BHER and Volunteer Canada partner to support work-integrated learning for Indigenous entrepreneurship students

Ottawa, ON

The Business + Higher Education Roundtable is excited to announce a new partnership with Volunteer Canada that will support the creation of work-integrated learning (WIL) placements for Indigenous entrepreneurship students across Canada. Volunteer Canada will be supporting the GreenHouse social impact incubator housed at St. Paul’s University College at the University of Waterloo to coordinate the placements within their new Indigenous Entrepreneurship program. This partnership is made possible through support from the Government of Canada.
 
Volunteer Canada is a registered charity and works with a network of more than 200 local volunteer centres throughout Canada. It will mobilize not-for-profit and private sector organizations across the country to provide new WIL experiences. These organizations will host students virtually and provide mentorship, project guidance, feedback, and supervision. The partnership will enhance participation in WIL among Indigenous-led businesses and businesses that operate within Indigenous communities and lead to the development of a best practices handbook for creating WIL opportunities for Indigenous students that will be shared with BHER’s other national WIL ecosystem partners through its WIL Resource Hub.  
 
“A key focus for this partnership is improving access to quality WIL experiences for Indigenous students, who are traditionally underrepresented in WIL,” said Dr. Valerie Walker, Chief Executive Officer of BHER. “This model of Indigenized post-secondary business education will also equip more Indigenous youth with the skills and experiences needed to succeed as entrepreneurs.”
 
“We are delighted to offer programs which will support Indigenous students in their entrepreneurial aspirations,” said Richard Myers, principal at St. Paul’s University College. “Our institution is uniquely suited to provide an innovative and impactful learning experience, focusing on an Indigenized approach to business.”
 
“Non-profit organizations address critical social, economic, and environmental issues and provide a rich environment for students to apply and expand their learning,” said Paula Speevak, CEO of Volunteer Canada. “While also acting upon their values.”

-30-

About Volunteer Canada: Volunteer Canada provides national leadership and expertise on volunteer engagement, to enhance the participation, quality, and diversity of volunteer experiences to build strong and connected communities.   Working with a network of more than 200 local volunteer centres, and hundreds of non-profit organizations, educational institutions, businesses, government departments, and volunteers, we monitor trends, provide tools and resources, conduct research, and launch campaigns to promote and recognize volunteers. Our website receives more than 20,000 visits per month and already serves as a hub for various aspects of volunteering in Canada, including screening, youth engagement, and COVID-19. Our Pan-Canadian Volunteer Matching Platform aggregates volunteer opportunities from 156 local volunteer centres. Our Corporate Community Engagement Council brings together 20 leading corporations to advance the field of employee community engagement.  

About St. Paul’s University College (Home of GreenHouse): St. Paul's University College is an affiliated institution of the University of Waterloo, located in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. The College functions as a residence for both undergraduate and graduate students at the University and offers classes to all University students. St. Paul’s also provides specialized support through two units housed at the College: GreenHouse, a social impact incubator, dedicated to supporting innovators who want to see social and environmental change, and the Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre, which facilitates the sharing of Indigenous knowledge, culturally relevant information and support services for Indigenous students studying at the University.