Conference at the Mount ignites a passion for social enterprise for student Mahtorrie Wilkinson
Mahtorrie Wilkinson is quickly adjusting to a Canadian winter. As a transfer student from Bermuda College she comes from a much warmer climate, but is embracing her new environment with open arms. She brings with her a humanitarian business sense that drives her passion for socially responsible entrepreneurship. On January 29 and 30, 2015 she attended the fourth annual Social Enterprise for a Day Conference (SE4D) at the Mount, and had the opportunity to learn from local Halifax experts. The experience reinvigorated her commitment to social responsibility.
Discovering her own potential as a social entrepreneur
Mahtorrie is currently working on her Bachelor of Business Administration
degree at the Mount, with a major in Management and a minor in Sociology. Her education is providing her a foundation for the small business she runs in Bermuda. Called Camp Pioneers, Mahtorrie’s organization offers educational activities to kids when they are not in school. She became an entrepreneur in the wake of a recession which made it difficult to find a job. Mahtorrie prides herself on providing a cost-effective opportunity for children to learn and grow.
“I’ve been trying to figure out how I can base my business around social enterprise and as I discussed it with my group at the SE4D conference, I found out that I am a social enterprise,” Mahtorrie said.
Little things can lead to great things
At SE4D 2015, students had the opportunity to learn from a panel of social entrepreneurs who have developed their businesses to not only be profitable, but also benefit the community. A particular message from Dave Upton of Common Good Solutions resonated with Mahtorrie. “He said differentiate yourself, find a niche and earn that niche. I love that because I like to be different. You want to be different in an outstanding way, different in a way that is contributing and giving back.”
On the second day of the conference, groups of students went into the city to test out the social enterprises they created on the first day. Mahtorrie’s group set up a “Superbowl Throw” which presented two buckets, one for each opposing Superbowl team, and asked pedestrians to “put their money where their heart is” – in the bucket of their preferred team. All proceeds went to the IWK Health Centre.
“We made a positive impact socially,” she said. “I think we spread unity in the community. Our social enterprise – even though we were giving back to charity – we were also spreading a good feeling and message throughout the community.”
In the future, Mahtorrie’s been inspired to “go deeper into protecting the environment” and hopes to play a role in encouraging others to recycle and have trash-free lunches. Motivating others to invoke change in the community is something that she intends to bring home to Bermuda. “The little things can lead to greater things,” she said. “Now that I’m up, I want to bring people up with me.”