The Mel Woodward Cup Story
For one of Newfoundland and Labrador’s most successful entrepreneurs, it all started with a dream and a truck.
As a young man working in Labrador, Dr. Mel Woodward dreamed that one day he would be in business for himself. That dream started to become a reality when the opportunity arose to buy a truck – but Dr. Woodward only had half the funds needed to buy it.
That’s when he discovered that his wife, Sibyl, had secretly been squirrelling away cash and had saved just enough so that together, they had enough to buy the truck. Through determination and hard work, combined with a fearless entrepreneurial spirit, Dr. Woodward began building the Woodward Group empire with just a single truck.
Dr. Woodward’s first venture was a fuel delivery company called Woodward’s Oil Limited. Over the next five decades, he expanded the company to include fuel sales, trucking, stevedoring, marine transportation, aviation support services and automotive sales. That $300 in savings provided by Sibyl became the seed funding for the Woodward Group of Companies, which today has over $750 million in annual sales and more than 800 employees province-wide.
In 2017, the family of the late Mel Woodward donated $1.13 million to Memorial’s Faculty of Business Administration to help existing and aspiring student entrepreneurs develop their innovative business ideas.
These funds are targeted at student entrepreneurs through an annual business competition now known as the Mel Woodward Cup. A program of the Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship (MCE), the Mel Woodward Cup awards up to $40,000 annually in cash prizes as well as provides mentoring and other supports from MCE and its partners to winning students and teams.
“My father strongly believed that you never know what you’re capable of until you go out and try,” said son Peter Woodward in making the funding announcement. “We hope that this fund sparks potential entrepreneurs to follow in [his] footsteps.”