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People, planet, profits

Memorial launches Canada's first master’s degree in social enterprise and entrepreneurship

Teaching and Learning

By Susan White

A new master’s degree at Memorial University aims to train a different kind of business leader for a new way of doing business.

The master of business administration in social enterprise and entrepreneurship (MBA-SEE), launched by Memorial’s Faculty of Business Administration, is a 12-month program focused on developing change agents committed to sustainable and social business practices in public, private and not-for-profit sectors.

Dr. Isabelle Dostaler says Memorial's new MBA in social enterprise and entrepreneurship will help develop innovative leaders.
Dr. Isabelle Dostaler says Memorial’s new MBA in social enterprise and entrepreneurship will help develop innovative leaders.

“There is a growing awareness of social enterprise and social entrepreneurship throughout the business world,” said Dr. Isabelle Dostaler, dean of the business faculty.

“With this new MBA program specifically designed to focus on the three pillars of sustainability — people, planet and profits — we aim to develop graduates who will be agents of change. The MBA-SEE puts Memorial on the leading edge of an important emerging sector of the provincial and national economy, one which has the potential to help navigate the current challenges that have arisen in business, culture, the environment and the economy.”

Social, cultural and environmental missions

Social enterprise and social entrepreneurship involve using sound business practices to pursue social, cultural or environmental missions.

“In today’s business environment, it’s critical that organizations are sustainable and offer value to the communities in which they operate.” – Dr. Isabelle Dostaler

Not primarily focused on generating profit, these ventures seek and create opportunities to generate value through commercial, market-based activities.

“In today’s business environment, it’s critical that organizations are sustainable and offer value to the communities in which they operate. In order to do that, we need leaders who are able to think creatively, look for innovative solutions and operate with a social conscience,” said Dr. Dostaler.

“Unlike a traditional MBA program, the MBA-SEE embeds the concepts of sustainability into every course offered, which will help create these leaders for social change.”

Next generation of social entrepreneurs

Gordon Slade, chair of the board of directors of the Shorefast Foundation, agrees.

Gordon Slade
Photo: Submitted

The foundation is a registered charity that operates successful and award-winning social enterprises on Fogo Island for the benefit of the community.

“Memorial’s MBA-SEE will provide the next generation of social entrepreneurs with the skills needed to create and manage innovative organizations that serve society using business tools,” said Mr. Slade.

“We’re excited to see an initiative like this coming out of Memorial, which will support Shorefast’s future endeavours to develop sustainable communities.”

The first cohort of MBA-SEE students will begin classes in the fall of 2018. Applications are now being accepted.

Tight-knit learning community

MBA-SEE students will take 17 courses on a full-time basis during the fall and winter academic semesters.

In the spring and summer semesters, they’ll complete a four-month internship and conclude their program by sharing their experiences with faculty and peers.

As a cohort, students will benefit from events tailored to their program such as an orientation week and special receptions with social innovators and entrepreneurs.

They’ll also learn from a social enterprise champion from a local business or non-profit organization who has demonstrated leadership in social responsibility and will act as a role model for students.

“The graduates of this program will be able to help make the world a better place, and that’s something we all need to be working towards.” – Dr. Isabelle Dostaler

The cohort model also allows students to benefit from a tight-knit learning community, allowing them to build a professional network that will last a lifetime.

“This program is designed to create agents of change,” said Dr. Dostaler.

“Our students will gain the skills to manage social enterprises and to create profitable and social business opportunities. Whether they go on to start their own ventures or work in existing organizations, the graduates of this program will be able to help make the world a better place, and that’s something we all need to be working towards.”

More information about the MBA-SEE program is online.


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