MUN 1st campus in Canada to offer MBA program in social enterprise and entrepreneurship

A new graduate business program focused on doing social good will be offered this fall for students with any undergraduate degree and two years of volunteer experience.

Program to be offered this fall for students with undergraduate degree and 2 years of volunteer experience

Memorial University's business facility will be offering a new master's degree program this September in social enterprise and entrepreneurship. (Twitter/@MUN_Students)

A new graduate business program focused on doing social good will be offered at Memorial University this fall, which is the first time a degree of its kind has been offered in Canada.

The master of business administration in social enterprise and entrepreneurship is a new degree launched by MUN's Faculty of Business Administration.

It's a one-year program that's "focused on developing change agents committed to sustainable and social business practices in public, private and not-for-profit sectors," according to the faculty.

Dr. Isabelle Dostaler is the dean of MUN's Faculty of Business Administration. (MUN Gazette)

In the program, students will learn how to work in organizations that try to achieve cultural and environmental change, and how to bring skills of social change-makers to regular businesses.

Isabelle Dostaler, the dean of MUN's School of Business, said Newfoundland and Labrador provides lots of subject matter for students to learn about bringing about social change.

"We call it social enterprise but it has been in existence for a while. This notion of people helping out each other," Dostaler told CBC Radio's Central Morning.

"In villages or remote communities where life is difficult, people have learned to help each other."

Drawing expertise from rural Newfoundland

Dostaler said there are several solid examples around the province where communities have used business ventures to drive positive change in the community.

She points to the Fishing for Success campaign in Petty Harbour, which brings people out in boats for the recreational ground fishery so they can experience a piece of Newfoundland history and culture.

Another example is the Shorefast Foundation, which has helped make the Fogo Island area a renowned international tourist destination.

A group of refugees takes a trip around the inner harbour area of Petty Harbour in a wooden Grand Banks dory, as part of the Fishing For Success program. (CBC)

Newfoundland and Labrador is a fertile ground for these types of operations, says Dostaler, which is how the business faculty was able to do proper research and draw from different groups' expertise to build the social enterprise program.

We have applicants from Africa, China, India. So we are very encouraged by this.- Isabelle Dostaler

"Think about organizations such as the Rising Tide Theatre Company, which has revitalized Trinity," she said.

"More and more these organizations are seen as the way for people to really help their community. Not only to survive but to thrive."

Dostaler said the type of students they're seeking for the program can have an undergrad degree of any kind, but must have at least two years of full-time work or volunetwee experience to apply.

She said there already seems to be considerable interest in the program around the world, and that they wanted to launch this September to build on the momentum that exists for more socially conscious people involved in business.

The internationally-known Fogo Island Inn is just part of the Shorefast Foundation's efforts to revitalize the Fogo Island area. (Source: fogoislandinn.ca)

Even traditional businesses and corporations are increasingly aware of social responsibility and are creating new positions in that area, said Dostaler, which is why MUN could be a leader when it comes to educating people in the field.

"[Applicants] could be people that want to create their own social venture or they can go work for existing social ventures, but they can also play this role of social change makers within a traditional organizations," Dostaler said.

"It is an opportunity to really position Memorial well within the rest of Canada. Right now we have applicants from Africa, China, India. So we are very encouraged by this."

With files from Central Morning