Ryerson will receive a big gift for the Student Learning Centre (SLC) — and Sheldon Levy might have had something to do with it.
Business owner Isaac Olowolafe Jr. made a $105,000 donation this month, and he says that what convinced him was the business savvy of Ryerson’s president.
“The biggest thing that drives me to Ryerson is the entrepreneurial and real estate mindset of Mr. Sheldon Levy,” says Olowolafe, the founder of real estate company Dream Maker Realty.
Olowolafe, 31, started his company a decade ago when he was a student.
“When I started my business, I was a young entrepreneur. There weren’t many incubator-type organizations around me that I could’ve went to and nurtured my skills and ideas,” he says. “That’s basically what Ryerson (and the Digital Media Zone) is building itself as.”
Olowolafe credits this to the work Levy has accomplished during his terms as president. Levy, however, is reluctant to take the credit for university’s reputation.
“The students, by and large, are innovative, entrepreneurial, edgy and want to get things done,” Levy says. “That was the motivation of the DMZ. It didn’t come out of my brain, it came out of watching many students wanting to do their own thing.”
Part of the third-floor SLC library where the Digital Media Zone is expanding will be named the Dream Maker Realty Digital Media Experience Space in recognition of Olowolafe’s donation.
“(I want to be) able to create a platform for young entrepreneurs to take their ideas from one level to the other and not worry about having access to the right technology,” Olowolafe says.
“I’m hoping the donation will be able to create those different avenues.”
Olowolafe, who was drawn to Ryerson because of its real estate management program and Yonge Street location, will work with administration to decide how the money will be used.
“I like to be hands on in every type of engagement I’m in,” Olowolafe says. “I’d love to be involved and share whatever ideas and experience I have as a young entrepreneur.”
The SLC is slated to open this semester.