Their cup run­neth over

Wood­ward Group of Cos. do­nates $1.13 mil­lion for Memo­rial Univer­sity en­tre­pre­neur­ial com­pe­ti­tion

The Labradorian - - FRONT PAGE - BY KENN OLIVER

Back in 1960, Melvin Wood­ward was work­ing at the air­port in Goose Bay fu­elling air­crafts for Im­pe­rial Oil when he found out about a fuel truck be­ing sold for $300.

With that truck, Wood­ward could make his dream of be­ing a busi­ness owner a re­al­ity.

Un­for­tu­nately, he didn’t have $300.

For­tu­nately, his wife Sy­bil did. “She pro­ceeded to go to the closet and she reached into the pocket of her parka and she pulled out $300.” He said, “Where did you get the $300?” She said, “I’ve been cheat­ing on the gro­cery money,” re­counted Peter Wood­ward.

“That was the spark that started the Wood­ward em­pire.”

That money cre­ated Wood­ward’s Oil Ltd. and over the next five decades it grew to be­come the Wood­ward Group of Cos., do­ing busi­ness in truck­ing, steve­dor­ing, fer­ries, freight ships and tankers, avi­a­tion sup­port and au­to­mo­tive sales.

To­day, the com­pany — coowned by Peter, pres­i­dent and CEO, and his brother Melvin, vice-pres­i­dent of mar­ket­ing — does more than $750 mil­lion in an­nual sales and em­ploys 800 peo­ple.

Re­cently, the Wood­ward fam­ily dipped into the com­pany’s parka pocket and turned up a $1.13-mil­lion do­na­tion to Memo­rial Univer­sity’s fac­ulty of busi­ness ad­min­is­tra­tion to es­tab­lish the Dr. Mel Wood­ward In­no­va­tion and En­trepreneur­ship En­dow­ment Fund in mem­ory of the late en­trepreneur, who died in 2015.

The money will be used specif­i­cally to sup­port stu­dent en­trepreneurs through the Mel Wood­ward Cup, an an­nual busi­ness com­pe­ti­tion con­ducted by the Memo­rial Cen­tre for En­trepreneur­ship (MCE) that will award $40,000 in prize money — three prizes of $10,000, along with the re­main­ing sum used for hon­ourable men­tions and other fi­nan­cial sup­ports for winners.

It also in­cludes up to $2,500 worth of mar­ket­ing and le­gal ser­vices, au­to­matic en­rol­ment in the Ge­n­e­sis Cen­tre’s evo­lu­tion pro­gram and ac­cess to mar­ket re­search, and a re­served spot in the MCE co-work­ing space.

“It’ll spark the en­tre­pre­neur­ial drive,” said Peter, who was joined by his mother Sy­bil, brother Melvin and sis­ter Tana for the an­nounce­ment.

“My dad re­ally be­lieved in the univer­sity, re­ally be­lieved in the ca­pac­ity of stu­dents to go out and cre­ate new things and be some­thing and add to the prov­ince.”

The pro­gram was launched last spring as a pi­lot project la­belled The Startup Cup, but the money from Wood­ward’s was al­ready in place.

MUN pres­i­dent and vicechan­cel­lor Gary Kachanoski said to­day’s stu­dents rep­re­sent the foun­da­tion for en­trepreneur­ship and in­no­va­tion in the prov­ince, and the Wood­wards’ do­na­tion is a re­flec­tion of their shared be­lief in that foun­da­tion.

“This tremen­dous do­na­tion from the Wood­ward fam­ily in­vests in great ideas through a busi­ness com­pe­ti­tion for an en­gaged and en­tre­pre­neur­ial Memo­rial stu­dent, in­vest­ments that will pro­vide im­por­tant seed fund­ing that will mo­ti­vate and em­power our best and bright­est and give them the free­dom to be cre­ative,” Kachanoski said.


Peter Wood­ward speaks at an event an­nounc­ing that the fam­ily of the late Dr. Mel Wood­ward has do­nated $1.13 mil­lion to Memo­rial Univer­sity’s fac­ulty of busi­ness ad­min­is­tra­tion to sup­port the Memo­rial Cen­tre for En­trepreneur­ship’s an­nual stu­dent...

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