Local accounting and business services firm JMH & Co. has gifted Medicine Hat College $250,000, with the college seeing $50,000 a year over five years.
The gift will be used in two separate ways each year: five scholarships of $2,000 each will be provided to students attending MHC who are interested in entrepreneurship, and $35,000 will be used to provide business grant money to student entrepreneurs at MHC. This funding will provide up to 50 percent of a business start-up fee. Depending on the number of applicants and start-up costs, there may be four or more students who benefit from this grant per year. JMH & Co. is also providing funds to MHC for administrative expenses related to managing these scholarships and grants.
Jacquie Penner, dean of business at MHC, said the JMH & Co. gift will help showcase MHC’s Entrepreneurial Development Centre.
“Medicine Hat and its region are built on the spirit of entrepreneurship,” she said. “Therefore, the most important career or job for our graduates is going to be the one they create for themselves. This donation touches our entire college community as there are students across the spectrum of college programs who have ideas and the spirit of entrepreneurship. This isn’t limited to only one program. All of our students with entrepreneurial dreams can access this funding and our Entrepreneurial Development Centre.”
The Entrepreneurial Development Centre will be the point of contact for the student entrepreneurs, with manager Jon Sookocheff overseeing the students’ development of business plans and learning plans.
“JMH’s donation changes the tone and tenor of the program we have here to support entrepreneurship,” he said. “It makes it that more real. And because the grants require business plans, I’ll be able to impart upon the students the importance of a plan, and the importance of paying attention to the financial needs of your business.”
Both Sookocheff and Ryan Dorton, partner at JMH & Co., agree that students will benefit from the close relationship of the organizations. A mentorship component is included in the grant funding; therefore JMH & Co. staff will work hand-in-hand with the entrepreneurs.
“We honour creativity and plan to apply learning, innovation & technology to achieve collective success with MHC,” Dorton said. “Our investment in this partnership will not only be financial; we will also actively engage our employees in the development of activities and programs that promote both the JMH & MHC mandates.”
Sookocheff adds that the community will also benefit from the partnership.
“MHC and JMH want to contribute to new business start-up activity in the community,” he said. “Students will learn what it means to have an entrepreneurial mindset, identify opportunities and will have the tools they need to go after those opportunities.”
This donation marks one of the largest student award donations to MHC by a local company, and Dorton says JMH & Co. is looking forward to many years of community partnership.
“JMH supports not only philanthropic contributions at a corporate level but at an employee level as well. We realize that the collection of skills of our people and those at MHC will deliver genuine & positive outcomes,” he said. “But the main benefactor is our communities. It is maintaining strong communities that will allow both JMH and MHC to be successful.”
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