The Schulich School of Business at York University yesterday launched the Centre for Global Enterprise, a one-stop consulting, research and teaching hub that will actively help Canada’s small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) to compete internationally.
Announced during Global Entrepreneurship Week, the centre for Global Enterprise’s mission is to motivate, enable and assist SMEs to build on their domestic success by taking advantage of global opportunities. The centre will also serve as a resource centre for all Canadian companies that aspire to expand internationally.
Canada’s estimated 1.4 million SMEs, defined by Industry Canada as companies that employ fewer than 500 people with revenues of less than $50 million, make up about 98 per cent of the nation’s businesses and employ almost 60 per cent of the country’s workforce. Despite this, only about eight per cent of SMEs have developed significant export markets, a statistic that needs to change to ensure Canada’s continued economic prosperity, according to Lorna Wright, who holds the EDC Professorship in International Business at Schulich and is the inaugural director of the Centre for Global Enterprise.
“The Centre for Global Enterprise at Schulich has a unique combination of world-leading expertise and research, a truly global reach, and an ability to link well-trained, internationally savvy students and graduates with companies that will help SMEs and entrepreneurs access international opportunities,” said Wright. “Working collaboratively and partnering with others, as researchers and business coaches and mentors, we will seek out new and innovative solutions to help Canadian SMEs expand successfully beyond our national borders.”
Recognizing Canada’s need for such a centre, a number of organizations have become founding members. The Certified General Accountants of Ontario (CGA Ontario), Export Development Canada (EDC), RBC and Scotiabank are all actively working with the school to support many of the centre’s initial activities.
Dezsö J. Horváth
“Schulich has a long and successful track record in outreach activities with the global business community and in teaching and research in the fields of international business and entrepreneurship,” said Dezsö J. Horváth, dean of the Schulich School of Business. “Through the Centre for Global Enterprise, we will help spur the growth of hundreds of small to medium-sized companies – companies that will be Canada’s future global champions in the years ahead.”
With several associated research chairs, professorships and academic positions – including the CGA Ontario Chair in International Entrepreneurship and a newly established chair supported by Scotiabank – the Centre will conduct research in Canada and around the globe.
In partnership with RBC, entrepreneurs and students will benefit from the centre, which will bring together teams of Schulich faculty and graduate business students to consult and work with SMEs under the Global Leadership program. Also in partnership with RBC, the centre will host cross-sector workshops and enterprise forums, providing hands-on coaching and training sessions for entrepreneurs.
To enable students to “hit the ground running” when they graduate, the centre will offer the new Certificate in Managing International Trade and Investment that has been made possible through support by EDC, making the business students excellent hires for SMEs preparing to go global. In addition, the centre is working with EDC to develop a National Curriculum in Integrative Trade that will be available to all Canadian universities. The National Curriculum will provide resource materials to augment various business school offerings focused on developing business leaders who can successfully manage international trade, foreign investment and global supply chains. Schulich students will also benefit from student financial aid through the Scotiabank Global Scholars program.
During yesterday’s official launch, Wright moderated a panel discussion on “Harnessing the power of Canada’s SMEs for global success”, featuring Greg Twinney, FCGA – CFO and COO of Kobo Inc., and Alan Ballak, president of Trade Network Canada and a former Trade Commissioner with The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service. Also speaking at the launch was Lisa Raitt, federal Minister of Transport; and Monte Kwinter, chair of the Ontario Investment and Trade Advisory Council and parliamentary assistant to the Ontario Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Employment.
For more information about the Centre for Global Enterprise, visit the Centre for Global Enterprise website.