Royals Roads to help entrepreneurs at downtown Victoria office

Royal Roads University is putting out the welcome mat at a new downtown Victoria office set up to give a boost to local entrepreneurs.

Director Geoff Archer said Wednesday that the message from the university’s Eric C. Douglass Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies is: “Come and interact with us.”

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“What we are trying to do is engage with you in a way that is win-win for our students and for small-business owners in the Victoria area.”

The centre has moved into Fort Tectoria, 777 Fort St., owned by the Victoria Advanced Technology Council. Fort Tectoria is a hothouse for innovation, serving as the base for Accelerate Victoria and the high-tech sector in the city’s core.

Set up in 2007 with a $1.6-million endowment, the Douglass centre’s mandate is to engage with the community in entrepreneurship. But there is “very little awareness” of its existence, Archer said.

He figures one reason for the centre’s low profile is the fact that it does not have a physical office or space at Royal Roads. “By moving downtown, we are flipping that switch.”

Possibilities include entrepreneurship students developing business plans for local firms, he said.

The head of a local company might have an idea for a new concept, or need to raise money from a bank or the creation of a more professional organization. An entrepreneur might have a new business in mind, or want to expand into a new market.

“What they would like to take advantage of is the students’ need for a very practical project upon which they can demonstrate that they’ve been paying attention during their time at Royal Roads and they can synthesize all the aspects of their education,” Archer said.

Businesses also can receive advice from Royal Roads faculty, who specialize in a wide range of sectors, he said.

Further, the centre is available for Royal Roads graduates who would like a professional office space to use when meeting clients, Archer said.

One example of a creative Royal Roads entrepreneurship student is Canadian Olympian skier Brad Spence, who is showcasing his Helmets for Heroes program to help raise money to battle severe illnesses facing children.

The venture sees youngsters work with athletes to create a helmet design. Canadian cyclist Monique Sullivan, now participating at the Pan American Games, is wearing a helmet designed in collaboration with Joel Jamieson, 16, who received a kidney transplant last year.

Entrepreneurs seeking an appointment with Archer to look at ways they can be helped are invited to send an email to entrepreneurship@royalroads.ca.

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