Press Releases

CBU Announces $100,000 in Support of Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies

Cape Breton University (CBU) is pleased to announce that Grant Thornton is providing $100,000 to support the work of the Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies. The Crawford Chair, housed in CBU’s Shannon School of Business, is focused on promoting interest among Canada’s Indigenous people in the study of business education at the post-secondary level, while undertaking pure and applied research specific to Aboriginal communities. The financial support announced today will advance the Chair’s activities across the country through the In.Business Indigenous youth mentorship program.

The In.Business program is a mentorship initiative designed to provide positive role models and a support system for Canada’s Aboriginal peoples, to bridge the gap between high school and post-secondary business education.

“The late Purdy Crawford was personally committed to ensuring that Aboriginal youth were provided the opportunity and access to higher education,” says Joe Shannon, Campaign Chair. “The support provided by Grant Thornton is an example of corporate responsibility and leadership in supporting Canada’s First Nations education.”

The In.Business program is an effective way to connect Aboriginal high school students with mentors and the support they need to develop an interest in business studies,” says Kevin Ladner, Grant Thornton’s Regional Managing Partner, Atlantic Canada. “As a major employer in the region and all across Canada, we’re proud to play a part in fostering a spirit of entrepreneurship within our Aboriginal communities.”

CBU is Atlantic Canada’s leader in Aboriginal post-secondary education with more than 500 Aboriginal graduates holding CBU degrees. The In.Business program utilizes social media tools, mentoring, and regional and national summits that focus on both challenges and success stories. Students are also provided with opportunities for academic counselling with a goal of seeing Aboriginal students graduate from high school and pursue post-secondary business education studies.

Support from donors such as Grant Thornton has allowed the work of the Crawford Chair to expand itits partnerships from coast to coast to coast. “Yukon College serves the needs of the Territory as well as portions of Northern British Columbia. Vancouver Island University is focused on British Columbia and Alberta and the University of Winnipeg is targeting the large urban Aboriginal population in Winnipeg while also serving students from Northern Manitoba and Nunavut”, states Chair holder, Dr. Keith Brown. “Nippising University is focused on the Nickel Belt of Northcentral Ontario and Western Quebec and Cape Breton University is serving the four Atlantic Provinces and the Gaspe Region of Quebec.”

Established in 2010, the Purdy Crawford Chair has had an ambitious and results based action and research agenda since inception. The research team has experienced success and recognition through published articles, national conference presentations and especially through its outreach and programs with Aboriginal business students from across Canada.

“In the 2013 budget, then Federal Finance Minister, the late Jim Flaherty announced $5 million in funding support for the work of the Chair”, stated CBU President, Dr. David Wheeler, “This support demonstrated a vote of confidence for the efforts of the Chair and means that all private donations, such as today’s gift from Grant Thornton will be matched.”

For more information visit