To help mark 50th-anniversary celebrations in 2017, Colleges Ontario has launched the William G. Davis Innovation Fund and a contest that encourages students and alumni to pitch innovative projects and initiatives for cash prizes.
The fund has been named after former premier William G. Davis, who served as Ontario’s education minister from 1962 to 1971 and brought in legislation that established the college system. It is named in his honour as a tribute to the bold and creative thinking that revolutionized post-secondary education in Ontario.
“When we launched the Ontario college system 50 years ago, I had hoped that we would create a meaningful and rewarding system that prepares students for a broad range of careers,” said the Honourable William G. Davis. “That hope was not only realized but surpassed. Today’s colleges are preparing students for many of today’s most challenging careers.
“This new fund will promote some of the truly innovative ideas being developed at colleges throughout the province,” he said. “It is truly an honour to have it established in my name.”
Entrants can be a graduate or current full-time student from one of Ontario’s 24 colleges with an idea that could improve Ontario and beyond. Applications can be made in the categories of entrepreneurialism, health and welfare, arts and culture, or community benefit.
The first-place winner will receive $15,000 to help fund the project and the second-place entry will receive $5,000.
“Throughout our history, creative and entrepreneurial students and alumni have been at the forefront of new innovations,” said Linda Franklin, the president and CEO of Colleges Ontario. “The William G. Davis Innovation Fund will showcase the many exciting ideas being developed today and provide financial awards to some of the top proposals.”
The detailed timeline for submissions and voting, full contest rules and regulations are available online. Successful entries must be achievable, sustainable, measurable, original and linked to the individual’s college experience.
Students and alumni will be able to start posting proposals in March. A shortlist of the top applications will be publicized in August and the winners will be announced in November.
“As colleges continue to grow and evolve, students acquire the professional and technical qualifications that equip them for meaningful employment,” said Don Lovisa, president of Durham College and chair of the college sector’s 50th-anniversary task force. “This new fund will feature great examples of how colleges prepare graduates to launch their own ventures and bring imaginative ideas to the workplace.”
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