Beedie launches social venture accelerator program

Mar 21, 2012

The Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University is launching a new social venture accelerator program, the SFU Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator (SEA), designed specifically for entrepreneurial students with social impact ideas or an interest in helping teams launch social ventures.

Sponsored by Vancity, the SEA will help students move ideas from concept to reality, and aims to develop entrepreneurs that will help address tomorrow’s social, environmental, and economic challenges.

Designed for students looking to go beyond the classroom and learn what it takes to launch a social venture, students may enter as individuals or teams with an idea in place, or join a team in the class. They will work to generate a feasible business model, meet with clients to discuss project details, and gain an understanding of social impact.

The SEA will be led by Shawn Smith, a lecturer in innovation and entrepreneurship at the Beedie School of Business. “The Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator acts as a bridge between the classroom and the real world for students that want to know what it takes to build and launch ventures that balance social impact and financial sustainability,” says Smith.

Participants will acquire skills, knowledge and experience through a combination of lectures, case studies, models, mentors and guest speakers. In addition to the instructor, each team will have a dedicated mentor and exposure to experts, investors and entrepreneurs who will provide feedback and guidance.

“SEA is a valuable initiative,” says Andy Broderick, Vice President of Community Investment with Vancity. “Vancity invests in social enterprise and social venture because it supports our vision of redefining wealth, blending financial, social and environmental returns for our members and their communities. Supporting students who have an appetite for turning social ideas into social enterprises is in line with how we are trying to use credit to accelerate community impact.”

Along with providing participating students funding from day one and tools to build, test and launch their ideas, the program will also offer potential summer internship opportunities for students to gain further experience.

There are 24 available positions in the SEA, with entrance by application open to all SFU students with an interest in social ventures. The program is scheduled to run on Monday and Wednesday evenings from May 7 – June 18.

For more information on the Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator, contact Shawn Smith.

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