The family of the late Melvin Woodward has made a $1.13-million donation to Memorial University’s Faculty of Business Administration.
The funding will help student entrepreneurs turn their innovative ideas into businesses.
The donation was made by Woodward’s children, Peter, Melvin and Tana, in memory of their father, a respected business owner who founded Woodward Group of Companies.
The funds will be distributed through the Dr. Mel Woodward Innovation and Entrepreneurship Endowment Fund and targeted at student entrepreneurs through an annual business competition now known as the Mel Woodward Cup.
The Mel Woodward Cup, a program of the Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship (MCE), will award up to $40,000 annually in cash prizes.
It will also provide mentoring and other supports from MCE and its partners to winning students and teams of students.
"My father strongly believed that you never know what you're capable of until you go out and try,” said Peter Woodward, president and chief executive officer of the Woodward Group of Companies.
“With this donation, we want to give students interested in entrepreneurship that opportunity to try. We hope that this fund sparks potential entrepreneurs to follow in the footsteps of our father and, in doing so, do their own part to contribute to expanding the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador.”
Mel Woodward was a Labrador business pioneer and successful entrepreneur who played a significant role in the economic development of Newfoundland and Labrador through the growth of Woodward Group of Companies.
Woodward, who died in 2015, was also dedicated to community building through many years of public service.
Among his many accolades, he was inducted into the Newfoundland and Labrador Business Hall of Fame in 2001, received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Memorial University in 2003 and won the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.
“This tremendous gift supports our long-term plan to cultivate student entrepreneurship, which is a fundamental part of innovation at Memorial,” said Memorial University president and vice-chancellor Gary Kachanoski.
“It’s fitting that a gift in Dr. Woodward’s name will continue his incredible legacy of contributing to an economically diverse and sustainable Newfoundland and Labrador.”