Aspiring student entrepreneurs at Western will soon benefit from a $1-million gift from the Sabourin Family Foundation.
The gift supports the mission of the Morrisette Institute for Entrepreneurship, the engine and champion of entrepreneurship at Western, powered by the Ivey Business School. The funding will be used to support a new undergraduate student award program, as well as fund innovative programming and Western’s new Entrepreneurship and Innovation Building.
“This is a very generous and important gift for entrepreneurship at Western,” said Sharon Hodgson, dean of Ivey Business School. “Paul has a long and enduring relationship with Ivey and Western, which began more than 40 years ago when he came here to earn his MBA. This inspiring gift clearly demonstrates Paul’s belief in the power of entrepreneurial dreams.”
Scholarships, programming, infrastructure
The Sabourin Family Foundation Founders Award will be awarded annually to full-time undergraduate students in their second year of any degree program, based on their academic achievement, potential and demonstrated engagement with entrepreneurship activities at Western.
“These awards will deepen those students’ entrepreneurial journeys with additional programming and mentorship,” said Eric Morse, special advisor to the president and director of the Morrissette Institute. “They will also have the opportunity to take leadership positions within the Western Entrepreneurship ecosystem and contribute to their peers’ entrepreneurial experience.”
The gift will also provide designated funding for unique entrepreneurial programming, such as the Western Angels’ Demo Day and other emerging opportunities to help students develop skills, experiences and networks to deliver disruptive innovations for existing industries or define new ones.
“This programming will be of significant benefit for those students who are curious about entrepreneurship, and working on ideas and driving them to market,” Morse said.
The Foundation’s investment will also contribute to the ongoing construction of the new Entrepreneurship and Innovation Building, including investments in equipment and technology.
“Having a single location for like-minded students, faculty, staff and researchers to gather and engage with interesting ideas will be a game-changer for Western,” Morse said. “We will have maker space, incubator space, classrooms, collision space and an accelerator.”
Nurturing entrepreneurial spirit
Sabourin co-founded Polar Asset Management Partners in 1991 and serves as its chair and chief investment officer. His own entrepreneurial journey inspired him to help others looking to follow their dreams.
“I know the power that entrepreneurs can harness to build businesses, and ultimately create enduring jobs for like-minded Canadians,” Sabourin said. “This gift is a small part of my family giving back to the school that helped nurture and encourage my entrepreneurial spirit. I hope that the multi-faceted gift to the Morrissette Institute encourages students and alumni alike, across all of Western’s faculties and disciplines, to help unlock their own entrepreneurial dreams, now and for many years to come.”