The work of the Sauder School of Business to contribute to British Columbia’s Aboriginal communities through business education will be reinforced by substantial new funding.

With a gift of $250,000 from the Aquilini family, a leading Canadian business family based in Vancouver, Sauder will create the Aquilini Family Aboriginal Awards Program, which will support Aboriginal post-secondary studies in business at Sauder and across the province.

“Aboriginal communities in B.C. represent some of the most vital in the country,” says Luigi Aquilini, Founder, Aquilini Investment Group. “With this funding we hope to encourage the development of a new generation of leaders and entrepreneurs who can work in their communities to harness their vast potential and help them thrive.”

The Aquilini Family Aboriginal Awards Program will provide support to students participating in Sauder’s Aboriginal Management Program and Ch’nook Scholars program, initiatives run by Sauder’s Ch’nook Indigenous Business Education initiative, an outreach centre mandated to increase engagement in business education in Aboriginal communities. 

Drawing on Sauder faculty and research, the Aboriginal Management Program is a four-month business intensive, tailored for Aboriginal people already engaged in careers. With curriculum developed specifically for the Aboriginal business environment and career progression, the program develops core business, entrepreneurial and leadership skills, and is creating a growing network of Aboriginal business leaders in B.C.

The Ch’nook Scholars program provides support for Aboriginal people studying in post-secondary business programs across British Columbia. In addition to financial support, the program provides mentorship and hands on experience in business through internships, giving students the support and connections they need to succeed in their studies and careers. The Scholars also contribute to the success of the next generation by participating in mentorship events with high school students.

“At Sauder, we firmly believe in the power of business education to strengthen communities and transform lives, and we are very grateful the Aquilini family shares this vision,” says Sauder’s Dean Robert Helsley, Grosvenor Professor of Cities, Business Economics and Public Policy. “Ch’nook programs have a strong track record of success, acting as a gateway to business education and creating new Aboriginal-owned enterprises and opportunities for job creation. This generous support will significantly broaden our reach and allow us to substantially increase our impact.”

About the Aquilini Investment Group

The Aquilini Investment Group is a diversified family business founded more than half a century ago by Luigi Aquilini. The group is now run by his three sons Francesco Aquilini, Roberto Aquilini and Paolo Aquilini. The Vancouver-based organization owns and manages a global conglomerate portfolio that includes commercial, industrial, residential construction and developments as well as properties, food and beverage, hospitality and entertainment enterprises such as the Vancouver Canucks, diverse agribusiness operations, and sustainable aquaculture and renewable energy ventures.

A history of giving

The Aquilini Investment Group is dedicated to supporting the community including through the Vancouver Canucks’ charitable organization, the Canucks for Kids Fund and its core beneficiaries; Canucks Autism Network (CAN), Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, and BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, including the Canucks for Kids Find Childhood Diabetes Laboratories.