Three Red River College business students are in Toronto today to showcase and pitch projects at Colleges and Institutes Canada’s Applied Research, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Forum, taking place at Seneca College Nov. 7 and 8.
RRC’s Dinae Robinson, Fatima Feliciano and David Schlaikjar are among 24 students from 12 Canadian colleges attending the forum, in which participants showcase team projects and pitch socially innovative ideas to a panel of judges comprised of MPs and influential leaders in innovation.
All three of the RRC projects resulted from an ongoing applied research initiative allowing students to collaborate with local businesses in exploring the emerging field of social innovation. The goal of the partnerships is to enhance students’ creativity while better positioning them to become innovators in their own careers.
Working with National Leasing, Robinson’s team sought to improve access to education about Canada’s Indigenous communities by offering Indigenous Immersion tours to students, including a walking tour of The Forks and a seven-day cultural trip for youth to Swan Lake First Nation.
Feliciano’s team, also in partnership with National Leasing, researched socially innovative businesses around the globe, with the goal of sharing best practices in social entrepreneurship knowledge — and the students’ own globally inspired business ideas — to the local community and SMEs in Winnipeg.
Schlaikjar’s team worked with Boreal Wildcraft and Cypher Environmental, both of whom wished to further commercialize their products in international markets. With further support from the National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program, students profiled specific countries the companies thought were well-suited for expansion.
(Combined, the RRC students spoke six different languages, giving them prime access to — and cultural understanding of — more than 25 countries around the world.)
Also attending this week’s forum is RRC instructor Tatjana Brkic, who’ll be presenting as part of a panel on Social Innovation for Change and Inclusiveness. The panel will focus on the development of social innovators for a greener and more inclusive Canada.