The University of British Columbia is set to become a leading hub for social entrepreneurship and innovation focused on solving the world’s toughest challenges.
With a $500,000 grant from J. W. McConnell Family Foundation’s RECODE Program, the university will empower its community to explore new ways of using business tools and strategies to make positive change.
“Our students know they face unprecedented societal and environmental challenges, but I also know they possess the will, ideas and potential to meet them head on,” says UBC President Arvind Gupta. “With this funding from the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, UBC will equip students with the support they need to embolden their ideas and make them a reality.”
Led by the Sauder School of Business, UBC will tap, expand and integrate successful initiatives and programs across the university to create a network of resources and support dedicated to promoting social entrepreneurship and innovation.
- Undergraduate students will learn the fundamentals of social entrepreneurship in new course material developed for the UBC-wide Entrepreneurship 101 class.
- The UBC Centre for Community Engaged Learning will create experiential learning opportunities for students with social ventures.
- A five-week social venture boot-camp will be developed in collaboration with entrepreneurship@UBC, taking students from idea to social venture start-up.
- Finally, a UBC Impact Seed Fund will be established to invest in the promising social ventures originating at UBC.
“With this continuum of training, enabled by the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation’s generous support, we are creating the learning infrastructure necessary to substantially increase the number of social enterprises originating at UBC,” says Sauder’s Dean Robert Helsley, Grosvenor Professor of Cities, Business Economics and Public Policy.
“The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation’s investment will have a tremendous ripple effect as UBC begins to employ the resources the grant makes available,” says Associate Professor James Tansey, who leads research and teaching in social innovation and sustainability at Sauder. “I look forward to seeing the positive impact in our community and beyond that will result from their support.”
About social entrepreneurship
Social enterprises, also known as social ventures, are businesses with an innovative model that is changing the nature of enterprise. They can take a variety of structures, including non-profits, for-profits, co-ops, partnerships and more. Like other businesses, social enterprises aim to be economically self-sustainable. They earn enough money to pay employees a fair wage, cover all of their expenses, and support the business’ growth. But unlike other businesses, social enterprises have incorporated improving social, cultural, community or environmental outcomes into their business model. As their enterprises grow – so too do the benefits to society.
The most recent survey in British Columbia reported that non-profit social ventures alone provided paid employment to 4,500 in 2009. The survey also reported annual revenues of $46 million, training to 10,450, and services to 678,000 British Columbians. A new study by the Sauder School of Business in 2015 will examine the full sector of social enterprises in British Columbia.
e@UBC offers the leading entrepreneurship programs in Canada that deliver a world-class combination of education; venture creation and seed funding to maximize the number of successful ventures generated at UBC while inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs.
About the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation
The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation is a private philanthropic organization based in Montreal that supports Canadians in building a more innovative, inclusive, sustainable and resilient society. For more information, please visit: http://www.mcconnellfoundation.ca
About UBC’s start an evolution campaign
This gift forms a part of UBC’s start an evolution campaign, the most ambitious fundraising and alumni engagement campaign in Canadian history with the twin goal of raising $1.5 billion and involving 50,000 alumni annually in the life of the university by 2015. See more at: www.startanevolution.ubc.ca