Memorial University of Newfoundland is launching its inaugural President’s Speaker Series on Entrepreneurship by welcoming Sir Terry Matthews, co-founder of Mitel Corporation, a leading provider of communications solutions for a range of organizations.
Sir Terry is the first billionaire to come from his home country of Wales. He currently resides in Canada. He’ll deliver an inaugural lecture titled On Entrepreneurship: From Mowers to Microprocessors on Tuesday, Dec. 9, at 7:30 p.m., in the D. F. Cook Recital Hall in Memorial’s School of Music.
Dr. Eddy Campbell, Memorial’s acting president and vice-chancellor, said he is delighted to welcome such an engaging and outstanding entrepreneur for the launch of the speaker series. He also noted that his idea for the series on entrepreneurship builds on the university’s current strengths.
“We have an extraordinary group of faculty, staff and students with a deep and abiding interest in entrepreneurship, illustrated most recently, and in dramatic fashion, by our SIFE Memorial team’s world championship win,” Dr. Campbell said.
“Memorial also has a tremendous record when it comes to high-technology start-up companies, particularly those involving the Marine Institute, the faculties of engineering and business, and those emanating from the Genesis Group. Our campus is also home to the Institute of Ocean Technology of the National Research Council of Canada which supports a number of start-up companies. The university’s SIFE team supports a business incubator program for student-led start-ups, an endeavour that encourages and promotes an entrepreneurial culture.”
Dr. Campbell sees the lecture series as a natural fit with the university’s culture.
“We encourage our students, our faculty, and our staff to be ingenious, creative and innovative: to be entrepreneurs, in every sense that word implies,” he said. “This new lecture series will bring to campus people who are entrepreneurs in the broadest sense, those who have created new wealth and new opportunities for the benefit of all.”
Sir Terry has been described as a highly unusual blend of talented engineer, evangelical salesman and technological visionary. He is a “serial entrepreneur” who has founded over 60 companies in the high-tech communications field. His most notable start-ups were Mitel and Newbridge Networks which played a major role in the development of Canada’s “Silicon Valley North”.
Mitel, formed in 1973 by Sir Terry and his partner Michael Cowpland, and was derived from a contraction of “Mike and Terry’s Electric Lawnmowers”. This first endeavour was a fiasco but the company went on to phenomenal success by developing the first push button phone and then expanding into microprocessors and semiconductor devices.
In 1985, when Mitel was sold to British Telecom, the serial entrepreneurs began again. Mr. Cowpland started Corel and Sir Terry started Newbridge Networks. The latter was sold to Alcatel in 2000 for $7 billion.
Sir Terry, like so many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, has a strong allegiance to his native land. He has invested hundreds of millions turning Celtic Manor, the former nursing home in which he was born, into Europe’s largest hotel, golf and conference centre. He has been quoted as saying "I think the resort can act as a magnet to draw new investment into Wales from across the UK and overseas. I did my best to put up a building that you can see from the West End of London and I didn’t come far short of it!”
In 2001 his contribution to the UK was recognized through a knighthood.
His lecture is free of charge and members of the public are invited to attend.
Parking is available in area 15, located east of the Music Building.