International delegation tours college

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Reps of 29 countries learn how female entrepreneurship is encouraged at Olds College

Olds College officials and students got a chance during International Women’s Day to show politicians and diplomats from across the globe how the college teaches and incubates entrepreneurship, especially to female students.

They hosted the Diplomatic Outreach Mission to Alberta delegation on March 9.

It featured ambassadors, high commissioners and senior representatives from 29 different countries throughout the world.

The purpose of the visit was to highlight female entrepreneurs in an effort to advance women’s entrepreneurship internationally and to showcase future opportunities for female entrepreneurs.

The delegation was welcomed by Olds College president Tom Thompson and acting vice-president of advancement Tanya McDonald, who explained how the college fosters entrepreneurship and innovation on campus and in the classroom.

Delegates then toured the Olds College Centre for Innovation (OCCI) and the Olds College Learning Enterprises: the Olds College Teaching Brewery and the National Meat Training Centre.

Several times delegates got to hear from students themselves.

For example, they met second-year brewmaster and brewery operations management student Karen Cheshire, who presented on her specially crafted beer, Little Sure Shot, which was created to honour International Women’s Day.

The delegation also received a series of presentations by OCCI research Technician Ruth Elvestad and research scientists Katie Dodson and Paul Tiege.

At the National Meat Training Centre, production assistant Shelley Dumais and students Meg Kneller, Holly MacGregor, and Megan Shuhyta gave a tour and presentation on the program and facility.

McDonald says the tour was a great experience.

“In the National Meat Training Centre we had three students who were really able to speak from their heart and say why is it that they’ve chosen to be a butcher and to enter what was typically or conventionally known as a very male-dominated field.

“Why would they choose that and why do they want to start their own businesses? And you know, where is their passion? So they were able to share those things with the group and it was just a really great way to celebrate International Women’s Day.”

“We were very pleased to talk to them about our entrepreneurship app which is a graduation requirement for our students where they have a gameified curriculum,” McDonald says.

“They are able to learn about entrepreneurship while they’re playing a lemonade stand game. It’s called Spirit of Entrepreneurship – on an iPad. As you know, we’re an Apple-distinguished campus, so we’ve got that element.

“We also embed entrepreneurship through all of our business programming, so many of our business students work with external companies as well, so there’s certainly an entrepreneurial element there.”

College officials didn’t have a whole lot of time to prepare for the visit. McDonald says they were only asked about a month ago by provincial officials if they could host the tour.

Mayor Judy Dahl pointed out the college hosted a visit from high commissioners about 10 years ago.

“We hope that it won’t be another 10 years before they come to visit us again,” McDonald says. “And we certainly hope that they gain some value in the presentations that were made.”

dcollie@olds.greatwest.ca

“In the National Meat Training Centre we had three students who were really able to speak from their heart and say why is it that they’ve chosen to be a butcher and to enter what was typically or conventionally known as a very male-dominated field.”TANYA MCDONALDACTING VICE-PRESIDENT OF ADVANCEMENT OLDS COLLEGE

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Doug Collie

Doug Collie joined the Olds Albertan in 2014 as editor. He covers municipal politics, news, community events, arts and entertainment and sports happening in and around Bowden and Olds.