Rideau Hall Foundation pulls support for Prince Andrew's entrepreneur project
TORONTO -- The Rideau Hall Foundation isn’t renewing its agreement with Prince Andrew’s flagship entrepreneur project, Pitch@Palace, following the unfavourable reaction to the broadcast interview addressing his friendship with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
“The Rideau Hall Foundation’s agreement with Pitch@Palace is coming to an end, and it will not be renewed for 2020. Supporting innovation and entrepreneurship is a key priority for the Rideau Hall Foundation,” according to a statement from Rideau Hall Foundation.
“We will continue to support Canada’s incredible entrepreneurs and look forward to other opportunities to celebrate and grow Canada’s culture of innovation.”
On Wednesday, the Duke of York announced he was stepping back from public duties with the queen’s permission. In a statement, Andrew said his association with Epstein has become a "major distraction" to the royal family's work, adding he "deeply sympathizes" with his victims.
The Pitch@Palace, where budding entrepreneurs network and compete for funding, was founded by the Queen’s second son in 2014. Events are held all over the world including Australia, China, Bahrain and South Korea.
The sub-licensee for the event Rideau Hall Foundation worked with its funding partners, such as BMO Financial, with the latter providing $500,000 for the event.
In May, the Duke of York was in Toronto for the Pitch@Palace event to help judge two dozen Canadian entrepreneurs’ business ideas. It was the first time the international event had been in Canada.
The Rideau Hall Foundation isn’t the first sponsor to step away.
On Tuesday, Britain's Press Association reported that professional services provider KPMG wouldn’t renew its support either. And the Associated Press reported that another backer for the project, Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, said it was reviewing its three-year partnership which is due to expire at the end of 2019.
Clarification: The Rideau Hall Foundation was the Canadian sub-licensee for Pitch@palace and did not provide funding for the event. The Governor General nor the Governor General's office were involved in this particular project.