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Royal Roads University Launches Eric Douglass Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies

November 20, 2006

Source: Royal Roads University

Royal Roads University announced today the creation of the Eric Douglass Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies, the legacy of a colourful Edmonton entrepreneur who left the family farm at 13 and went on to achieve success in Alberta’s transport, construction and development sectors.

The centre has been created with a $1.7 million bequest from the estate of Eric Douglass, who, with his wife Helena, had been a long-time supporter of RRU’s Faculty of Management.

"Eric would have been embarrassed at this attention, because he was a very private person, but he would have been deeply honoured by the creation of this centre in his name," said Helena Douglass.

The first activity to be launched at the centre will be a mentorship program that will match would-be entrepreneurs from the university’s Bachelor of Commerce in Entrepreneurial Studies program with mentors who will provide guidance in skills development, networking, and developing socially responsible enterprises.

The centre will also sponsor a micro-lending program for marginalized entrepreneurs – to be managed by RRU’s business students.

"Our goal is not just to help people make a profit but to make a difference in the world while they’re doing it," said Dr. Brent Mainprize, the RRU business professor who has been named director of the new centre. "Entrepreneurs are leaders of change, who better than them to be leaders of socially responsible change?"

The centre will also lead research, outreach and teaching activities, for example developing entrepreneurial education workshops for educators, writing Canadian case studies, and providing economic development support to First Nations and other communities.

RRU’s president emeritus, Dr. Gerry Kelly, who first met Eric and Helena Douglass 20 years ago in Edmonton, says the new centre is a fitting legacy that reflects the couple’s work ethic and Eric’s entrepreneurial spirit.

"Eric could see possibilities others couldn’t see and he had the fortitude to take chances as only an entrepreneur can do," said Kelly. "Helena supported Eric throughout his career, so this really is a joint honour for this remarkable couple."



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