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Oct. 2, 2018
For Immediate Release

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Waterloo – Today, RBC announced, as part of their Future Launch program, a donation of $450,000 to Wilfrid Laurier University to create and support innovative new entrepreneurship programming. The RBC Ambassador Program, the RBC Entrepreneurial Experience Program and the RBC Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program will be administered through the Schlegel Centre for Entrepreneurship & Social Innovation at Laurier’s Lazaridis School of Business & Economics and available to students in all faculties and across all campuses.

“Prosperity for all Canadians is directly linked to our ability to prepare young people to succeed in a fast- changing global economy,” said Massimo Iacurti, RBC regional vice president, Kitchener Waterloo Perth. “For Canada to be prosperous, young people must thrive. RBC Future Launch is our commitment of $50 million over the next 10 years to help prepare young people for the future of work, and we are proud to partner with Wilfrid Laurier University to help provide students with the opportunity to gain the necessary skills, build their networks and participate in meaningful work-integrated learning experiences.”

Through the RBC Ambassador Program, RBC staff will offer events and workshops at Laurier, and provide individual and group mentorship to student entrepreneurs. The RBC Entrepreneurial Experience Program will provide grants to students so that they can attend entrepreneurial events, conferences and competitions. The RBC Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program will support five high-achieving student entrepreneurs per semester over three years (for a total of 45 students). Students will receive a stipend to work full-time for a four-month work term, dedicating their efforts to accelerating progress on their entrepreneurial venture, or to supplement their salary to work in a startup where they can learn the specific skills required to be an entrepreneur and run a startup.

“At the post-secondary level, we must prepare young people not only with applicable skills, but also the ability to navigate change and be entrepreneurial,” said Laurier President and Vice-Chancellor Deborah MacLatchy. “Using skills they learn in RBC-supported programs, our students will create jobs for themselves and, in turn, create jobs for others. They will seed brilliant and world-changing ideas and enact lasting change. In this way, we’ll be fulfilling the mission we share with RBC to prepare young Canadians to thrive through change and create real value in the future economy.”

RBC and Laurier have enjoyed 34 years of partnership supporting students. To date, RBC has given over $1.3 million to Laurier, supporting initiatives such as the RBC Career Transition Program for Students with Disabilities, the Brantford Campus Capital Campaign and many event sponsorships. RBC has hired 276 co-op students from Laurier and currently employs almost 300 alumni.

A special “Build your Personal Brand” workshop for Laurier students took place at the Paul Martin Centre at Laurier’s Waterloo campus immediately preceding the gift announcement. The workshop was presented by Griffith Dias, recruiter, early talent acquisition and Jovic Howland, senior recruiter, early talent acquisition for RBC in collaboration with the Schlegel Centre. During the workshop, students learned about building an authentic and unique personal brand and gleaned tangible tips and advice on how to tell their story and build a brand that is distinctly theirs. After the workshop, students mingled and networked at the gift announcement, where everyone had the opportunity to explore RBC’s new career development tool, RBC UpSkill.

“RBC’s generous gift gives students a huge boost of support to learn about and be involved in entrepreneurship, get professional advice, and most importantly, have the capacity to focus on their entrepreneurial dreams to really move them forward in a way that would not otherwise be possible,” said Laura Allan, executive director of the Schlegel Centre for Entrepreneurship & Social Innovation. “The university and the students are very grateful for RBC’s support.”

“As one of the students taking part in the first cohort of RBC entrepreneurship programming at Laurier, I am not only thankful, but privileged,” said Zaffia Laplante, fourth-year Global Studies major at Laurier, at the event. “This innovative program will have a direct impact for me as a student and Indigenous entrepreneur, and it will also have a meaningful effect on the Laurier community and beyond. I’d like to personally thank RBC for their investment in Laurier’s student entrepreneurs. It really demonstrates a commitment to further advance and grow the field of entrepreneurship. It also demonstrates how dedicated RBC is to supporting students and their passion for making positive change.”

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About Laurier

Wilfrid Laurier University is a leading Canadian university known for academic excellence and a culture that inspires lives of leadership and purpose. Laurier has a distinct commitment to teaching, research and scholarship, combined with a strong student focus, high levels of student satisfaction and a deep sense of community. Laurier’s innovative educational model purposefully integrates the academic learning experience with an experiential learning component. The university has more than 19,000 students throughout its campuses in Waterloo and Brantford and locations in Kitchener and Toronto and is establishing a campus in Milton.  

About RBC

With a vision to be among the world’s most trusted and successful financial institutions, RBC is one of Canada's biggest banks, and one of the largest in the world based on market capitalization. RBC is one of North America's leading diversified financial services companies, and provide personal and commercial banking, wealth management, insurance, investor services and capital markets products and services on a global basis. Over 81,000+ full- and part-time employees serve 16 million clients in Canada, the U.S. and 34 other countries, with the mission to help clients thrive and communities prosper.

Media Contacts:

Kevin Crowley, Director

Communications and Public Affairs, Wilfrid Laurier University

T: 519.884.0710 x3070


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