July 14, 2023
UCalgary's entrepreneurial achievements celebrated at global conference
The University of Calgary was recognized this June as a Triple E Awards finalist for Entrepreneurial University of the Year by the Accreditation Council for Entrepreneurial & Engaged Universities (ACEEU).
The Triple E Awards are a global recognition of efforts toward the quest for entrepreneurship and engagement in higher education. Implemented regionally, the Triple E Awards aim to foster change in universities and to emphasize their role in their communities and ecosystems.
UCalgary was recognized as a finalist for its commitment to entrepreneurial thinking and its robust innovation ecosystem, which supports not only students, faculty, staff, and postdocs, but also the larger community.
“Entrepreneurial thinking will help us to move knowledge to impact,” says Dr. William Ghali, vice-president (research). “The university being recognized by the ACEEU showcases UCalgary’s initiatives in entrepreneurship and innovation.”
The Triple E Awards acknowledge regional differences regarding the development of entrepreneurship and engagement initiatives from around the world. UCalgary was a finalist in the America’s Awards category along with Northeastern University (Boston, USA), Iowa State University (Ames, USA), Uniminuto (Bogotá, Colombia) and Universidad del Desarrollo (Concepción, Chile).
“We had the opportunity to present to and connect with other universities from around the world,” says Adam Cragg, acting executive director, Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking. “Our innovation ecosystem is world class. The continued investment and development in our facilities and programs will strengthen the university in the years to come and make us a destination for aspiring innovators.”
Two UCalgary instructors were also recognized as finalists by ACEEU for their individual leadership contributions to the university’s entrepreneurial profile.
Dr. Ghada Nafie, PhD – finalist and Peoples’ Choice category winner: Female Entrepreneurial Leader of the Year
Nafie is an instructor of engineering entrepreneurship in the Schulich School of Engineering, and the CEO and co-founder of Litus, an environmentally responsible and efficient lithium extraction technology. The technology uses nanoparticles to capture lithium in saltwater solutions, being able to supply this much-needed resource for batteries.
As an entrepreneur, mentor, teacher, and woman in engineering, she won the People’s Choice award for her category. “I’m excited about the work I am doing with Litus, as well as with my work with young students and researchers at the University of Calgary,” says Nafie. "It’s so important to have a supportive environment such as the one we have at the Schulich School of Engineering and the University of Calgary."
“Winning the Peoples’ Choice award is truly meaningful. Entrepreneurship, engagement, and education are the fields I am passionate about. Securing recognition from the community that what I am doing resonates with them, that I am making an impact, gives me all the motivation I need to continue pursuing my passions!"
Houston Peschl – finalist: Male Entrepreneurial Leader of the Year (Education Champion)
Peschl is an instructor of entrepreneurship, innovation, and sustainable development and an associate professor (teaching) in the Haskayne School of Business. His ENTI 317 - Entrepreneurial Thinking course is mandatory for second-year Bachelor of Commerce students. This course, based on over seven years of student collaboration, has been developed into an open educational resource in entrepreneurial thinking that is being used globally by not for profits and academic institutions. Peschl is now designing a new entrepreneurship course for first-year students.
"The conference allowed me to connect from other passionate entrepreneurial educators from around the globe. I made a few fantastic connections in Germany and Portugal that are going to hopefully blossom into two separate collaborative opportunities for our students and communities,” says Peschl.
“I also appreciated hearing UCalgary present on what we are doing as an institution and feel that we are pursuing big bold ideas and are truly leaders in supporting entrepreneurial thinking."
UCalgary is a leading destination for researchers to take action and move ideas toward implementation and community impact. The Innovation@UCalgary ecosystem supports these efforts through a culture of entrepreneurial thinking and determination.