New funding partners and an expanded platform will empower youth to build a stronger Canada
CALGARY, AB, July 12, 2021 /CNW/ – MindFuel is on a mission to empower Canadian youth to be at the forefront of innovation and technological advancements, creating future economic diversity and success thanks to support from Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD).
Alongside other funding partners, WD recently contributed $229,625 to continue the nonprofit’s work with youth to improve Canada’s global innovation index score by focusing on investments into skills development in support of the long-term development of human capital.
MindFuel, a national leader in STEM learning and innovation operating nationally both in-person and online, is launching Canada Tech Futures (CTF), a national collaboration platform focused on developing an innovation mindset in youth. This platform is modelled after the successful pilot program, geekStarter, which MindFuel operated from 2015 to 2020.
Funding Partner Support for Guiding Future Entrepreneurs and Innovators
With two-year funding support from Western Economic Diversification Canada, CTF will host entrepreneurial training through an introductory start-up workshop series, Founders Fundamentals, connecting its post-secondary students and prior CTF alumni with established organizations and entrepreneurial education workshops, providing fundamental start-up skills development, mentorship and business advisory services to support further development of youth innovations. Contributing partners in project support include the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking, InceptionU, the League of Innovators, and Platform Calgary, with more partners joining in the fall.
MindFuel acknowledges other funding partners that support the programming under Canada Tech Futures, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and RBC Future Launch. Canada Tech Futures is also funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills program.
“The innovative creations we’ve seen from past student projects are proof of the untapped talent in today’s youth in terms of the emerging tech space,” said Cassy Weber, CEO of MindFuel. “From youth utilizing gene therapy of a fungus to address Vitamin A deficiencies to building a remotely operated underwater vehicle to monitor invasive species, student projects have touched on synthetic biology, robotics, and artificial intelligence which translate into clean-tech, agricultural science, and environmental remediation industries. Today’s youth hold the key to our innovation futures, and we’re delighted to be partnering with WD and other visionaries who make the connection between investments today resulting in innovation driven economic diversification outputs tomorrow.”
MindFuel’s CTF platform can be utilized as a stand-alone online framework or incorporated into a blended learning model to suit current needs. With focus on equity, diversity and inclusion, MindFuel ensures there is support for Canada’s under-represented youth participants.
“Our government recognizes the incredible impact that today’s youth will have on our country’s future, and we’re committed to nurturing their talents and ambitions to help them succeed,” said the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada. “Our investment in MindFuel will help equip more than 350 leading youth innovators across Alberta with mentorship and entrepreneurial skills needed to translate ideas into exciting new tech ventures. I’m proud to see this initiative come to fruition and look forward to seeing a diverse set of young innovators establish themselves in Canada’s technology and entrepreneurial community.”
“Our goal is to build Canada Tech Futures into a national network of resources and support that will empower youth to lead the way in innovation and entrepreneurialism,” said Weber. “Many program alumni were able to form successful startup operations as a result of ‘a-ha’ moments they experienced during the program. Our mission is to provide a space for current and future alumni, their mentors, teachers and industry experts to connect in order to keep this momentum going.”
Limitless Potential in Youth Innovation
The results of CTF speak for themselves in relation to the impact youth innovation can have on economic diversification. Since 2015, the nonprofit’s pilot program has:
- Engaged more than 4,000 students in its youth innovation programs.
- Assisted in the development of several hundred student projects.
- Guided six student teams on their entrepreneurial journeys in launching tech-based startups in Alberta, resulting in job creation, investment capital in the province and contribution to GDP.
“MindFuel’s program in support of student projects that address real-world problems has been instrumental in developing Alberta’s innovation ecosystem, competitive technical advantage and driving real impact in launching future startups that benefit our economy,” said David Lloyd a MindFuel geekStarter alumni and co-founder and CEO of FREDsense. “Many prior projects have won awards at prestigious international competitions like iGEM, and this program helps students in their journey to become young innovators.”
For more information, visit Canada Tech Futures.
About the MindFuel Foundation (MindFuel)
MindFuel is a registered charity, established in 1990, focused on creating future generations of innovators and problem-solvers. As a digital literacy and online learning pioneer, MindFuel is helping Canada diversify its economy through a focus on online STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education resources and in-field learning. Recognized with many awards of excellence, MindFuel supports teachers with 21st century learning resources and helps immerse students in the fun world of STEM through blended learning, which includes both digital and hands-on activities, critical to advancing Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan. MindFuel places a large emphasis on empowering girls, Indigenous youth and students in rural and remote regions to pursue studies and careers in STEM. In 2019-20, MindFuel programming reached hundreds of thousands of students across Canada in both French and English and is used in over 170 countries around the world.
For more information, please visit mindfuel.ca.
About Western Economic Diversification Canada
For more than 30 years, Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) has been working to diversify the western economy while improving the quality of life of western Canadians. It has a mandate to build a strong, competitive West by focusing on business development, innovation, and community development, as well as advocating on behalf of Westerners by representing the western perspective in national programs, policies, and projects.