Recap Social Entrepreneurship: The Next Steps

This week’s event was jammed packed with activity. It was a follow-up to our previous Social Entrepreneurship 101 event a few weeks ago but with a rather “get your hands dirty” emphasis. The McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship used workshops to create a more interactive experience, which gave attendees the chance to brainstorm solutions to current social issues.

Jonathan-Félix Giroux presenting CHNGR 

Jonathan-Félix Giroux, speaking on behalf of CHNGR, started the evening off, with introducing us to CHNGR, an organization that is growing the number of collective and social entrepreneurship projects in Quebec, in addition to those stemming from social innovation. They achieve this mission by inspiring students and collaborating with professors, student associations, career services and entrepreneurship centres regarding social entrepreneurship.

Kailin Kimsa and Dan Schechner presenting MyVision

Next, Kailin Kimsa and Dan Schechner, came to present MyVision, whose mission is to solve the world’s most pressing issues though social business. Specifically, in Quebec, MyVision is concerned with the high school dropout rate. In fact, Quebec has one of the highest high school dropout rates in Canada. MyVision decided to tackle this issue and created an initiative called LIFE (Learning Is For Everyone). LIFE focuses on reducing the dropout rate through social enterprise. They are also looking to hire mentors this year. Application deadline ends November 4th, and they can be found on their home website.

 Nancy Neamtan, a Strategic Consultant at Chantier de l’Économie Sociale
Nancy Neamtan, a Strategic Consultant at Chantier de l’Économie Sociale

Invited by CHNGR, Nancy Neamtan, a Strategic Consultant at Chantier de l’Économie Sociale, gave us a lengthy and detailed presentation about their work here in Quebec. I particularly enjoyed her argument about the failure of trickle down economic theory, and how governments are looking for different avenues for maximizing social, environmental and cultural impact. If the gap between rich and poor is increasing, as is it in many parts of the world, the theory that corporate tax breaks benefit society may not be as effective as the theory suggests.

Workshop solutions at play
Workshop solutions at play

Eventually, we came around to our first exciting workshop of the night organized by MyVision. Groups were presented with four different scenarios where social problems were at play. For example, you were presented with a case in Eastern Russia where electricity became too expensive for many residents during cold snaps. Which of the eight Social Business models presented would best fit finding a solution to keep its residents safe and warm? Some of these models included Impact Investing, Yunus Social Business and Mutual Organizations. After 15 minutes of discussion, groups would present how they could apply their social business model to the particular situation.

Camille Simm, VP Strategy for the McGill Dobson Student Executive Team (SET), presenting the second Workshop on the Social Business Model Canvas

Our last Workshop of the night was run and presented by Camille Simm, VP Strategy for the McGill Dobson Student Executive Team (SET). It focused on using the same social business models used for the previous workshop solutions and applying them to a business model canvas plan, which allows spectators to visualize many aspects of the solution’s implementation.

On November 18th, MyVision will be hosting a Social Business Summit where a grant will be given to the best social enterprise model. If you’re interested in competing, make sure to contact them at [email protected].

Our next event will be a Startup & Business Plan Writing Workshop on November 9th.


Calvin Wren

Calvin is the Editor-in-Chief for The Dobson Chronicles. He’s in U3, finishing a triple concentration in Finance, Information Systems, and Strategic Management. Calvin founded Citybuddy, a travel service for women wishing to travel alone and in security. He also feeds his own music blog and is fascinated by e-commerce.