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February 2, 2012

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It may be the start of something wonderful.  A collaborative partnership betweenMount Saint Vincent University (the Mount), the Centre for Entrepreneurship Education & Development (CEED) and Dalhousie University has resulted in Social Enterprise for a Day, a multi-department funded event taking place February 3 and 4. Approximately 150 youth from universities, Nova Scotia Community College, local high schools and CEED’s priority youth programs will gather at the Mount  to discuss, develop and run a social enterprise. 

Participants will generate social enterprise ideas on Friday night, moving into the planning and operational stages on Saturday. The social enterprises will transform from ideas to real businesses in action throughout HRM. Participants will be mentored through the planning process by local, socially-minded businesses and entrepreneurs, including Sarah Craig of I Heart Bikes and Sean Gallagher of Local Source. 

“This conference was the result of a strong, collaborative effort,” says Dr. Peter Mombourquette, Chair of the Mount’s Business and Tourism Department. “The Mount is looking forward to hosting the event as it will provide participants a unique opportunity to learn from social entrepreneurs while developing and operating their own social enterprise.”

The event will begin with opening remarks from  Deputy Minister Simon d’Entremont of Economic Rural Development & Tourism, followed by an inspiring call to action by keynote speaker Ben Barry. Ben shatters the myth that young people have to wait until they have decades of experience before they can begin their own companies. Instead, he shows how youth have all of the knowledge and skills to begin their entrepreneurial journeys today.

Ben will share the adventures and experiences of building Ben Barry Agency Inc. from the basement of his family home to international offices. He will explore strategies such as starting a business with limited capital, developing mentors, finding a niche, growing a venture, and creating social change through business.

For the purpose of the event, ‘social entrepreneur’ has been defined as a business owner who measures their success not solely by profit, but also by the positive impact their business has on communities. Social entrepreneurs take the same risk as entrepreneurs while moving to make and instill positive changes.

Technical support will be provided by Wired Flare, BrandWeb Marketing and members of the Radian 6 team to maximize participants’ marketing efforts.  In addition, a community development connection will be made through BALLE NS and CBDC support.

The pilot weekend is a capacity-building opportunity targeting the future leaders and contributors to Nova Scotia’s social and economic viability. So if you are approached by a group of students on February 5, please support their enterprise and let them know they are doing a good thing – for business and the community.

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Media Contacts:

Cindy James                             Lindsay LaFosse                                  Colin Craig
CEED                                         Mount Saint Vincent University            Dalhousie University
902.877.1863                            902.457.6132                                       902.223.3981