December 11, 2007

Editors: Photos pertaining to this release can be downloaded


Former Lakeport Chair & CEO gives budding entrepreneurs a boost with $1-million gift

Hamilton, ON -   Teresa Cascioli, the entrepreneur who took a bankrupt Ontario brewery and made it into a stunning financial and marketing success, is donating
$1-million to McMaster University to help boost the next generation of entrepreneurs.

The gift was announced this morning in the Atrium of the DeGroote School of Business.

 It is Cascioli’s first major donation since establishing the Teresa Cascioli Charitable Foundation. The experience and hard work of the entrepreneurs of yesterday, her own experience as CEO and her desire to give back to the community are her reasons for funding the Teresa Cascioli Chair in Entrepreneurial Leadership. 

Although the entrepreneurial spirit is on the rise in Canada—a survey by RBC Royal Bank in 2005 showed that 3.2-million Canadians would like to go into business for themselves—Cascioli admits it is a tough path.

“There are many pressures facing today’s entrepreneurs, and the challenges in the coming years will not diminish,” says the McMaster alum. “You face pressure from investors wanting the highest return on their investment with the lowest possible risk; pressure from customers wanting the lowest possible price and the absolute best value; pressure from employees wanting job security. You face resistance from everyone. There is a tremendous amount of skill required in order to navigate these pressures. Students need to be given guidance that can assist them in their future leadership pursuits.”

Cascioli, who coined the slogan “24 for $24” and sparked a price war in the competitive beer industry that changed the way beer is marketed, says those who venture into uncharted territory require a unique set of skills.


“Few Canadians have achieved Teresa Cascioli’s level of corporate success, and we are extremely grateful for her gift, one that will blaze a trail for tomorrow’s business leaders,” says McMaster President Peter George.

According to RBC Capital Markets, the Lakeport Brewing Income Fund was among the top five highest-performing income trusts ever. From the time of the initial public offering in June, 2005, to the completion of the sale to Labatt Brewing Company Limited in March, 2007, units appreciated from $10 to $28, a compound annual rate of return of approximately 79%. Adding the continually increasing distributions paid out over the same time frame, the result was an additional 19% return—a total rate of return of approximately 98%. 

“Teresa is passionate about entrepreneurship, as her gift clearly demonstrates,” says Paul Bates, dean of the DeGroote School of Business. “Her considerable experience and demonstrated success is a model for business students with dreams of mastering the complexities and pitfalls that come with running a business.”

Cascioli hopes that a focus on entrepreneurship will dispel the misconception that entrepreneurs are born and not taught, and that they operate strictly in small businesses environments.

“Entrepreneurs are not always born with the desire to lead,” she says. “Education is key to developing essential entrepreneurial skills. Entrepreneurs are found in all fields and disciplines, in organizations of any size, and at any level within an organization. They are professionals who, through their ability to manage risk, can take an organization to a new level. Entrepreneurs are focused and hard working out-of-the-box thinkers who take risks no one else has tried.”

McMaster University, a world-renowned, research-intensive university, fosters a culture of innovation, and a commitment to discovery and learning in teaching, research and scholarship. Based in Hamilton, the University, one of only four Canadian universities to be listed on the Top 100 universities in the world, has a student population of more than 23,000, and an alumni population of more than 130,000 in 128 countries.