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University of Waterloo names Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology after business leader Manfred Conrad

Thursday April 08, 2010 , 3 min Read

WATERLOO - The University of Waterloo honoured leading local philanthropist Manfred Conrad and his family today by naming an innovative centre that graduates the country's next top entrepreneurs.

The Conrad Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (CCBET) received a $3-million donation from Manfred Conrad, founder of The Cora Group and developer of three buildings in the University of Waterloo Research and Technology Park, including the Accelerator Centre where CBET is located.

The Conrad donation, in addition to a previous $2-million gift to CBET from Manfred and Adrian Conrad, will allow the centre to expand its entrepreneurial academic, research and outreach activities in Canada and around the world.

"Thanks to Manfred Conrad's far-sighted gifts, CCBET has achieved a combination of talent and expertise that is quickly gaining us the reputation as one of Canada's most needed, and most unique, graduate business programs," said David Johnston, president of the University of Waterloo. "CCBET now is a magnet as it draws high-quality entrepreneurial students, university and government support, and the engagement of local and national business leaders."

CCBET offers a master of business, entrepreneurship and technology (MBET) program aimed at creative and innovative students with demonstrated skills to excel as entrepreneurs. MBET fills a crucial national need for individuals with the business acumen to successfully move ideas and innovations into commercial practice.

For example, 75 per cent of CCBET's alumni have been linked with a start-up in various capacities and more than 30 companies have been successfully created by MBET grads since 2003. The majority of those start-ups are in Ontario, mostly within the Greater Toronto Area and Waterloo Region.

Also, CCBET's global reputation grows as a result of the fact that 36 per cent of MBET students are international students.

"We are incredibly fortunate to benefit from the Conrad family's continued support. With their backing, CCBET is on track to become the nation's premier graduate business school focusing on entrepreneurship," said Howard Armitage, executive director at CCBET.

Conrad, born and raised in Germany, came to Canada in 1963. He established The Cora Group in 1978 and spearheaded it to become one of Waterloo Region's largest commercial real estate development companies.

"We're thrilled to see the evident impact our initial contribution made," said Manfred Conrad, founder of The Cora Group. "CCBET is such a critical element of the University of Waterloo's entrepreneurial climate. We whole-heartedly support building the culture of entrepreneurship and expanding the Centre's reach globally."

In June 2009, Conrad received a University of Waterloo honorary degree for his outstanding business and philanthropic community leadership and his partnership with the University of Waterloo. As well, he was awarded the business leadership award for contributions to downtown Kitchener by the Downtown Kitchener Business Association in 2001.

The Conrad Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (CCBET) was created to support, build on, and expand the entrepreneurial initiatives at the University Waterloo. The university's reputation for encouraging and spinning off successful entrepreneurial ventures is unmatched in Canada. CCBET's flagship Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (MBET) program is a 12-month program designed for entrepreneurially-oriented people who need the business skills to move ideas from concept to successful commercialization. For more information, go to