Brett Wilson

Brett Wilson is a Canadian entrepreneur, philanthropist, and investment banker, best known as a co-founder of First Energy, one of Canada’s leading energy investment banks.

Early life

Born on July 1, 1957, in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, Canada, Wilson developed a passion for entrepreneurship at an early age. He completed his undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Saskatchewan and later earned an MBA from the University of Calgary. His family’s strong work ethic and his interest in finance and energy sectors played a significant role in shaping his future career path.


Wilson completed his Civil Engineering degree and subsequently worked with Imperial Oil for three years, based in the oilfields of Western Canada. In 1985, he further enriched his educational background by earning an MBA in entrepreneurship from the University of Calgary. Post-graduation, Wilson began his career in investment banking at McLeod Young Weir Limited, now known as Scotia Capital.

In 1991, he took a significant step forward by co-founding the investment banking advisory firm, Wilson Mackie & Co.

Brett Wilson’s professional journey began in the oil and gas industry, where he worked in various engineering and investment banking roles. In 1993, he co-founded First Energy Capital Corp. with Rick Grafton, Jim Davidson, and N. Murray Edwards. First Energy quickly grew to become a leading investment bank in the energy sector, offering services in investment, brokerage, and other financial services.

Under Wilson’s leadership, First Energy gained a reputation for integrity, creativity, and insight in the Canadian energy markets. The firm became instrumental in facilitating energy deals and fostering growth within the industry.

FirstEnergy has since emerged as a notable Canadian stock brokerage firm, offering specialized investment banking services to the global energy sector. In 2008, Wilson concluded his tenure as Chairman of FirstEnergy.

In 2008, Wilson became one of the “Dragons” on the popular CBC television series “Dragons’ Den,” where he provided both financial support and mentorship to numerous aspiring Canadian entrepreneurs.

In 2011, after concluding his stint on “Dragons’ Den”, Wilson took the center stage in “Risky Business”, an entrepreneurship-themed television series. An active voice in the world of business publications, Wilson has contributed articles to platforms like Oilweek, Alberta Venture, and the National Post. Adding to his list of accomplishments, he authored the book “Redefining Success: Still Making Mistakes”, published by Penguin Books in 2012.

After stepping down from First Energy in 2011, Wilson continued to be an active investor, involving himself in various sectors such as sports, entertainment, agriculture, and technology. His investment philosophy emphasizes building long-term relationships and social responsibility, reflecting his commitment to both business and community growth.

Wilson’s approach to business and life reflects his belief in ethical practice, community engagement, and continuous learning. His legacy in the Canadian business landscape is complemented by his commitment to creating positive social change and nurturing the next generation of entrepreneurs.


Wilson perceives corporate social responsibility as an advantageous venture rather than a mere obligation. He’s an advocate for the idea that strategic philanthropy can yield both societal and economic dividends. His altruistic endeavors include supporting Kids’ Cancer Care by shaving his head and ascending Mount Kilimanjaro to fund Alzheimer’s research. Yearly, Wilson teams up with Youth with a Mission in Mexico, assisting in home construction for the underprivileged. His charitable insights have been documented in articles for Alberta Venture magazine.

Wilson has spearheaded events in aid of various causes such as prostate cancer, the David Foster Foundation, Right to Play, Little Warriors, Boomer’s Legacy, 777 Run for Sight, Dare to Care, and the Veterans’ Food Bank. He’s profoundly committed to researching domestic abuse, underlined by his funding of the Wilson Centre for Domestic Abuse Studies at the Calgary Counselling Centre. Volleyball enthusiasts benefit from his support at the Rally Pointe volleyball centre in Calgary, Alberta. As a vocal advocate for mental well-being, Wilson champions programs focused on treating eating disorders.

His commitment to supporting the armed forces saw him visiting Canadian troops on the front lines in Afghanistan alongside notable figures such as General Walter Natynczyk, Defence Minister Peter MacKay, hockey legend Guy Lafleur, and actor Paul Gross. Furthermore, he has organized events to honor and support military personnel and their families.

Wilson’s passion for entrepreneurship and philanthropy is evident in his engagements with student and business audiences. He ardently speaks about the significance of marketing, entrepreneurship, and philanthropy, advocating for their inclusion as core subjects in educational curriculums.

Net Worth

Brett Wilson’s extensive career in investment banking, coupled with his entrepreneurial ventures, has contributed to a significant net worth. As of 2021, his estimated net worth is around $300 million. He has utilized his wealth to support various philanthropic initiatives, aligning with his belief in corporate social responsibility.


Throughout his career, Wilson has been recognized for his contributions to the business world and his community. Some of his notable achievements include:

Canada's Top 40 under 40 - Caldwell Partners (1997)
Top 20 Deal Makers in Canada - Globe & Mail (1999)
Top 10 list of M&A specialists in Canada - Globe & Mail - (2000)
Management Alumni Excellence (MAX) Award, University of Calgary, Haskayne School of Business (2003)
International Legacy of Honour, Young Presidents Organization - recognizing the global YPO leader who best exemplifies commitment to excellence in business, community orientation and the ideals of YPO (2004)
Spirit of Giving Award - Association of Fundraising Professionals (2005)
University of Calgary Top 40 Alumni (2006–2007)
Calgary's Person of the Year - Avenue Magazine (2007)
University of Saskatchewan Alumni Award of Achievement (2007)
University of Saskatchewan Top 100 Alumni (2007)
Distinguished Lecturer, CJ Mackenzie Banquet, University of Saskatchewan College of Engineering (2008)
Business Person of the Year - Alberta Venture Magazine (2008)
Nation Builder Award - Canadian Youth Business Foundation (2009)
Honorary Doctor of Laws, Royal Roads University (2010)
One of Calgary's Top 10 New Mavericks (2010)
City of Calgary Signature Award – for bringing significant recognition to Calgary (2010)
Appointment to the Order of Canada (2011)
Saskatchewan Order of Merit (2012)
Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012)
Olds College Centennial Honorary Degree Recipient (2013)
SAIT, Honorary Degree Recipient, Bachelor of Science (2015)
University of Saskatchewan, Honorary Degree Recipient, Doctor of Laws (2015)
Bob Edwards Award (2015)
Canadian Petroleum Hall of Fame, Inductee (2016)
Oil and Gas Council, Lifetime Achievement Award (2016)