About Stu Clark
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].
Dr. Clark (pictured above, right) is a Calgary-based oil and gas entrepreneur. He is the Chairman of Storm Resources Ltd. and Rock Energy Inc., as well as the Director of Chinook Energy Inc. Dr. Clark is also the Chairman of Alliance Trust Company, a private trust and shareholder services firm, servicing public and private entities in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Born and raised in Manitoba, and educated in Brandon and Winnipeg, Dr. Clark earned his B.Comm.(Hons.) from the University of Manitoba in 1976. Over the next three decades, Dr. Clark translated his education into starting, running and selling several oil and gas exploration companies. He moved to Calgary in 1984, and Pinnacle Resources Ltd. in 1986, raising $2 million of shareholder capital. The company was sold in 1998 for $1 billion.
In 2011, he was recognized by the University of Manitoba with an honorary Doctor of Laws for his contributions to the University, the Asper School of Business, and the Stu Clark Centre for Entrepreneurship. In 2012, Dr. Clark was the recipient of the International Distinguished Entrepreneur Award, presented by the Associates of the I.H. Asper School of Business.
Stu Clark on Entrepreneurship
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.