This post was first published on STEM Education website and has been re-published with the author's permission.
I have always maintained that every young Canadian has the capacity to be a leader. It is not just an optimistic approach, it is a necessary one. Our country’s youth will be at the helm of the strong economy we strive for.
We can’t talk about social, economic or environmental prosperity or a strong culture of innovation without talking about how we invest in our youth — all youth.We need to equip them with the skills, knowledge and confidence they will require to take the wheel in driving Canada’s ability to compete globally.
I have seen how STEM educational experiences can transform the lives of young Canadians. These experiences get youth -— no matter their location, gender or socio-economic situation -— excited about science and technology. STEM hands them a foundation from which they can prepare for future opportunities.
We now know we need to go further.
STEM alone without an entrepreneurial mindset and the understanding of how to apply the innovative process to science knowledge will shortchange our country’s capacity to fully reach its social and economic potential. To truly accelerate Canada’s competitiveness in a sustainable way, we need to cultivate a generation of scientists and engineers who are business savvy — who possess entrepreneurial instinct and insight, who can understand and can apply the innovative process.
This is why Actua is fusing STEM with entrepreneurship, enhancing our programming to evolve to answer that call. One just doesn’t make sense without the other.
We don’t know today about the specifics of the jobs our youth are facing tomorrow. We are aware that the economy is evolving to place more and more value on scientific knowledge and critical thinking skills. Furthermore, several of our world’s most crucial social and environmental problems can be solved by STEM professionals who can recognize and act on an opportunity like a true entrepreneur. Adding an entrepreneurial layer to STEM educational experiences will help youth apply STEM to solve real-world problems, to think creatively within the context of the world around them and to benefit their community.
The fusion of STEM with the entrepreneurial spirit will allow young Canadians to be the leaders they have the capacity to be.
Annually, Actua engages over 225,000 youth with STEM enrichment experiences in as many as 500 communities in every province and territory. Our vast geographic footprint, combined with our commitment to engaging every young Canadian especially those who are under-represented, has made us a critical contributor to future economic prosperity.