Impact of Giving

BMO, UNB announce $2 million commitment to sports and entrepreneurship

Author: Development and Donor Relations

Posted on Jan 23, 2023

Category: News and Events

BMO Financial Group (BMO) and the University of New Brunswick (UNB) today announced a gift of $2 million in support of student achievement in entrepreneurship.

This major gift reflects the value BMO places on educating future generations, professional development, and creating opportunities for young Canadians to engage in sport. BMO’s 10-year gift includes:

  • $1 million to resurface the BMO Centre soccer pitch at UNB, reflecting BMO’s position as the Bank of Soccer and commitment to growing the game of soccer throughout North America;
  • $500,000 to create the BMO Emerging Entrepreneur Awards, which will be applicable to both UNB campuses and all programs; and
  • $500,000 to sponsor the BMO APEX Business Plan Competition for 10 years, continuing UNB's proud partnership with BMO in recognizing entrepreneurial excellence.

UNB President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Paul J. Mazerolle praised BMO’s leadership.

“We are deeply grateful for this vote of confidence in our university’s capacity to educate a new generation of athletic, business and community leaders,” Mazerolle said.

“BMO has always been a generous community partner to UNB, and this leadership gift will build upon BMO’s past investments,” Mazerolle said.  “BMO’s generosity will enable UNB to continue advancing the growth of entrepreneurship for the benefit of New Brunswick, the Atlantic region and Canada while creating opportunities for students to succeed on the soccer field, in the classroom and in the global economy.”

“Enabling the pursuit of higher education and ensuring equitable access to sports are reflections of BMO’s Purpose to Boldly Grow the Good in business and in life,” said Justin Scully, Regional President, Personal Banking Atlantic, BMO. “With this donation, we are thrilled to be extending our partnership with UNB’s BMO APEX Business Plan Competition and supporting the professional development and progress of students through the creation of the BMO Emerging Entrepreneur Awards – a new incentive for students who aspire to entrepreneurship and are the future of the Canadian economy.”

“The BMO APEX Business Plan Competition has helped to build a strong community of student entrepreneurs in the Atlantic region and across the country," said Devashis Mitra, dean of UNB's faculty of management. “The competition encourages students to act on their business ideas and inspires them to help others do the same. We are very grateful that BMO has extended its commitment to APEX.”

Curtis Kennedy (BScME, DTME) is a UNB alumnus, Founder & CEO of Symbodi and past APEX Business Plan Competition Winner for his product Vertiball, which he successfully pitched to CBC’s Dragons’ Den.

“University is an ideal time for creative individuals to take a crack at becoming entrepreneurs,” Kennedy said.

“UNB offers students an ecosystem of programs and resources to help them refine their ideas and learn entrepreneurial skills,” Kennedy said. “BMO's decision to reinvest in the APEX Business Plan Competition and create the BMO Emerging Entrepreneur Awards will help a generation of students translate revolutionary ideas into world-changing products and services.”