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Cultiv8 sandbox is taking off on campus

Posted by Stephanie Rogers on September 24, 2015 in News

By: Casey Spears

You’ve heard the name. You’ve seen the posters. Maybe you even know someone who knows someone who was involved last year, but you’re still left wondering: What is a sandbox, anyway?

We’re glad you asked! Dalhousie’s Faculty of Agriculture sandbox, Cultiv8, and Acadia’s sandbox, launchbox, represent places where students, innovators and industry members can access educational programming, entrepreneurial and management resources and generate new ideas and new businesses. Essentially, a sandbox is a fun environment to play in and make magic happen! By providing opportunities for students to interact and work with members of the agricultural industry, Cultiv8 and launchbox aspire to be a place where ideas grow and industry solutions develop.

Dr. David Gray, Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture and Campus Principal, has worked with other sandboxes throughout his academic career and knows them to be a great vehicle for innovation and nurtures the culture of entrepreneurship.

Last winter, Dr. Gray had this to say about Cultiv8: “Students will be able to engage in Cultiv8 at a number of levels – they can bring forward an idea they might have for a business, come and work alongside someone else in developing an idea or dip in and out of the numerous seminars, talks and support sessions to get a flavour of what it is like to set up and run your own business.”

As Dr. Gray touches on, Cultiv8 and launchbox are incredibly flexible and that’s one of the concepts they aim to provide. The sandboxes are all about sharing ideas and leveraging talents through versatile programming. In the sandbox we want to link budding agricultural entrepreneurs to the vibrant ecosystem that is brewing in our region. For entrepreneurship to flourish in Nova Scotia, the environment must include people with the right skills, attitudes and support systems to ensure the journey from idea to launch. And this is where the Faculty of Agriculture and Acadia’s brilliant students come in!

Our first event this year was Open House. The excitement was evident by the crowd that showed up for Open House September 15. A presentation given by sandbox coordinator Jolene MacEachern brought students up to speed on what Cultiv8 is and what we’re aiming to do this semester on and off campus. Upcoming events such as the sell-off competition between Cultiv8 and launchbox students with Hope Blooms youth were discussed and programs like Cultiv8 Ambassadors were talked about and interest from students was expressed throughout the evening. Door prizes (some awesome Cultiv8 swag) were drawn and a lucky student became the new owner of an iPad mini!

We spoke with Holly Fisher, third year Animal Science student who told us what she’s looking forward to this year: “The guest speakers. It’ll be great hearing other people’s perspectives on entrepreneurship.” When asked what she thinks students can gain from Cultiv8 she said: “Cultiv8 will give students the entrepreneurial skills needed in today’s market and will promote entrepreneurship in our province. The networking potential Cultiv8 has to offer will be a key asset for all members. It’s a great place on campus to explore business ideas in an open, friendly and inspiring setting.”

This year Cultiv8 will be having its weekly meetings in our space in the MacRae Library every Tuesday at 4 p.m. There will be presentations, events and lots of learning opportunities during this time. Also, events and workshops will take place at various times on both the Faculty of Agriculture and Acadia’s campuses. To keep you in the loop, we’re active daily on social media (@Cultiv8Ag on Facebook, Twitter and new to Instagram) and we are continuously updating the events calendar on our website: