The Next 36 – a ground breaking initiative to transform the country’s most promising undergraduates into Canada’s top entrepreneurs – has selected its second cohort of 36 young innovators from over 1,000 of the country’s leading students. The successful candidates were chosen from a group of 72 finalists, who had flown from across Canada and from overseas to compete for a spot in the program’s National Selection Weekend in Toronto.
“Canada’s top students apparently have a huge appetite for challenge and discomfort,” says Claudia Hepburn, executive director and co-founder of The Next 36. “They are hungry for mentorship from great entrepreneurs and ambitious in their goals for innovation and impact. This intensely challenging weekend has laid the foundation for nine months of transformative growth.”
Championed by Founding Patrons Galen Weston, Paul Desmarais Sr., Jimmy Pattison and a long list of prominent Canadian business leaders, The Next 36 is being described in the media as “the most intense, hot-house effort to force grow entrepreneurs ever attempted in Canada”. It has partnerships with Ernst & Young, Rogers Communications, MaRS Discovery District, University of Toronto, University of Western Ontario, McGill University and University of Waterloo,
Canadian students from 62 schools across North America registered to apply for the program and the selected candidates represent 14 universities. The Next 36 is open to students from all academic backgrounds, and this year’s candidates come from disciplines including, business, engineering, science, architecture, mathematics and the arts. The group includes social and serial entrepreneurs, academic award winners, campus leaders, accomplished artists, scientists and engineers, and elite athletes.
Reflecting on her experience, Jacqueline Cook, a commerce student from the University of Saskatchewan said: “This was the most challenging and inspirational weekend of my life. I have taken a major step towards becoming a leader in today’s high stakes global environment. I am honoured to be working with such an impressive peer group, and with such renowned names in entrepreneurship as Reza Satchu, Jordan Banks, Sarah Prevette and Kevin Sullivan. I feel like I have won the Rhodes Scholarship of entrepreneurship.”
Students have returned to their home universities and have already begun working remotely on their new businesses with their co-founders and CEO-level mentors. All candidates will return to Toronto in May for the Entrepreneurship Institute, an innovation boot camp, where they will build their venture with guidance from the world’s top faculty and support from Canada’s top business leaders and entrepreneurs.
The 2012 cohort of The Next 36 includes students from:
- Bishop’s University
- McGill University
- Queen’s University
- Saint Mary’s University
- Simon Fraser University
- The University of Western Ontario
- University of Calgary
- University of Prince Edward Island
- University of Saskatchewan
- University of Toronto
- University of Waterloo
- University of Windsor
- University of Winnipeg
- Wilfrid Laurier University