New Minor in Innovation gives students a head start on becoming successful entrepreneurs

Ciara McCann, Social Media & Digital Content Coordinator, Faculty of Engineering | Hamilton | July 30, 2018

“We need to give these students the entrepreneurial skills and knowledge to take the right steps and risks to develop their ideas and build successful businesses,” says Sue McCracken, Associate Dean, Academic, DeGroote School of Business. DeGroote is a partner in McMaster’s new Minor in Innovation, along with the Faculty of Engineering and the Forge. 


Beginning in September, a new Minor in Innovation will be available to all McMaster University students. It’s designed to give students the tools they need to succeed in today’s fast-paced, innovation-driven marketplace.

Offered jointly through the Faculty of Engineering and the DeGroote School of Business, in partnership with the Forge, McMaster’s startup incubator, the minor was conceived to help students become successful entrepreneurs or to think like one.

It will also serve to enhance intrapreneurship, which is the ability to innovate within organizations.

“Through the Minor in Innovation, students will learn how to transform their ideas into startups,” says Ishwar Puri, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering.

“They will also learn how to contribute as high-value employees within companies, government agencies and other organizations, and develop innovative strategies to transform and better their communities.”

The program will roll out over the next three years, starting with two courses in the 2018-2019 academic year.

Students will learn the fundamentals of entrepreneurship through a series of guest lectures from prominent business owners and how to develop, prototype, test and market ideas.

They will also have an opportunity to work at an existing startup company or team up with fellow students to develop a new business venture.

“The future of work is changing, and many of our students will be starting their own businesses with their own innovative ideas,” says Sue McCracken, Associate Dean, Academic, DeGroote School of Business.

“We need to give these students the entrepreneurial skills and knowledge to take the right steps and risks to develop their ideas and build successful businesses.”

Mitch Wilson, MBA ’17, knows what it takes to launch a successful startup. He founded Mariner Endosurgery Inc., a medical device company based in Hamilton that specializes in soft tissue surgical navigation for laparoscopic surgery.

“Most net job creation comes from small businesses, which includes startups,” he says.

“Hamilton is recognized as Canada’s most diverse economy. There are plenty of opportunities for hungry students willing to put in the work in launching new innovative businesses, and the curriculum for this minor should help formalize the processes and thinking required to guide an idea from a seed to a maturing company.”

Wilson is one of many entrepreneurs who had his start with the Forge.

Andrew Aslanidis, a third-year Mechanical Engineering student, worked as a student executive for the Forge in 2017. He is excited to see the Minor in Innovation is available to all students.

“Entrepreneurship is often perceived as something for engineering and commerce students, which scares away many potential founders who are not in those programs,” he explains.

“When I was with the Forge last year, we worked really hard to counter that assumption and attract students from all of the faculties. The diversity of students within this program will create the ideal environment for innovation.”

Monika Yazdanian, Director, the Forge, believes the program will foster a sense of community among budding innovators.

“Students will take a deep dive into the startup world, and most importantly, they will be part of a community of entrepreneurial-minded people who will be able to support them through the journey.”

Learn more about the Minor in Innovation.

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