Archived — Minister Goodyear Celebrates Success of "Big Ideas" Science and Innovation Camps for Youth

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For immediate release
September 27, 2013

Toronto, Ontario — The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), was in Toronto today to celebrate the success of a series of summer camps designed to give youth a better understanding of what's involved in bridging the gap between innovation and business.

The Big Ideas: Creativity, Design and Innovation Camp engaged 450 youth across southern Ontario this past summer. The camps were developed and run by the Institute for Competitiveness and Prosperity (ICP), the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, and Actua, a national charity that engages youth in science, technology, engineering, and math education—also known as the STEM fields of study.

In February 2013, Minister Goodyear announced an investment of up to $995,000 in the ICP under FedDev Ontario's Youth STEM initiative. A part of this investment helped make the Big Ideas Camps a reality.

"Our investment in this project is an investment in innovation, youth and the future prosperity of our region," said Minister Goodyear. "Our Government is pleased to support projects that provide our young people with the tools they need to reach their potential—in innovation, in research, in business, and in STEM careers. They will ensure southern Ontario remains competitive and prosperous for years to come."

The Big Ideas Camp program provided youth with an in-depth experience in innovation and robust understanding of the business of science and engineering. Participants identified a need, generated ideas to meet that need, and created prototypes. They also learned how to build a business strategy. The curriculum followed the core elements of the innovation process currently taught at the Rotman School of Management.

"It started as a question. We wanted to know if a young audience, as young as 10, could be taught the core elements of innovation," notes Prof. Roger Martin, former Dean of Rotman School of Management and current Chair of the Institute of Competitiveness and Prosperity. "With funding from FedDev Ontario, we were able to explore that question through the Big Ideas Camp. After it was up and running, and we could see that these kids were fully engaged, we knew that, yes, of course they could. It can be transformational."

Since its launch in 2009, FedDev Ontario has made significant progress in creating jobs and growing the economy. However, southern Ontario remains under considerable pressure, and more than ever our businesses and workers need to be more innovative and productive, and must strive to access new markets.

Economic Action Plan 2013 demonstrated continued commitment to workers, families and communities in southern Ontario with the renewal of FedDev Ontario.

Economic Action Plan 2013 provided $920 million for FedDev Ontario over five years, including $200 million for a new Advanced Manufacturing Fund in Ontario, starting on April 1, 2014.

FedDev Ontario will also continue to promote business development, job creation and self-reliant communities in rural eastern Ontario by extending the Eastern Ontario Development Program for five years.

With renewed funding, FedDev Ontario will continue to act as a champion for the region by supporting the development of a prosperous and globally competitive southern Ontario economy.

Details of new programming will be posted on the Agency's website at www.FedDevOntario.gc.ca as they become available, so stakeholders are encouraged to check back regularly.

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For more information, contact:

Stephanie Thomas
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Gary Goodyear
613-943-7599

Media Relations
FedDev Ontario
416-954-6652

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