Noreen Hoskins is the director of eHUB, the entrepreneurship centre at the University of Alberta. Read on to learn about how eHUB promotes a culture of entrepreneurship on campus.
Sebastien Hammacher (SH): Could you tell us a little bit about eHub?
Noreen Hoskins (NH): eHUB is the entrepreneurship centre at the University of Alberta. The broad mandate of eHUB is to promote a culture of entrepreneurship at the U of A. On a practical level, eHUB provides resources in the form of expertise, coaching and seed funding to help students from all departments and faculties transform ideas into projects, initiatives and ventures.
SH: What was your background before coming to the University of Alberta?
NH: I have twenty-plus years of experience in small business in the following sectors: technology, construction, professional services, value-added food manufacturing, international education, economic development, fitness and the financial sector. I have helped a variety of SMEs: I helped seed-stage teams, mature businesses and everything in between. My expertise lies in analyzing risks and opportunities in order to optimize business performance.
I owned and operated a boutique-marketing firm for six years in Victoria, BC and consulted for and invested in a number of small businesses in Western Canada. During my time as a University instructor and facilitator, I have leveraged my experience in academic settings.
As well, I have more than twelve years of direct experience in entrepreneurial training and development. I served as an associate faculty member at Royal Roads University for the BCom program for three years and as Manager, Entrepreneur Development at TEC Edmonton for four years. In my current role as Director of eHUB, I support interdisciplinary co-founding teams at the University of Alberta.
SH: What’s the best part about your role?
NH: The best part of my role is hearing new and interesting ideas from students who are keen on making the world a better place. Most of all, I enjoy watching student teams grow as creative problem-solvers, peer-mentors and leaders. Entrepreneurship is a team sport – the best results come from people working together to create something innovative.
SH: What advice would you give to incoming MBA students who would like to become entrepreneurs after they graduate?
NH: Whether you have an idea you’re passionate about or if you’re interested in being part of a dynamic community so you can explore entrepreneurship, you are welcome at eHUB. Joining in on the activity at eHUB is guaranteed to enhance your academic experience and contribute to your success as an entrepreneur.
SH: What’s your favourite quote?
NH: “Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. That can be your greatest strength and ensure that you do things differently from everyone else,” — Sarah Blakely, Founder of Spanx.
Interview conducted by Sebastien Hammacher.