Western receives $10 million donation for new entrepreneurship and innovation building

Ron Schmeichel at an event at Western University, where he announced a $10 million donation to fund the Schmeichel Building for Entrepreneurship and Innovation on May 25, 2022. (Jim Knight/CTV News London)

A large donation presented to Western University on Wednesday will help foster the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Ron Schmeichel, a Canadian entrepreneur and financier, is lending his name to the new entrepreneurship and innovation building at Western — and along with it, a $10 million donation.

“This space will help students from all academic disciplines come together around a common belief: when you invite ideas, enthusiasm and skills to come together you create and build innovation,” said Schmeichel in a press release.

The 100,000 sq. ft. building is located on the heart of Western’s campus and will be named the Ronald D. Schmeichel Building for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

The project is slated to be completed in fall 2023, and it will be Western’s first net-zero-energy building will be a gathering place with state-of-the-art active learning classrooms, a space with 3D printers, metalworking, machinery and woodworking tools and a digital lab.

In the press release, Western says the new facility will be a hub of entrepreneurial teaching, learning and experiencing.

“This is more than a building. This is a place where tomorrow’s entrepreneurs will cultivate their entrepreneurial spirit, whether they’re in engineering, music, journalism, law, medicine, science, business or the arts. We need to both encourage and back the entrepreneurial culture in Canada, and this new institute is going to play a big role in doing that,” said Schmeichel.

Schmeichel credits his experience at Western with starting him on the road to entrepreneurship, eventually going on to co-found and now chair JJR Private Capital.

“What drew me to Western was its respected brand and strong presence in the business community,” he said.

“Once I visited the campus, I was hooked. I’ll never forget walking into the law school and having that deep sense of history and academia, from the paintings on the walls of judges, lawyers and professors to the extensive library and the hushed halls. I was scared out of my mind — but it was also magical,” added Schmeichel.