National Bank CEO Louis Vachon (pictured) paid a visit to McGill University on Monday morning to announce that the National Bank of Canada is making a $4 million contribution to the university’s Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship over the next 10 years. It is the largest corporate gift the university has ever received from a financial institution. This announcement builds on the National Bank’s long standing support of the Dobson Cup.
The Dobson Centre is one of Montreal’s best known institutions for fostering entrepreneurship, supporting students, professors and researchers from faculties as diverse as music, medicine and agriculture at McGill University. Over the years, entrepreneurs accepted into the Dobson Centre have created more than 150 businesses leading to over 1,300 new jobs and $200 million in investment.
Vachon told the crowd of nearly 100 people on hand for the announcement that the National Bank has spent its entire 160 year history supporting small and medium business in Quebec, a role they are pleased to continue. “We support all university incubators and accelerators in Quebec” Vachon told the audience, explaining the importance of these institutions for the cities in which they reside. “Cities use their educational institutions to redefine and reposition their economies. We are blessed in Montreal, we have four great universities. Montreal is now the #8 city in terms of IT jobs, ahead of Boston… and this is why we are so keen to support university accelerators”.
An additional $1.25 million of funding for the Dobson Centre was also announced. This time is was McGill University itself that pledged this funding, also over a period of 5 years. Thus bringing to the total funding announced on Monday to $5.25 million.
“This is a real game changer for the Dobson Centre, and more importantly for entrepreneurs” said Robert Macklaski, Director of the Dobson Centre at McGill University, who went on to explain how the funds will be used. “We can inspire more entrepreneurs, we can train them better and we can develop them better. We look forward to serving all of the faculties here and furthering entrepreneurship at McGill”.