Entrepreneurship gets $40M boost at U of C

Entrepreneurship at the University of Calgary got a $40 million boost Wednesday courtesy of the Hunter Family Foundation.

The donation will see the creation of the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking, described as “a dedicated space on campus where students and faculty can gain and share knowledge, build networks and turn ideas into practical solutions that can benefit society.”

“Most of the funding will go toward programing and it’s really an investment in the student experience,” said U of C president Elizabeth Cannon.

“This is really about ensuring that Calgary stays resilient, builds diversity and certainly is the city that it is today, long into the future.”

Cannon said the goal is for the hub to benefit all students, not necessarily just those focused on business studies.

“That’s really why it’s here, it’s to create an entrepreneurial culture and it’s to create opportunities,” she said.

“If students have interests, perhaps they’re curious about what entrepreneurial thinking is all about, they have a place to go, they have programs to access, and we can see over time that this will create its own dynamic.”

Derrick Hunter Family Foundation Calgary

Derrick Hunter says the donation is aimed at increasing the entrepreneurial spirit on campus. (Julien Lecacheur/CBC)

The hub is an expansion of sorts on the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, created in 2013 thanks to a $5 million donation from the family, along with nearly $3 million in additional support from Calgary entrepreneurs Keith Brown, Wayne Henuset, Charlie Locke and David Robson.

“Really what we’re doing is taking what we’ve proven works and making it a campus-wide initiative,” said spokesperson Derrick Hunter.

“We want to encourage more students to think in terms of becoming entrepreneurs, whether it’s after they graduate or sometime later. We need to give them some exposure to what it’s like, what are the steps.”

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