The Toronto Blue Jays are taking Canada by storm right now. But who will be our leaders of the future off the pitch?
Perhaps, the hundreds of teens who participated in SHAD this summer? Some of their latest innovations will be showcased this week at the SHAD – John Dobson Entrepreneurship Cup.
Named after a man whose success as an investor was extraordinary, John Dobson was one of the great untold Canadian stories. He was a philanthropist who was passionate about youth and entrepreneurship. He helped mentor many young people over the years and supported groundbreaking programs such as SHAD because of the importance he saw SHAD playing in Canada’s future.
This week we get a glimpse of what John Dobson had in mind.
Every year, SHAD poses a challenge to the 650 or so high school students who are fortunate enough to win one of the coveted scholarships to attend one of the 12, and soon to be 13, SHAD host universities for the month in July.
Year after year, I hear SHAD Fellows talk about how transformative this month is for them and in their careers.
In 2015, the theme was all about play. With Canadians spending so much time on their computers and phones, with highly structured activities and concerns about perceived risks outside the home, the students were challenged to come up with original products and services that would encourage Canadians to play outside.
The students went to work on their original ideas, developed business plans and prototypes.
Award nominees include an interactive audio book that encourages outdoor play and imagination, a portable device that allows parents to stay in contact with their children while they play outside, several apps for smartphones including one that would integrate the technology into play – where the phone is turned into the device to kick-start a fun game of laser tag –, as well as a modular pod that dispenses sports equipment for free, 24 hours a day in public parks.
The overall winner and six other awards will be announced at the Cup on Thursday evening in Waterloo. If you can’t be there, you can watch a webcast.
This is an exciting time for SHAD. As I mentioned earlier, we are ecstatic to see our 13th host university come on board in 2016 with Western University joining SHAD.
In 2015, we had more student applications than ever before. (And don’t forget the application deadline for next summer is November 30, 2015 and it doesn’t cost anything to apply.)
SHAD begins as a summer program but that’s only just the start.
We are building the SHAD Fellow network as we continue to grow as Canada’s leading network for innovators, entrepreneurs and business leaders. We are helping SHAD Fellows remain connected for life. In the months to come, we will share ways alumni are helping other alumni as mentors, business partners, and advisors. And we’ll tell you how you can get more involved. More details coming soon.
But as I say, we can’t stop there.
As we have seen with the Blue Jays, it takes years of work and a major investment to really bring about change and to be a world leader.
Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes have their Own the Podium program investing in our best athletes to help them shine on the world stage.
SHAD is our “Own the Podium” for some of this country’s best and brightest minds. SHAD helps cultivate diamonds in the rough and shapes them to become Canada’s next leaders. As John Dobson saw, it’s an investment we can’t afford not to make.