SHAD innovation centre comes to Ryerson

Innovative Canadian youth: Governor General David Johnston is flanked by SHAD Fellows as Ryerson University becomes the 13th Host Campus in Canada for an award-winning program for innovation and entrepreneurship for high school students. Left to right in front row: David Hay, SHAD Board Chair, Tim Jackson, President of SHAD, Rudy Jarvis, SHAD Fellow, David Johnston, Governor General, Simone Cavanaugh. From right: Mohamed Lachemi, President of Ryerson University, SHAD Fellow, Sean Mullin Executive Director of Ryerson’s Brookfield Institute.

During an event celebrating the launch of the SHAD enrichment program at Ryerson University this summer, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, told an eager group of SHAD 2017 students he expects them to continue Canada’s rich history of being a country of innovators.

An environment ideally suited to developing young innovators and entrepreneurs, Ryerson becomes SHAD’s 13th university campus in Canada. It’s the seventh in Ontario and the first in the GTA to partner with the award-winning program.

In his remarks, Ryerson President, Mohamed Lachemi called SHAD an ideal partner for Ryerson. “The SHAD program cultivates in students an entrepreneurial mindset, and helps them discover their ability to solve real-world issues.  Ryerson values very highly empowering young people in this way.  We also specialize in innovation and entrepreneurship, so I know these ambitious students will benefit very much from our training.”  Lachemi said.

He added, “Sean Mullin, Executive Director of the Brookfield Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Ryerson, is just one of the many impressive SHAD Fellows who have gone on to become leaders around the country.”

“We are ecstatic to be coming to Ryerson,” SHAD CEO, Jackson continued.  “Many of our 15,500 Fellows have become high-impact leaders in Canada, in various fields. I’m sure several of the students here today will choose an entrepreneurial and innovative campus like Ryerson to start making their mark.”

A lifelong advocate of learning and innovation, the Governor General participated in a fireside chat with the SHAD 2017 students in Ryerson’s state-of-the-art Student Learning Centre. During this chat, His Excellency reiterated that SHAD has been a phenomenal incubator of talent. He first learned about SHAD when he was President of the University of Waterloo, which was the first university to host the program in the early 1980’s.

Every year students compete for a coveted position in the unique Canadian program. This culminates in July when 800 of Canada’s highest potential students spend a month in an intense, STEAM-based (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) experiential learning program which the students call transformational.

The Honourable Mitzie Hunter, Ontario’s Minister of Education and the member of provincial parliament for Scarborough-Guildwood, provided keynote remarks at the launch event.  She emphasized the need for youth to learn global competencies, like critical thinking and problem solving, in order to compete in today’s ever changing global economy.

“Ontario is committed to ensuring students can utilize technology and have every opportunity to develop global competencies,” Hunter said. “But this learning should not stop in the classroom. Programs like SHAD are terrific opportunities for Ontario students to continue honing the skills that will enable them to be successful now and in the future.”

The province provides $500,000 annually to support the SHAD program and provide bursaries for students from underserved communities.  Ensuring broad-based access to the program is a core strategic priority for SHAD under the leadership of its new CEO, Tim Jackson, appointed last summer.

Jackson says inclusive and equitable growth for Canada depends on ensuring access to programs like SHAD, which boasts nearly 60% female enrolment for the STEAM-based program. “We have had tremendous success bringing a diverse range of like-minded students together and seeing how that unlocks their entrepreneurial potential. This is a huge resource for Canada that we need to ensure we harness,” Jackson said.