Thursday, 17 March 2022 10:18

Kemptville Campus Receives Funding for a Bilingual Agri-food Youth Entrepreneurship Program

The Kemptville Campus Education and Community Centre has been awarded funding by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) through the Rural Economic Development (RED) program to support a bilingual pilot program in Agri-Food Youth Entrepreneurship. The program will be delivered in partnership with the four school boards operating on campus:

  • Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est (CECCE) – lead partner
  • Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB)
  • Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario (CDSBEO)
  • Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario (CEPEO)

In the pilot year, 20 young people will be engaged in the program from the Campus's four partnering school boards and from the wider community. The program will support students to shift their thinking towards the possibility of starting a business, provide support and guidance to help students conceptualize and plan business start-ups, and inspire innovation.

Steve Clark, MPP for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, visited Kemptville Campus to make the announcement. “I’m proud that our government is supporting local economic growth in North Grenville, as our community recovers from the impacts of COVID-19,” said MPP Clark. “The RED program is yet another way we are building a stronger, brighter future for rural communities across eastern Ontario.”

Noted Kemptville Campus’ Executive Director, Liz Sutherland, “Kemptville Campus and the surrounding area have a long history of agri-food production and training. The Agri-Food Youth Entrepreneurship builds on this history and fills a gap by providing local youth with entrepreneurship training to participate in the redevelopment of our region’s strong agri-food industry. We are thrilled to be working with our four school board partners to foster new businesses in the agri-food industry.”

North Grenville Mayor Nancy Peckford noted, “We are pleased to see this investment by the Government of Ontario and school board partners in rural youth and the Kemptville Campus.  The Campus is a 626-acre multi-faceted property – owned by the Municipality – and offers tremendous potential for learning in the agricultural trades.  We are facing crucial labour shortages in so many sectors.  Skills building and fostering an entrepreneurship spirit are critical to a thriving economy and community. This program – offered at the Kemptville Campus – will stand out in eastern Ontario for its innovation in the agricultural sector.”

France Goulard, Superintendent of Education for the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre Est, highlighted the expected impact of the pilot program: “We at CECCE, along with the Campus and our other school board and community partners, see youth as important contributors to innovation, local economies, and community resiliency. This program builds on the momentum achieved through our strong local partnerships to support innovation education and training in the region.”

The Agri-food Youth Entrepreneurship Program at Kemptville Campus represents another step towards achieving the Campus Master Plan (also funded by OMAFRA). It also builds on a successful application to the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development - Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) for Level 1 Commercial Vehicle and Equipment training. The OYAP Training Delivery Agent application has brought industry stakeholders and the four regional school boards together on Campus to design and deliver an innovative apprenticeship format for youth.

The Agri-food Youth Entrepreneurship program will begin in September 2022.


  • Kemptville Campus Education and Community Centre is an educational and multi-use facility serving the community of North Grenville and surrounding Area. The Campus includes 630 acres and 17 main buildings, as well as woodlands, cropland, wetland, greenspace, green houses, an agroforestry centre and maple bush, trails, and other buildings - sports facilities, residence, and catering facilities. Campus operations are guided by the pillars of Education & Training, Health & Wellness, and Economic Development, with an overall lens of environmental sustainability.
  • The Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est (CECCE) is the largest Canadian network of French-language schools outside Quebec, with nearly 26,000 students attending 45 elementary schools, 13 secondary schools, a virtual learning academy and a school for adults.
  • Ontario’s Rural Economic Development (RED) program provides cost-share funding to support activities that create strong rural communities in Ontario, and opens doors to rural economic development through:
    • funding assistance to address barriers to economic development, better position rural communities to attract and retain jobs and investment, and enhance economic growth;
    • funding to build community capacity and support for economic development in Ontario’s rural communities;
    • investments in rural communities to help diversify and grow local economies – making economic growth more inclusive so Rural Ontario continues to share in the province’s economic prosperity.

Media Contacts

Nancy Peckford,
Municipality of North Grenville

Liz Sutherland,
Executive Director
Kemptville Campus

France Goulard,
Surintendante de l'éducation
Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est (CECCE)

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