$1-million donation the largest ever made by a NAIT alumnus

Published on May 12, 2017

Landmark gift from Ashif Mawji will be used to help establish the Mawji Centre for New Venture and Student Entrepreneurship

A $1-million donation from alumnus Ashif Mawji (Computer Systems Technology ’92) and family will help establish the Mawji Centre for New Venture and Student Entrepreneurship at NAIT. This is the largest gift ever made by an alumnus of the polytechnic.

This Mawji family donation provides seed capital to establish the centre, which is expected to be operational in fall of 2017. Located within the JR Shaw School of Business, the Mawji Centre for New Venture and Student Entrepreneurship will serve students, staff and faculty from across NAIT.

More specifically, the centre will be a hub for entrepreneurship, innovation and new venture learning opportunities. Among other things, students will be able to receive mentorship at the centre from established entrepreneurs.

Mawji – an entrepreneur from a very young age – is a co-founder and key adviser at Trust Science, a new platform and app that calculates the trustworthiness of individuals and businesses. He is also the former CEO and founder of Upside Software, which he sold in 2012. Mawji served on NAIT’s Board of Governors from 2004 to 2010. He was awarded a NAIT honorary Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 2017, named one of NAIT’s Top 50 Alumni in 2012 and received the Alumni Award of Distinction in 2003.


Ashif Mawji
“This is an opportunity to celebrate entrepreneurship and give students in Alberta a leg up – to provide them with mentorship and help them be successful. When I first started, I wish I would have had access to this sort of help. I think it would have helped me get even further at a young age.”

Dr. Glenn Feltham, NAIT president and CEO
“Entrepreneurship has a natural place in polytechnics. This gift will allow us to support aspiring student entrepreneurs across NAIT.”

Tracey Scarlett, JR Shaw School of Business dean 
“The centre will provide all NAIT students an opportunity to learn about entrepreneurship in an applied learning setting. They will have an opportunity to solve real-world challenges with experienced entrepreneurial mentorship.”

About NAIT

The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is a leading Canadian polytechnic, delivering education in science, technology and the environment; business; health and trades. With nearly 60,000 credit and non-credit students and a 95 per cent employer satisfaction rate, NAIT grads are essential to Alberta’s prosperity. Known for hands-on, technology-based learning, NAIT engages with business and industry in applied research and innovation and provides corporate training around the world. Recognized as one of Alberta’s top employers, NAIT provides outstanding returns on investment for its graduates, partners, the provincial government and the people of Alberta.

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