Monday, January 30, 2012

SE4D - Redefining Success

The Business & Tourism department at MSVU is a community of people, experiences, opinions and voices. Our blog will reflect that community with the inclusion of guest bloggers who have stories to share of value to our community.
Today, Melissa Gerrow talks about the exciting Student Enterprise Conference coming up this weekend. Melissa is a 4th year BBA student currently completing a Co-op placement within the Department of Business & Tourism. She plays a crucial role helping to organize events including the Caritas Day food drive and this semester's Career Week. 

Social Enterprise for a Day - Defining a new form of success! 

The Social Enterprise for a Day Conference is right around the corner and I couldn’t be more excited! 

MSVU’s Department of Business and Tourism, along with CEED and the Norman Newman Centre for Entrepreneurship at Dalhousie, have collaborated to create a hands-on, multi-day event to teach students about social enterprise.

On Friday, Feb 3rd and Saturday, Feb 4th, students from Mount Saint Vincent University, Dalhousie University, the Nova Scotia Community College, and some Halifax Regional Municipal High Schools will all be focused on redefining what it means for business enterprises to achieve success. What a fantastic opportunity for networking! Student teams will engage in an intense, but friendly weekend competition. Their goal – to create the best possible social enterprise, one that works on multiple levels: financially, environmentally, and one that invests socially in their region. 

Why is social enterprise important? An entrepreneur’s success is generally measured financially, by dollars and return on investment. But social entrepreneurs take a ‘big picture’ perspective, looking at how the outcomes of their ventures improve communities. They consider how a business idea can play a positive role on society and make our world a better place. 

As a business student, it is easy to get lost in the numbers and the rat race of getting ahead of the competition, in earning more revenue or making greater profits. Perhaps this focus is short sighted and we complain about issues within our community when, as potential future entrepreneurs, we could be doing something about them. 

Sometimes the best ideas come from the sources closest to us.  Take our Friday night conference keynote speaker, Mr. Ben Barry as an example. He was only 14 years old when he started his modeling agency in his parents basement, all because a friend of his was told she was “too big” to be a model.

Challenging this barrier, Mr. Barry took matters into his own hands. He began sending out her photos, building a business around the images of real women. That is how the successful Ben Barry Agency developed to now have a client list that includes: Holt Renfrew, The Gap, Macys, and Armani. Mr. Barry has won a laundry list of awards including, the CIBC Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case for his leadership in advancing the equality of Canadian women. He has also been the spotlight of many conversations around business and social matters, including interviews with Fashion Television, CNN, and Oprah Winfrey. 

I am ready to be inspired by Mr. Barry’s journey. It’s not every day I get to meet a successful business and fashion icon- not to mention meet someone who is been on the Oprah Winfrey Show!  

“The best part about being successful is you can carry forth your ethics and values and let them make an impact on the world you live in. And when you see their impact taking effect, that’s what’s incredible and that’s a cool job.” 
–Ben Barry, speaking on the Oprah Winfrey Show

Mr Barry will kick off Social Enterprise for a Day Conference this Friday night. After that, the students will be divided into groups to compete against each other for the best social enterprise idea. Putting our heads together on Friday night, we are bound to come up with some great ideas. On Saturday, we get to hit the streets of Halifax, putting our social enterprise concepts into action! At the end of the day, we meet back at Mount Saint Vincent University for the judging and a debriefing.

This weekend will be exciting and energizing. I know there will be lots to learn. I know that I’ll meet some great people, and I’m positive that everyone will have a lot of fun.

This conference is an event that you don’t want to miss!

Want to follow along with all the action? Look up #SE4D on Twitter for all the action. 

Submitted by Melissa Gerrow
BBA Co-op

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