Cape Breton University and NSCC to collaborate on Island Sandbox

Cape Breton University and Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) will build upon an already strong partnership by collaborating on what will be known as the Island Sandbox. The province of Nova Scotia announced today that the partnership, along with three other Sandboxes, will be granted funding of $150,000 per year for up to three years.

The Island Sandbox was created in response to the request for proposals from the provincial departments of Labour and Advanced Education and Economic and Rural Development and Tourism.  The Island Sandbox answers the province’s call for an innovative and collaborative strategy that supports entrepreneurship and builds on existing expertise and programming at both campuses.

Sandboxes are based on successful approaches used at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Waterloo, where innovative ideas are nurtured and provided the right tools for growth. Guitar Hero and the E-ink used for Kindle and Kobo e-readers were conceived in the MIT Media Lab.

“There has never been a more important time to encourage existing and potential entrepreneurs in Cape Breton Island,” says Dr. Dale Keefe, dean of research and graduate studies at Cape Breton University. “The Island Sandbox will play a very important role in empowering more people to think in entrepreneurial terms and, as a direct result, empower the region as a whole by creating a place where amazing ideas are born and brought to life.”

The Island Sandbox will offer a Primary Stream in Clean Technology Entrepreneurship which aligns with on-going activities at CBU’s commercially focused Verschuren Centre for Sustainability for Energy and the Environment, along with two secondary streams in Social Entrepreneurship and New Canadian Entrepreneurship. It will be located in 2000 square feet of space at CBU and NSCC and will also have outreach capability to ensure delivery across Cape Breton Island.

Plans include various levels of programming for multiple audiences. As part of the commitment to accessibility, the Island Sandbox will also make a special effort to ensure new immigrants are given access to entrepreneurial training and resources.

“This cooperative approach to innovation will help accelerate the transformation of great entrepreneurial ideas into reality and create new opportunities for students at local, provincial, national and international levels,” says Fred Tilley, principal of NSCC Marconi Campus.

CBU and NSCC have already seen students create their own path to prosperity by harnessing their entrepreneurial skills and creating new businesses that generate revenue and economic spin-off in this region. This partnership will capitalize on that and allow more businesses to get off the ground in Atlantic Canada.