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Calgary collaboration shows social entrepreneurship is the future of business

SOURCE: Jeff Whyte / Shutterstock
The new University of Calgary centre will teach the next generation of business minds to always consider the ethical and societal implications.

The University of Calgary will use a CA$5-million donation to establish a “social entrepreneurship centre” at the university’s Haskayne School of Business, to provide students with tailored experiences as well as hands-on learning opportunities to increase their skills in social enterprise.

The donation comes from the Trico Charitable Foundation, that believes social entrepreneurship can be leveraged to close the gaps in society. The group’s ethos is to always ask, “what could be accomplished if for-profit companies built solving the world’s social problems directly into their core business?”

Their latest donation will help further this idea by teaching the next generation of business minds to always consider the ethical and societal implications.

social entrepreneurship
Dean Jim Dewald, Haskayne School of Business; UCalgary President Ed McCauley; Trico Charitable Foundation co-founders Eleanor and Wayne Chiu; Patrick Chiu, MBA’18; and BComm student Sanya Chaudhry. Source: University of Calgary 

“The motivation of a social enterprise is to solve a social problem, both environmental and social. It could be poverty, it could be something to do with climate change — but the initial drive, the goal is the create change in some area that there’s a problem,” Houston Peschl, an instructor of entrepreneurship and innovation at the Haskayne School, told Global News.

“What we’re hoping to do with the [Trico Foundation Social Entrepreneurship Centre] is allow the students to experience content that is aligned with the power of business as a force for good as well [as] allow for more research to take place in this area.”

To stir interest and get the entrepreneurial ball rolling, the Foundation and the university have also teamed up to introduce a CA$100,000 Social EnterPrize award which will be awarded every two years to Canadian organisations demonstrating best practices, impact and innovation in social enterprise.

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Students of Haskayne Business School are getting excited about the new facility and the prospect of breaking down the barriers between profit and social responsibility.

“I think there can be a stigma around social entrepreneurship. People don’t always know exactly what it is,” student Sanya Chaudhry told CTV News.

“This is a space where two worlds are coming together, and people are able to create businesses that are both profitable and sustainable.”

This is far from the only collaboration the Foundation has done with Canada’s higher education sector. The group has also set up ReCode, a project that supports Canadian universities and colleges to build a more just and sustainable world.

social entrepreneurship
Students of the University of Calgary’s Haskayne Business School are getting excited about the new facility and the prospect of breaking down the barriers between profit and social responsibility. Source: Ronnie Chua / Shutterstock

Launched in 2014, the group has funded 26 universities in projects as well as work with almost 100 universities and colleges across the country.towards a sustainable future.

Working with the University of Northern British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, BC Institute of Technology, and Vancouver Island University, the project helped establish the first-ever “BC Collaborative for Social Infrastructure.”

They are working towards changing the concept of good business and instilling a strong social conscience in the next generation of entrepreneurs. As Paschl puts it:

“It’s about recognising that value goes beyond just a profit, and that can be a very strategic advantage in any industry.”