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Professor Alex Bruton named the 2012 Canadian Entrepreneurial Educator of the Year

A national organization dedicated to fostering the energy, passion and innovation of young Canadian entrepreneurs has honoured Alex Bruton, PhD, with its 2012 Entrepreneurial Educator Award.

The Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF) presented the award to Bruton, an associate professor with the Bissett School of Business, on Nov. 14 as part of its celebrations of Global Entrepreneurship Week Canada.

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Alex Bruton, PhD,  the 2012 Entrepreneurial Educator Award along and MRU student Barbara Adamson, recipient of the YOU Innovate award

Tessa Mintz, CYBF Vice President of Volunteers and Programs, says the Entrepreneurial Educator award recognizes the significant contributions made by the education sector to Canada’s economic growth and prosperity.

“Educational leaders, such as Dr. Bruton, are raising the profile of entrepreneurship through the education system with a commitment to the promotion of entrepreneurship among students, faculty and community,” Mintz says.

“The winner of the Entrepreneurial Educator Award is known for providing the guidance and resources necessary for future Canadian entrepreneurs to succeed.”

Setting an example for students

In addition to his achievements as an educator, Mintz says the award recognizes Bruton for his work with the CYBF on its YOU Innovate Canada Tournament — a nation-wide competition inspired in part by Mount Royal University’s own Innovation Tournament.

“We have had the distinct pleasure of working with Dr. Bruton around the YOU Innovate Canada tournament as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, and in his role as Educator-in-Residence with Trico Charitable Foundation, a partner of CYBF,” Mintz says.

“Our work with him in these capacities, and his entire body of work, led the CYBF’s senior leadership team to nominate Dr. Bruton for this award.”

Mintz says the award also reflects Bruton’s commitment to sharing information and resources in the spirit of educational excellence.

“One thing students can learn from Dr. Bruton’s example is that he has been able to take a background in engineering, combine it with his entrepreneurial background, and become a highly regarded teacher,” Mintz says.

“His career has followed many paths and led him to where he is now, which includes giving back to the next generation of business leaders.”

In a decisive demonstration of how Bruton and the entire Mount Royal Entrepreneurship faculty team are inspiring that next generation, a team of Mount Royal students took the grand prize at the YOU Innovate Canada Tournament, with two additional Mount Royal teams placing as finalists in the tournament and a fourth team receiving honourable mention.

Students celebrating success

Barbara Adamson travelled to Toronto to accept the grand prize on behalf of her team. Called Team Engage, it is made up of Adamson and her teammates Murray Roberts, Abe Bernard and Sharday Issac.

Now back in Calgary, Adamson says she was both surprised and excited to be at the awards ceremony where Bruton was honoured.

“It was so cool to be there and to watch him accept the award,” Adamson says. “I think we should all be really proud that our faculty is being recognized for doing something that’s different.”

Her teammate, Sharday Isaac, adds that having Mount Royal students perform so well at the YOU Innovate tournament only reinforces Bruton’s efforts.

“[To] actually have students that produce on a national level really goes to show the kind of contribution [he’s] putting in,” Isaac says.

Adamson says she appreciates knowing that her professor is recognized for his success and for his innovation.

“As students, we know that we’re learning from someone who has proven he can bring something into the classroom that not everybody is doing,” Adamson says.

“I know he feels very passionate about it, so for us, as young people, to learn from passionate teachers is really incredible.

“It sparks us to do better and inspires us to move forward.”

“Terrifically proud”

A tradition of excellence

The Dean of the Bissett School of Business, Murray Young, PhD, says both Bruton’s award and the success of the student teams position Mount Royal as the leader among Canadian universities in teaching entrepreneurship and innovation.

“The recognition this year reflects a long tradition of exemplary education in entrepreneurship over the last decade at Mount Royal,” Young says.

And, Young says, it also builds on the validation of Mount Royal’s entrepreneurship programs that has been earned through the strong success of student teams competing as part of Students in Free Enterprise. Now called ENACTUS, it is a program that encourages post-secondary students to develop solutions to economic, social and environmental challenges in their community through entrepreneurial projects.

“I am terrifically proud of this accomplishment for Alex, for Barbara and the other students because this is a different validation,” Young explains. “It was validated through SIFE; now we have this YOU Innovate Canada validation.”

Young says Bruton’s award reflects the depth of excellence in the team of professors teaching innovation and entrepreneurship at Mount Royal.

“Any individual in a post-secondary environment serves as a member of a team,” Young says. “With Alex’s Entrepreneurial Educator award, [this] team of professors, staff and alumni has created a new and higher level of appreciation across Canada for what happens at Mount Royal University.”

— Nancy Cope, Nov. 23, 2012