The entrepreneurship programs at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Acadia University in Wolfville are receiving grants totaling almost $1.9 million from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and provincial governments.

ACOA, the federal government’s East Coast economic development agency, said in a statement It would provide a grant of $1 million over the next three years to the Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship, or MCE. The government of Newfoundland and Labrador is also contributing $375,000.

In another news release, the agency said it would donate $373,470 to the Acadia Entrepreneurship Centre. The Province of Nova Scotia also provided $100,000 towards the LaunchBox, the entrepreneurship “sandbox” at Acadia University.

ACOA is making both donations through the government’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program.

“Ensuring Canadians have the chance to explore their ideas, build career skills, gain invaluable experience and forge the connections that help them create great jobs is so important,” Navdeep Bains, the minister responsible for ACOA, said in a statement. “By working with top academic institutions across Canada, our government is not just investing in Canadian innovation and business development, we are investing in our future.”

The MCE, established in 2017, provides students with access to basic entrepreneurship training and startup funding, while providing guidance, support and opportunities to engage with the business community. Over the next three years, the MCE will work to foster new student startups through workshops and events, mentorship, pitch competitions, entrepreneurial work terms and internships.

It also oversees the Woodward Cup, which each year awards about $35,000 to early-stage companies founded by MUN students.

“We’re thankful that the federal and provincial governments recognize the importance of the Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship as a key player in Newfoundland and Labrador’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, and we look forward to continuing to play a role in developing entrepreneurs who will contribute to the economic and social development of our province and our country,” said Gary Kachanoski, Memorial University President and Vice-Chancellor.

The AEC oversees the LaunchBox, which supports students’ entrepreneurial pursuits by providing programming, events, networking, work space, and the Business Innovation Lab. It also manages the Rural Innovation Centre, which is involved in several programs and partnerships for rural innovators.

The AEC is undertaking two pilot projects this year: a partnership to attract youth and entrepreneurs into computer science, digital creativity and technology; and two five-day workshops for 10 entrepreneurial teams to test prototype designs and find market solutions.

“Over the last 30 years, we’ve helped support and counsel entrepreneurs and business people to launch ideas and businesses in the Annapolis Valley and in South West Nova,” said AEC Chair Craig Collins. “With this increase in our core funding, we’re able to increase our support, broaden our reach into the community and connect people with the tools, skills and support they need to help strengthen the innovation ecosystem in rural Nova Scotia.”

Disclosure: ACOA is a client of Entrevestor.