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  • Ryerson University’s DMZ Sandbox summer programme will welcome students from the Aga Khan Academies this summer.
    Photo courtesy of Ryerson University
Aga Khan Academies partners with Ryerson University on training for innovation

Canada, 1 March 2018 - The Aga Khan Academies global network of schools and Ryerson University have established a partnership to help develop Academies students as part of the next wave of socially conscious young innovators.

Ryerson is providing 12 fellowships over three years for Academies students and faculty to attend the Ryerson DMZ Sandbox Basecamp summer programme, an intensive six-week programme for young entrepreneurs. The collaboration between the two institutions follows a visit by Mohamed Lachemi, president and vice-chancellor of Ryerson University, to the Aga Khan Academy Hyderabad in 2017.

The Aga Khan Academies are an integrated network of K–12 schools being established as part of the Aga Khan Development Network in 18 locations across Africa, South and Central Asia, and the Middle East, with the aim of developing home-grown ethical leaders. Students are selected based on merit, regardless of socio-economic, cultural or religious background. The first group of students from the Aga Khan Academies in Kenya and India will participate in the Basecamp programme this summer, accompanied by a teacher mentor.

The collaboration between Ryerson and the Academies gives talented students the opportunity to accelerate their learning and hands-on experience with innovation and entrepreneurship at one of Ontario’s premier universities. Through Basecamp, students are mentored to develop, market and accelerate their business ideas. Participants take part in exercises aimed at developing venture ideas and are connected to potential investors, mentors and partners. By the end of the programme, participants have a validated business model ready for launch.

President Lachemi said the Basecamp fellowships provide an opportunity for bright students to “interact with other students, with entrepreneurs but also with a network of mentors around our innovation ecosystem. We give them an opportunity to think out of the box, to be proactive in solving problems that we are facing in society and at the global level. It’s a way for us to push the boundaries and get people to think about how entrepreneurship and innovation can solve problems.”

Graham Ranger, academic director at the Aga Khan Academies, said, “An education at an Aga Khan Academy develops ethical local leaders with a global, pluralistic view. We also aim to nurture the students’ creativity, their entrepreneurship and their design thinking. The Ryerson DMZ Sandbox Basecamp gives opportunities for these young people to hone these skills by learning in a context that is focused on entrepreneurship, with peers who offer different perspectives from their own, as well as enabling them to share their learning and inspire others in the Academies in Hyderabad and Mombasa.”