Dobson Centre receives $3M gift to bolster entrepreneurship at McGill

As the McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship plans to scale up its programming, it has announced a new $3-million gift from the John Dobson Foundation to help drive innovation and entrepreneurship at McGill University.

The Dobson Centre provides a launching pad for budding entrepreneurs at McGill University. From helping ideas get off the ground to accelerating later-stage startups, the Dobson Centre offers programming and mentorship that has helped shape and create nearly 1,000 startups—with more than 400 still in development.

“The generous support we have received from the John Dobson Foundation will allow the University to continue to lead in the training and development of the next generation of innovative McGill entrepreneurs,” said McGill Principal Suzanne Fortier. “We thank the Foundation for their vision and for helping to bring the Dobson Centre to the next level of success, making it an important force for innovation in Montreal and Quebec.”

This is the Foundation’s largest gift to the Dobson Centre since its founding over three decades ago. The Foundation donated $2 million to fund the McGill X-1 Accelerator program in 2017.

Chairman of the John Dobson Foundation and CEO of Formula Growth, Randy Kelly, remarked: “The Foundation is honoured to continue its commitment to developing outstanding opportunities for startup founders. We are extremely proud to uphold John Dobson’s legacy of supporting and enriching entrepreneurial endeavours at McGill University.

“Entrepreneurs are innovative, nimble and flexible in their relationship to the marketplace and are always firmly customer focused. Successful entrepreneurs experience higher growth rates and create jobs, something that is especially needed these days.

“We consider this gift an investment in Canada’s next generation of creative and innovative business pioneers,” Kelly continued. “As is described in the second edition of John’s biography Up and to the Right, released on the 60th anniversary of Dobson’s founding of Formula Growth, we undoubtedly learned that out of small acorns, large companies grow.”

President of the Foundation and CFO of Formula Growth, Ari Kiriazidis, added: “As a Foundation that is focused on helping Canadians learn about the power of entrepreneurship, we are proud to continue pushing forward John’s vision for an entrepreneurial Canada, and are very excited to meet the up-and-coming great entrepreneurs coming out of the Dobson Centre.”

The remarkable $3-million gift will help the Dobson Centre continue to foster innovation and strengthen the support for students, faculty and community members interested in entrepreneurship. Specifically, the latest gift from the John Dobson Foundation will support the Centre’s full lineup of programming and the creation of a new permanent physical facility on campus.

In thanking the John Dobson Foundation for its gift, McGill Desautels Faculty of Management Dean Isabelle Bajeux-Besnainou says:

“The John Dobson Foundation is a passionate and committed contributor to entrepreneurship and innovation in Canada. Through their extraordinary generosity and philanthropy at this particular time of need, the Foundation will greatly impact the lives of our burgeoning entrepreneurs and help rebuild our nation’s economy.”

Marie Josée Lamothe, Academic Director of the McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship, commented: “The Dobson Centre is proud to be creating partnerships across the McGill community with the mission to support and accelerate emerging innovation and scientific discovery stemming from all faculties through the development of entrepreneurship. We are very thankful for the John Dobson Foundation’s gift in helping us accelerate our momentum.”

The McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship was founded in 1988 by the late John Dobson (BCom’64), a known advocate for free enterprise and entrepreneurship. Since then, the Centre has played a central role in advancing entrepreneurial innovation and discovery at McGill with a highly engaged community of over 10,000 members. Its startups have raised over $770 million to date in funding and created nearly 5,900 new jobs.

The Dobson Centre is set to open a new location on Sherbrooke Street in Montreal where it will house flexible, state-of-the-art collaboration spaces and cutting-edge technologies designed to fuel and ignite the entrepreneurial spirit among all members of the McGill community.

The new centre paired with the landmark gift from the John Dobson Foundation will strengthen the culture of entrepreneurship at McGill University.

About the John Dobson Foundation

In 1986, John Dobson established The John Dobson Foundation to help educate the public with respect to investing, the free enterprise system and entrepreneurial activities in Canada. One of the first activities of the Foundation was the creation of the Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship at McGill University in 1989. The Dobson Foundation has supported entrepreneurial development at more than a dozen other Canadian universities, as well as numerous other community entrepreneurial efforts including being one of the original sponsors of Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship (now Enactus Canada). The Dobson Foundation involvement with entrepreneurship over 30 years has resulted in the establishment of a large regional and national network of educators and small business interveners creating unprecedented synergy and cooperation. The Foundation also supports many Canadian economic Think Tanks that help Canadians understand the strength of the Free Enterprise system. It also has had an important role in educating young Canadians in the power of compounding returns through sound investing and saving principles.

About the McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship

The McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship is the hub of entrepreneurial activity at McGill University. Its mission is to find, teach, and develop world-class entrepreneurs at McGill through tailored education, applied entrepreneurial frameworks, and iterative mentorship. The McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship offers a portfolio of programming to meet its mandate, which includes: the McGill Dobson Cup, the McGill X-1 Accelerator, and the McGill Lean Startup Program.

About the Desautels Faculty of Management

Founded in Montreal in 1821, McGill is a leading Canadian post-secondary institution with 300 programs of study and over 40,000 students from over 150 countries around the world. Since 1906, McGill’s Desautels Faculty of Management has continued to be one of the top management schools in the world, offering programs at the undergraduate, masters, doctorate, and executive levels. The Faculty emphasizes the integration of teaching, research and practice, and applies a multi-disciplinary, holistic approach to identifying opportunities and solving problems.

About McGill University

Founded in Montreal, Quebec, in 1821, McGill University is Canada’s top ranked medical doctoral university. McGill is consistently ranked as one of the top universities, both nationally and internationally. It is a world-renowned institution of higher learning with research activities spanning two campuses, 11 faculties, 13 professional schools, 300 programs of study and over 40,000 students, including more than 10,200 graduate students. McGill attracts students from over 150 countries around the world, its 12,800 international students making up 31% per cent of the student body. Over half of McGill students claim a first language other than English, including approximately 19% of our students who say French is their mother tongue.