Venture for Canada Welcomes Its 10th Annual Fellowship Cohort to the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University

Kingston, ON

Venture for Canada is excited to welcome a new cohort of 56 Fellows from across the nation to the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University for an immersive three-week skill and network development experience. As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of our Fellowship Program, this year also marks a decade of partnership with the Smith School of Business, highlighting our shared commitment to empowering tomorrow’s entrepreneurial leaders.

About Venture for Canada’s Fellowship Program

Built in 2013, the Fellowship Program was designed to fill the critical gap in entrepreneurial skill development among young Canadians. By equipping recent post-secondary graduates with entrepreneurial skills and mindsets, alongside a supportive peer community, and practical work experience, the program plays an instrumental role in shaping leaders who are prepared to contribute significantly to Canada’s dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem, driving towards a more prosperous and inclusive future for the nation.

The 2024 Fellows’ year-long journey starts at the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University, where Fellows will spend three weeks in the company of like-minded peers, delving into self-discovery and the intricacies of the startup ecosystem. Here, they’ll unpack big topics like failure and working with ambiguity, network with some of Canada’s brightest minds, challenge conventional business norms, and put it all into action by tackling entrepreneurial problems.

This is just the beginning for the Fellows. As the year-long program unfolds, they will receive tailored coaching throughout their job search, along with dedicated support to secure positions within innovative startups and small businesses across Canada. Once placed, the support doesn’t stop at job placement. Fellows will benefit from ongoing virtual sessions and community engagement opportunities, enabling them to continuously refine their entrepreneurial skills. This sustained development not only increases their value within their new roles but also accelerates their professional advancement within these organizations.

About the 2024 Cohort

This year, our Fellowship Program received a record 1,967 applications, resulting in a highly competitive acceptance rate of 2.85%. The new cohort of 56 fellows showcases a rich variety of academic disciplines from diverse post-secondary institutions across Canada.

Academic and Geographic Diversity:

  • Academic Backgrounds: Business (29%), Engineering (13%), Computer Science and Biological/Biomedical Sciences (11% each).
  • Geographic Distribution: Ontario (48%), Alberta (18%), British Columbia (16%), Nova Scotia (9%), and Quebec, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan (4%, 4%, and 2% respectively).

This diversity underscores the program’s commitment to fostering entrepreneurial skills across multiple regions and disciplines, making entrepreneurship accessible to all. Travel subsidies, $22,400 of which were distributed this year, have played a crucial role in maintaining the nationwide accessibility of the program to recent graduates. This year, 87.5% of our Fellows are visible minorities, affirming our dedication to creating an entrepreneurial ecosystem that is both diverse and reflective of the rich tapestry of Canadian society.

“We are thrilled to welcome our newest cohort of Fellows, whose diverse backgrounds and experiences will undoubtedly enrich the Canadian entrepreneurial landscape. As we celebrate ten years of the Fellowship Program, this milestone year not only reflects our achievements but also sets the stage for a future where entrepreneurship is accessible to all Canadians”

— Scott Stirrett, CEO of Venture for Canada.

Celebrating a Decade of the Fellowship Program

Over the past decade, Venture for Canada has supported 495 alumni and partnered with 356 startup employers nationwide. Notable alumni include Manuela Barcenas, Head of Marketing at; Zain Kahn, Founder of the renowned Superhuman AI newsletter; Sam Daviau, founder of the mental health startup UpBeing; and Lucia Gallardo, CEO of Emerge, an award-winning lab recognized by MIT Innovators Under 35 and the Global SDG Awards. These alumni highlight the diverse entrepreneurial pathways fostered by the program.

The upcoming Alumni Summit will unite over 120 Fellowship Alumni against the backdrop of the vibrant and beautiful city of Kingston where their journeys first began. The weekend will be marked by intentional networking opportunities, professional growth workshops, and a 10-Year Anniversary Gala, celebrating a decade of connections and contributions within the Venture for Canada community.

Thanks to Our Supporters

We extend our gratitude to our supporters, including RBC Future Launch, TD Ready Commitment, The Donald R. Sobey Foundation, McCall MacBain, the Hunter Family Foundation, the Geoff Smith Foundation, the Smith School of Business and the City of Kingston. Their contributions play a key role in fostering the entrepreneurial skills needed to build a brighter, more inclusive Canada for all.

Media Contact

Jennie Wedd
Manager, Marketing & Partnerships Team
Venture for Canada

Rebecca Scott