Business professor wins prestigious teaching award


February 20, 2020, Victoria, BC – A professor of entrepreneurship who has helped boost the number of Indigenous-owned businesses across BC is the 13th University of Victoria scholar recognized with Canada’s most prestigious award for excellence in leadership and teaching.

Gustavson School of Business Professor Brent Mainprize, announced today as a 2020 3M National Teaching Fellow, is the fourth UVic scholar in six years to receive the award.

The newest accolade puts Mainprize in a class of his own: He is the only professor to have received three of the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education’s (STLHE) top awards for outstanding educators. In 2016, Mainprize received STLHE’s Alan Blizzard Award for his role in a collaborative teaching team honoured for their work on the Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs (ACE) program. And in 2014, Mainprize won STLHE’s D2L Innovation Award in Teaching and Learning.

“Entrepreneurship is a powerful concept because it’s about nurturing a student’s discovery of their own unique abilities and passions and supporting their development as they share them with the world,” Mainprize says. “To be recognized for my role in helping students starting their businesses is a tremendous honour.”

Mainprize is program director and co-founder of Tribal Resources Investment Corporation’s ACE program, which gives fledgling Indigenous entrepreneurs hands-on teaching, coaching and mentorship in their home community.

Since its launch in 2013, 384 students from 46 Indigenous communities across BC have graduated from the ACE program. More than 100 business ventures have been launched—and many more are in the planning stages. Many ACE graduates go on to further education or secure employment in their business area of interest. The program has also begun to specialize its offering for particular business interests, such as the Artist-ACE program, which focuses on Indigenous artisans.

ACE represents part of Mainprize’s work with Indigenous communities. Over his career, Mainprize has been invited to more than 40 Indigenous communities in BC to co-facilitate and co-design programs, under the community’s leadership, which focus on Indigenous-led economies through economic development and entrepreneurship. Mainprize continues to collaborate with the Nisga’a Nation to explore opportunities for sustainable economic prosperity while preserving heritage and culture. Haida Owned and Operated, an entrepreneurship training program specific to Haida citizens, is an outcome of this partnership. Mainprize is also a business faculty champion for UVic’s National Consortium for Indigenous Economic Development.

“We are proud and excited for Brent to be recognized for his teaching excellence,” says Gustavson Dean Saul Klein. “His leadership in entrepreneurship, Indigenous partnerships and experiential learning creates classroom experiences where students combine their creativity, culture and innovation in their business pursuits.”

Mainprize joins past UVic 3M recipients, including Helga Thorson (Humanities), 2019; David Blades (Education), 2016; Jin-Sun Yoon (Child and Youth Care), 2015; A.R. Elangovan (Gustavson School of Business), 2012; Gweneth Doane (Nursing), 2006; Jamie Cassels (Law), 2002; Marty Wall (Psychology), 2001; Aaron Devor (Sociology), 2000; David Berry (Chemistry), 2000; Thomas Cleary (English), 1994; Elizabeth Tumasonis (History in Art), 1992; and Andy Farquharson (Social Work), 1986.  

The 3M National Teaching Fellowship was established in 1986 through the generosity of 3M Canada and the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.

Media contacts:

Brent Mainprize (Gustavson) at 250-721-6404 or

Krista Boehnert (Gustavson) at 250-721-6630 or