Student Reflects on Meaningful Work Experience with StFX Extension Innovation and Enterprise Centre

Jordan MacDonald completed an eight month work term with the StFX Extension Innovation and Enterprise Centre. He worked with the Centre from January to August, 2017.

Working with the StFX Extension Innovation and Enterprise Centre has been a deeply gratifying experience. Being in the entrepreneurship program at StFX I have always had an interest in the entrepreneurial ecosystem that assists individuals in realizing their business potential. I have also had a keen interest in community development and the benefits created when individuals come together and work toward a common cause. Working with StFX Extension allowed me to combine these two interests and view them as they play out in real life. I was able to work alongside deeply devoted innovators and community leaders and experience these two worlds.

While my official position with the Innovation and Enterprise Centre (IEC) was “Marketing, Communications, and Events Coordinator”, I was able to express my inner creativity and propose ideas for new initiatives and partnerships. For example, I developed and delivered the Summer Launch program, an initiative that provides a grant to students in grades 7-12 to start their own business in the summer months. I was also able to contribute to the design and coordination of the Leadership Development Conference and a broader partnership between StFX University and 4-H Nova Scotia. These two activities not only brought me out into the community, they also allowed me to explore my own entrepreneurial talents and practice the skills I learned in the classroom to effect real change in my surroundings.

This position also changed my perception of the Antigonish community and the employees of StFX. By working alongside community volunteers, I feel as though I have become more connected with the people of Antigonish and I feel more imbedded in the local community. As well, by working at StFX I have gained a better understanding of how diverse the campus really is and how many things go on behind the curtains – outside of a regular students’ perception.

Through my work at StFX Extension I have helped to increase the visibility of the Department’s various areas of expertise, most especially the Innovation and Enterprise Centre. I was surprised to learn just how many opportunities and programs exist at the Centre that allow students to generate ideas for social change or business ventures, provide meaningful learning opportunities, and connect students to the broader Antigonish community.

In a previous edition of this newsletter, Sam Gan and Mitch Allen remarked on their ability to operate a business in lieu of traditional work term. The Innovation and Enterprise Centre is working to provide an “Entrepreneurial” co-op experience in the coming semesters alongside the current marketing and events coordinator position. As well, the Centre is always available to consult with any StFX student or member of the public who is interested in starting or expanding their business.

The Extension Department is a fantastic environment to work in and I encourage all students to explore the many ways to get involved in its programming. This opportunity has deepened my interest in the entrepreneurial ecosystem and the social sector of the Maritimes.