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Software entrepreneur repays scholarship fund with interest

Redknee founder Lucas Skoczkowski credits the Loran scholarship program with helping him to develop personally and professionally.

DARREN CALABRESE/The Globe and Mail

The donor: Lucas Skoczkowski

The gift: $554,000

The cause: The Loran Scholar program

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When Lucas Skoczkowski and his brother came to Canada from Poland in 1988 as teenagers, they spoke little English and some French. But that didn't hold back Mr. Skoczkowski.

By the time he enrolled in Ridgemont High School in Ottawa, he was tutoring other students, working part-time at a drug store and was working on the beginnings of a computer software business.

In 1992, he was named a Loran Scholar, a university scholarship program that provides up to $80,000 to 30 high school students from across Canada.

Mr. Skoczkowski went on to attend the University of Waterloo and founded Redknee Inc., a Mississauga-based telecom software company that now has 1,600 employees and more than $250-million in annual revenue.

He credits the scholarship program, which includes mentoring, for helping him to develop personally and professionally.

"It was transformational for me," he said. "It helped push me to do more, sooner."

Mr. Skoczkowski recently donated $554,000 to the Loran program and he serves as a mentor to recipients.

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The scholarship "makes Canadian leadership stronger," he said. "And Canadian leadership needs to be exported globally."

pwaldie@globeandmail.com

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