and spotting opportunities for what MIGHT or OUGHT to be. It involves proactively bringing about this positive change in the world by TAKING ACTION! It’s about overcoming obstacles or inertia and creating value through experimentation, iteration and continuous LEARNING.

Entrepreneurship is foundational to the human spirit – it applies to new startups, intrapreneurship, social innovation, changemaking and personal empowerment.

Professor teaching students while holding a piece of paper

Entrepreneurship involves understanding what IS by being curious about not only the world around you, such as potential customers, but also yourself, and your values, beliefs and interests. It involves envisioning what MIGHT or OUGHT to BE by imagining a better product, a better career, a better community, or a better life. Spotting opportunities to add value to your life seldom happens by chance – it takes proactive analysis, brainstorming, prototyping and experimentation. Learning also doesn’t happen automatically – it takes a proactive process of self-reflection and feedback.

This holistic philosophy of entrepreneurship is fundamental to the human spirit! It’s not just a business discipline, but a different way of seeing, thinking and acting. It’s that spark that enabled humanity to harness fire, steam, sunlight and the atom as well as create social systems to enhance human welfare, dignity and prosperity. To create something new by spotting opportunities for a better future – to innovate and improve.

 

Professor presenting slideshow

Best practices in determining what students should learn as a result of any educational program, start with the Kirkpatrick framework which specifies three categories of student learning:

  • Knowledge (the Head) – this generally consists of facts, theories, methods, tools and other information that can be readily acquired and transferred between individuals.  Knowledge must in general be falsifiable through scientific methods and reasoning, as opposed to unsubstantiated claims.
  • Skills or Competencies (the Hand) – these consist of abilities and proficiencies that are acquired primarily through specialized training or experience.
  • Attitudes (the Heart) – these are the beliefs, principles and values that drive a person’s thoughts, feelings and actions. Key entrepreneurial mindsets include proactivity, experimentation, internal locus of control, grit, resiliency and self-efficacy.

Ryerson Entrepreneur Institute

The Ryerson Entrepreneur Institute (REI) is a university-wide program, initiated by the Office of the Provost, to motivate students and alumni to actively discover new for-profit and non-profit innovations and act on them to start up new businesses, non-profit organizations or community programs.

Entrepreneurship is traditionally viewed as a business activity that falls within the academic discipline of management. However, as self-employment and community service are increasingly seen as viable career paths for all students and alumni, the ability to spot opportunities, innovate, create value and mobilize teams of people to achieve shared objectives has become a foundational skill for all university graduates. When combined with institutional access to resources and funding, we hope to unleash the enterprising spirits within Ryerson and help them bring their ideas into reality.

REI was created in 2008 to leverage the efforts of our award-winning Enactus (formely SIFE) team, and the Entrepreneurship and Strategy Department of the Ted Rogers School of Management to make innovation and entrepreneurship support more accessible to all students and alumni from the university across diverse faculties. We do not apply a one-size-fits-all process, but rather we are attuned to the highly diverse values, language, and approaches that different faculties, students and alumni bring to their new ventures.

You can see a Showcase of REI Projects and Support Programs here.

 

 

Starting a New Business

This is the traditional form of entrepreneurship normally taught in most universities. These new business entities stimulate the economy and account for virtually 100% of all new job growth in modern economies. This is the form of entrepreneurship mostly assumed by the media and popular press.

Intrapreneurship

Creating entrepreneurial value within an existing venture. Also termed Innovation or Corporate Entrepreneurship. Although a new corporate entity is not created and risk to the entrepreneur may be lower with no ownership, the entrepreneurial processes, skills, and attitudes are virtually identical.

Social Entrepreneurship

Creating primarily social or other forms of non-economic values. Also termed social innovation or changemaking. This can involve starting a new entity (for-profit or non-profit) or creating change within an existing venture or institution.

Personal Empowerment

Creating new values through personal growth and transformation – by looking at yourself in an entrepreneurial way to create the best possible you. Often this form of entrepreneurship must take place prior to the other forms – to change the world you first have to change yourself.

 

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Best practices in entrepreneurship program design and co-curricular experiential learning for Entrepreneurship Educators
The Ryerson Entrepreneur Institute (REI) leverages Canada’s largest business school and entrepreneurship program to spread a culture of entrepreneurship and empower those in need. Our goal is to unleash and support a values-driven culture of innovation, prosperity, and achievement by igniting and supporting a passion for entrepreneurship. REI is a global leader in sustainable co-curricular student engagement and experiential learning in entrepreneurship. It inspires and supports students and educators as they engage in transformative co-curricular projects.

Want to Learn More?

Download our information package to learn more about the Ryerson Entrepreneur Institute

Ryerson Entrepreneur Institute
575 Bay Street (entrance at 55 Dundas West)
Room TRS 1-007
Toronto, ON M5G 2C5 Email us at info@ryersonentinstitute.org

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