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MUN creates Centre for Social Enterprise

MUN president and vice-chancellor Gary Kachanoski welcomes everyone to the launch of the Centre of Social Enterprise during a ceremony in the school of music Thursday.
MUN president and vice-chancellor Gary Kachanoski welcomes everyone to the launch of the Centre of Social Enterprise during a ceremony in the school of music Thursday.

Memorial University has developed a centre at its St. John’s campus focused on nurturing social entrepreneurship in the province.

The Centre for Social Enterprise is a campus-wide initiative led by a partnership between the faculty of business administration, the school of social work and the school of music. In a ceremony held on campus Thursday, several speakers talked about the centre’s purpose and how it’s being funded.

According to the university’s news release outlining how the centre will work, it will “link faculty members across the university to work together to strengthen understanding of social enterprise and social entrepreneurship; and help prospective social entrepreneurs convert their ideas into businesses that provide social, cultural and environmental benefits.”

The Opera Roadshow, a MUN-based opera touring program that travels to remote communities, opened the ceremony with song before MUN president Gary Kachanoski led discussions on what the centre has to offer.

“The Centre for Social Enterprise capitalizes on the long history of social innovation in Newfoundland and Labrador and further advances the reputation of Memorial University as a national leader in understanding and advancing social enterprises and social entrepreneurship,” he said.

Nicole Helwig, who is the centre’s manager, says the centre is just getting started and has big plans.

“In the future, we plan to continue building smart partnerships to expand our reach and impact,” she said. “We also aim to engage students throughout the province, initiate more community conversations and support more projects and initiatives.”

Innovation Minister Christopher Mitchelmore represented the provincial government and said the centre’s goals mesh well with the province’s own.

“Our government recognizes that social enterprise development is important to the economy, and collectively our efforts focus on strengthening, promoting and advancing opportunities for social enterprises, as well as on encouraging entrepreneurial business models,” he said.  

The Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation is contributing $225,000, with $225,000 coming from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and the Suncor Energy Foundation also provided financial support.

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