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The New Brunswick Business Council (NBBC) believes that New Brunswick has amazing opportunities for graduates with innovative companies. But, how can we get more post-secondary students to stay in New Brunswick after graduation? How can we connect students to real opportunities and get companies the talent they need to grow? These questions sparked the Innovation Bus Tour, part of a new experiential learning course offered at Mount Allison University.

Exploring Science-based Businesses

NBBC was approached by Mount Allison to co-develop an experiential learning course to connect students with science-based businesses which form a growing sector in New Brunswick’s economy. Introduced in fall 2018, the pilot course was made possible through new Experiential Learning funding provided by Post-Secondary Education, Training & Labour geared toward retaining university graduates in the province.

NBBC worked with Mount Allison to design an engaging course format that would allow students to tackle real-world business problems while learning ways to commercialize science by applying business principles. The course involves hands-on consulting skills, readings, a team project, and a series of speakers from notable New Brunswickers, including Gerry Pond, David Alston, and Mark Breen.

“It has been a great collaboration between the private sector and the University to co-develop programming that can have a tangible benefit for companies and the next generation of New Brunswickers. The course opened students’ eyes to the number of meaningful career opportunities available in our province with innovative companies that sell globally,” says Adrienne O’Pray, president and CEO of NBBC.

Innovation Bus Tour

A highlight of the new “Exploring Science-based Businesses” course was an interactive, two-day bus tour in partnership with NBBC, Mount Allison, The Atlantic Chamber of Commerce, and BioNB.

The bus travelled from l’Université de Moncton to Mount A and then made stops at several New Brunswick-based businesses for guided tours and discussions. Thirty-eight (38) students participated in the excursion, including six students from U de M. These students had a unique opportunity to visit seven (7) respected businesses and organizations, including:
  • Blue Roof Distillers
  • VENN Innovation
  • Malley Industries
  • VidCruiter Inc.
  • Organigram
  • Atlantic Cancer Research Institute (ACRI)
  • IGT Canada Inc.

The Innovation Bus Tour also included a social at VidCruiter and a networking lunch at Atlantic Cancer Research Institute, as well as a debriefing reflection session at Cranewood on Main in Sackville where students discussed their experience and shared insights from the bus tour.

“Attending the Innovation Bus Tour, as well as participating in the ‘Exploring Science-based Businesses’ course, showed me how valuable having a diverse background is and how I can apply my Biochemistry background to entrepreneurship,” says Haruka Kashiwai, a science student at Mount Allison. “It was so refreshing to see such opportunity locally, and how many different types of science-based businesses there really are in New Brunswick.”

The Innovation Bus Tour was also well-received by local businesses. “The employer response to both the industry tour and the course consulting projects has been overwhelmingly positive,” says Dr. Dawn Henwood, manager of Experiential Learning at Mount A. The course also aims to help NB- based employers “build a talent pipeline.”

If you’re a NB-based business seeking student talent and wage subsidies for interns, get in touch with Krista Steeves, director of experiential learning and career development at Mount Allison. We are already recruiting for summer 2019!