Grade 12 McEwen Leadership students participated in a Social Impact Entrepreneurship Workshop last week in preparation for their McEwen Entrepreneurship Fair in December.
In small groups, the students have already generated business venture ideas and started preparing a full business plan, which they will pitch to judges at the upcoming Entrepreneurship Fair. The purpose of the Social Impact Entrepreneurship Workshop was to introduce the students to the concept of social impact, and challenge them to incorporate this into their business ventures.
The workshop was facilitated by Ellen Martin, Co-Founder and CEO of SoJo, an entrepreneurship consulting company in Toronto dedicated to helping organizations grow their entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship programs. Ellen began the workshop by introducing the students to the overall concept of social impact and profiling case studies of organizations that have initiated positive social change through their business activities (Me to We, Textbooks for Change, etc.). The students were then asked to us a ‘Social Impact Idea Canvas’ to evaluate their own business venture plans and how they can ensure that their business will have a positive social impact on the community. After taking the time to work a plan into their business ventures, the students presented to the group, answered questions, and received feedback.
The students were inspired when they realized that it was possible to ensure that any business venture has a positive social impact, and some of the students even transformed their business venture plans to focus on positive social impact as their primary business product. “We have completely changed the focus of our business venture now,” said Sean Lindsay ’17. “Instead of designing a product that is marketed to the general public for the purposes of simply generating profit, we are now going to design a product that aims to create positive social change in the community by facilitating volunteering and the accumulation of student volunteer hours. We think that not only will our product benefit its users and the community, but that there is also the possibility to earn profit.”
The Social Entrepreneurship Workshop is one of many events planned for the grade 12 McEwen Leadership class this year. The course is a key element of the McEwen Leadership program, an academic program modelled after the vision of Old Boy Rob McEwen ’69.
Story by Sean Ludwig, Course Director, McEwen Leadership Program