Funded by the Weston Family Foundation, the Weston Family Entrepreneurial Innovation & Sustainability Program will support budding Dobson entrepreneurs in the early stages of their journey.
The Desautels Faculty of Management and the Dobson Centre at McGill University recently announced the launch of the Weston Family Entrepreneurial Innovation & Sustainability Program, a hands-on, comprehensive program designed to guide aspiring changemakers and early-stage startups through the ideation, validation, and launch of their ventures.
Funded by a $1 million gift from the Weston Family Foundation, this new Dobson program will accelerate the development of sustainability-driven entrepreneurs stemming from all faculties at McGill.
“In the Weston Family Foundation, we have found a new ally in the mission to champion sustainability and innovation in our growing community of entrepreneurs,” said Yolande Chan, Dean of the Desautels Faculty of Management. “We are grateful for this new collaboration and keen to see the fruit it will bear.”
For the past 60 years, the Weston Family Foundation has championed education, innovation, and sustainability efforts through charitable giving. “We are thrilled to work alongside McGill University through the Desautels Faculty of Management and the Dobson Centre, in their efforts to foster innovation and entrepreneurship in Canada,” said Emma Adamo, Chair, Weston Family Foundation. “We look forward to seeing the renewed impact these changemakers can make on ESG enterprise.”
The Dobson Centre will deliver the Weston Family Entrepreneurial Innovation & Sustainability Program annually in two eight-week parts.
Part 1: The Weston Family Innovation in Sustainability Lean Startup Program
Led by seasoned entrepreneurs and sustainability business experts, the ideation stage introduces strategic frameworks and concepts to help participants refine their startup ideas and business plans. Each participant will graduate from the Lean Startup Program with a viable startup concept.
Part 2: The Weston Family Sustainability Startup Challenge
After undergoing extensive personalized coaching to help them develop a winning pitch presentation, participants compete in a two-round pitch competition. First-, second-, and third- place winners will receive $25,000, $15,000, and $10,000 awards, respectively.
After completing both parts of the Weston Family Entrepreneurial Innovation & Sustainability Program, participants continue to the Dobson X-1 Accelerator, a rigorous 10-week program designed to help startups become investment ready. In alignment with the sustainability focus of the Weston Family Entrepreneurial Innovation & Sustainability Program, the 2023 X-1 Accelerator will open a new stream focused on ESG enterprise. Participants will also gain access to the Dobson Mentorship Circle connecting seasoned business leaders with entrepreneurs, as well as international pre-seed funding opportunities.
“Combined with our existing programs, the Weston Family Entrepreneurial Innovation & Sustainability Program expands the realm of possibility for our entrepreneurs, particularly those with a strong focus on creating sustainability-driven business models,” says Marie-Josée Lamothe, Director of the Dobson Centre. “The Weston Family Foundation’s gift will support and accelerate significant growth in our ecosystem.”
To date, the Dobson Centre has supported the launch of over 400 active startups which have raised over $2.2 billion in pre-seed funding, operate in 36 countries, and created over 8,000 jobs.