Venture for Canada Launches Intrapreneurship Program to provide Work-Integrated Learning Experiences for Underserved Students in Canada


06/7/2021 Ottawa (Ontario)

Venture for Canada (VFC) is excited to announce the launch of their Intrapreneurship Programfunded by the government of Canada’s Innovative Work-Integrated Learning Programto create short duration, paid Innovative Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) opportunities for students from underserved communities at small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) across Canada.     

The Intrapreneurship Program matches individuals or groups of post-secondary students with startups and small businesses for up to 7-week projects. Students will learn entrepreneurial skills, gain awareness of emerging career paths, build their portfolios and skillsets, access networking opportunities, and receive a stipend for their work throughout the program.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) continue to be a significant focus of Venture for Canada’s work. This new program focuses on providing opportunities and removing barriers to accessing work for post-secondary students who identify as racialized, Indigenous, newcomers, persons with disabilities, residents of rural communities, and members of official language minority communities. 

“We are excited to provide 1,500 students from underserved communities with the opportunity to participate in innovative work-integrated learning at small businesses across Canada,” said Scott Stirrett, Founder and CEO of Venture for Canada. “The most effective way to learn entrepreneurial skills is by working in startups and small businesses.” 

A recent RBC report shows the evidence that “since 2001, the jobless rate for racialized Canadians has exceeded that of non-visible minorities’ by an average of 2% annually.” Moreover, according to data collected by the inaugural RBC Future Launch Youth Outlook study, young Canadians believe learning in a pandemic is not adequately preparing them for getting a job. Canada must continue to support young Canadians, particularly those from underserved communities, in gaining meaningful work experience. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has created daunting economic challenges that have made it difficult for students to gain practical work experiences. VFC’s Intrapreneurship Program will provide post-secondary students with the opportunity to gain relevant work experience and build connections with employers who will help them integrate more rapidly into the workforce. 

The program is available for students in all provinces and territories and is offered in both official languages. 

The Intrapreneurship Program was designed to provide small and medium-sized businesses innovative short-term project support and for these firms to engage students for long-term talent acquisition. Smalls and medium businesses in all provinces and territories that are Canadian-owned, with fewer than 500 employees, will be eligible to participate. 

“Young Canadians can often face challenges as they transition from school to work, and these have only increased during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion. “Now more than ever, it is important to encourage inclusive access to education, connections and experiences that prepare all Canadians for successful careers. As a leader in innovative work-integrated learning, Venture for Canada will help Canadian students gain the relevant, real-life work experience they need to enter the workforce.”

Venture for Canada’s Intrapreneurship Program is now seeking applications from employers and students.

About Canada’s Innovative Work-Integrated Learning Program

The Innovative Work-Integrated Learning (I-WIL) Initiative is for post-secondary students. It helps them find opportunities related to their studies. I-WIL focuses on short and intensive activities that use technology.

About Venture for Canada

Venture for Canada is a national charity that fosters entrepreneurial skills and mindset in young Canadians. To be entrepreneurial is to act upon opportunities to create value for others.

We recruit, train, and support young people to work for innovative Canadian small businesses and startups. Through our programs, participants develop the network, knowledge, and entrepreneurial skills to have more impactful careers.

Media contact: Erica Ormiston – Marketing Lead – Venture for Canada – 902-220-7554 –