The Stu Clark Centre for Entrepreneurship at the Asper School of Business is named after oil and gas entrepreneur Dr. Stu Clark [B.Comm.(Hons.)/76, LL.D./2011].
Stu Clark is a Calgary oil and gas entrepreneur. He is a director and Chairman of the Board of Storm Resources Ltd. A TSX listed oil and gas exploration company as well as Chairman of the Board of Alliance Trust Company, a private trust and shareholder services firm, servicing public and private entities in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
Mr. Clark was born and raised in Manitoba and educated in Brandon and Winnipeg, before beginning his entrepreneurial career in the oil and gas industry in Calgary.
Mr. Clark earned his B. Comm. (Hons.) from the University of Manitoba in 1976, and in 2011 was recognized by the University of Manitoba with an honorary Doctor of Laws for his contributions of time and resources to the University, the I.H. Asper School of Business, and the Stu Clark Centre for Entrepreneurship.
Over three decades, Mr. Clark translated his education into starting, running and then selling several oil and gas exploration companies. Mr. Clark moved to Calgary in 1984 with the Northland Bank. In 1986, he founded Pinnacle Resources Ltd. and raised $2 million of shareholder capital. In 1998, Pinnacle was sold for over $1 billion. Mr. Clark has been involved in the start-up and reorganization of a number of Calgary-based public and private entities during his career.
A renowned entrepreneur, philanthropist and volunteer, Mr. Clark is recognized for his tireless dedication to supporting a variety of charities and educational institutions in Canada. His donation to the University of Manitoba enabled the establishment of the Stu Clark Centre for Entrepreneurship in the I.H. Asper School of Business. Mr. Clark has been a strong supporter of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
Mr. Clark remains active in the Calgary business community and continues to support his philanthropic interests in Alberta and Manitoba.
Stu Clark didn’t realize it at the time, but his days as a student in the U of M’s Faculty of Management – now the Asper School of Business – set him up for success as an entrepreneur in Alberta’s oil and gas industry. Over three decades, Stu translated his education into starting, running and then selling several oil and gas exploration companies, one of which had grown to employ about 300 people.
“My university experience helped create the opportunities that I’ve taken advantage of in my life," he says. "I have a passion for entrepreneurship: I’ve started a number of my own businesses, sold them, profited from them and now it’s time to give back.”
By giving back to his alma mater to support the study and practice of entrepreneurship, Stu has ensured that the Asper School’s Centre for Entrepreneurship – renamed in 2008 in his honour – will ignite the flame for entrepreneurial ventures among young people with big ideas for business success.
How does Stu define entrepreneurship?
An entrepreneur is someone with an appetite for risk and the ability to be innovative, to build from scratch and to stick it out over the long term. “I don’t think you can learn to be an entrepreneur,” he says. “I think it’s more of a personality type. But I know for sure that in school you must learn the basics of business: legal structures, effective presenting of your ideas through proposals and meetings, how to ask for money, how to follow through with investors, and how to be accountable.”
How do you know if you have an appetite for risk?
Ask yourself this, says Stu: When you have been faced with a fork in the road – when it was crunch time – did you take the risky path or did you choose the safer route? Entrepreneurs are comfortable with risk, seeking it out as the most effective and satisfying way to gain the return on their investment, to realize their vision of success.
Communication is key
Entrepreneurs must be able to communicate their ideas effectively in writing and also in presentations, says Stu, and school is the place to learn those fundamentals.