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Associated Alumni

RBC invests $1 million in entrepreneurship

(Chris Diduch, dean of engineering; Roger Howard, regional president Atlantic provinces for RBC, and Dhirendra Shukla, Dr. J. Herbert Smith ACOA chair in Technology Management and Entrepreneurship at UNB, celebrate RBC’s gift of $1 million.)

Students at UNB who want to change the world now have more opportunities to develop their entrepreneurship skills thanks to RBC, Canada’s largest bank.

On Oct. 13, RBC announced that it is making a leadership gift of $1 million to support innovation and entrepreneurship education at UNB’s Dr. J. Herbert Smith Centre for Technology Management & Entrepreneurship (TME). The gift is a contribution to UNB’s It Begins Here fundraising campaign, which has a total goal of $110 million.

The RBC Innovative Action Fund will support a variety of experiential activities associated with the TME program, creating new opportunities for students as well as members of the community. These activities will include:

  • RBC idea, student pitch and product design competitions;
  • a RBC lunch and learn guest lecture series that brings business people with national and international experience into our classrooms;
  • a RBC Technology Commercialization Program Fund to help students move from the idea stage to working models of their products;
  • a RBC Export Marketing Fund that will enable the proponents of well-developed start-up businesses to explore new markets outside of New Brunswick;
  • a RBC Mentor-in-Residence program with national-class mentors;
  • an annual leadership conference, focusing on business leadership in an era of global change; and
  • the creation of the RBC Innovative Action Room, a new space for meetings, consultations and mentorship events.



Entrepreneur and UNB alumna Kayley Reed speaks at RBC’s gift announcement.

The announcement was applauded by Kayley Reed (BPhil'14), a TME alumna and co-founder of conscious clothing company Wear Your Label.

“Canada’s largest financial institution is investing in youth entrepreneurship. How great is that?” says Reed. “UNB’s TME program was integral to getting our company to where it is today. Now, the RBC Innovative Action Fund will create more opportunities for students at UNB to discover their potential as entrepreneurs and meet today’s challenges with innovation.”

“The University of New Brunswick is a place where meaningful experiential education changes lives,” says Roger Howard, RBC’s regional president, Atlantic provinces. “We wanted our contributions to focus on innovation, helping students connect their vision with community needs and develop the skills to turn bright ideas into successful new ventures.”

“RBC has a long and distinguished history of supporting innovation at UNB. I am honoured to accept this gift, says Eddy Campbell, UNB president and vice-chancellor. “UNB has been rated best in the nation for teaching entrepreneurship. This investment will build on the success of our programs and create new opportunities for our students to turn their ideas into products and services.”

Dhirendra Shukla, chair of the Dr. J. Herbert Smith Centre for Technology Management & Entrepreneurship, says that UNB is changing the conversation about business development in New Brunswick for a generation of new entrepreneurs, and adds that, “this gift from RBC will ensure that our programs can continue to develop, expanding UNB’s role as a regional and national leader in entrepreneurship education.”

Back to Alumni News Direct - January 2017