Renowned business executive, technology entrepreneur and philanthropist Mike Lazaridis pledged $20-million to Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo ON to create a management institute that will enhance business programs and support the growth of a globally competitive technology industry in Canada. The Ontario government is providing $15-million to support the initiative, as announced earlier this spring.
Together, the $35-million investment in Laurier represents a shared vision in which Lazaridis, the province and the university are working together to strengthen Ontario’s high-tech industry by improving the managerial leadership of Canadian technology enterprises.
“This is a truly transformational investment,” said Max Blouw, president and vice-chancellor of Wilfrid Laurier University. “It leverages the tremendous expertise that Laurier already possesses in business, economics and entrepreneurship, and it will enhance the competitiveness of Canada’s technology sector. We are extremely grateful to Mike Lazaridis and to the Ontario government for their generous investment in our university, in our students and in the broader community.”
Micheál Kelly, dean of the Laurier School of Business and Economics, said the Lazaridis Institute for the Management of Technology Enterprises will play an important role in Canadian business education and research.
“The investment by Mike Lazaridis and the Province of Ontario in the creation of this institute takes advantage of Laurier’s stellar track record for business education and research and will have significant impact on the ability of technology companies — in the Waterloo Region and across Canada — to grow and compete internationally,” added Kelly. “This will be a world-class institute designed to ensure that Canadian technology companies have the management talent and knowledge to compete in global markets.”
Lazaridis said Laurier has a well-earned reputation for developing highly skilled business leaders. With this historic gift, the university can play an even greater role in producing world-class managerial talent for the provincial and Canadian technology industry — a vision shared by Lazaridis, the province and Laurier.
“This investment in the Laurier School of Business and Economics builds on the world-class research institutions that have been established in Waterloo and the deep culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in this region,” said Lazaridis. “This institute will play a fundamental role in developing business managers with the tools necessary to build globally competitive high-technology businesses including those in the Quantum Valley. We want to thank the Province of Ontario for their continuing vision and support for technology entrepreneurship in this province.”
Mike Lazaridis is internationally known for creating the groundbreaking BlackBerry smart-phone, building BlackBerry into an $18-billion global business, and reshaping the global mobile communications industry. He is currently a founding partner in Quantum Valley Investments, a Waterloo-based fund that focuses on the commercialization of breakthrough technologies in quantum information science and which seeks to support Waterloo Region’s growing reputation as the ‘Quantum Valley.’
The new institute will be housed in the $103-million, state-of-the-art Global Innovation Exchange (GIE), which is nearing completion on University Avenue in Waterloo and is funded in part with a previous $72.6-million investment from the province. The GIE building will also house Laurier’s business and economics programs and its mathematics department. The technology in the GIE will surpass that of any other teaching facility in Canada. The innovative design of the building will enhance the synergies between the Lazaridis Institute and Laurier’s business and applied and financial math programs, and will serve as an iconic representation of the leadership role that Laurier plays in Waterloo’s technology industry and in Canadian business.
The Laurier School of Business and Economics (SBE) is an innovative leader in immersive learning and leading-edge research. Laurier SBE students learn from day one to work in teams tackling real-world problems. Through Canada’s largest business co-op program they are immersed in the environments they will experience when they graduate. Laurier students learn to think critically and think for themselves — so they are able to adapt to a global world of ever-growing complexity.
Laurier alumni can be found as CEOs of Canada’s leading companies including Bank of Montreal, Toyota Canada, Procter & Gamble, AIG Insurance, Kellogg’s Canada and many more. As well, more than 1,800 SBE alumni have founded their own companies (based on 2006 data). Located in the heart of the renowned Waterloo Region technology hub, the Laurier School of Business and Economics has a strong track record for developing successful tech-industry leaders. At least 40 SBE alumni in Waterloo Region are presidents and/or CEOs of technology companies; and 120 SBE alumni in Waterloo Region work at senior-level (Director, Executive Director, VP or higher) positions in technology companies.
Wilfrid Laurier University is in the midst of a landmark fundraising campaign. The Building Canada’s Best Business School campaign aims to raise $55 million for the School of Business and Economics. The campaign is raising funds to support student scholarships, help retain and recruit top faculty, complete the new and innovative $103-million GIE building, and strengthen Laurier’s unique, pioneering programming. In addition to the Lazaridis gift, other donations have come from TD Bank Group, Bill Webb and Agnes Wong, Michael and Hennie Stork, the McGrath family, the Marsland family,Bank of Montreal, and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada.