Beedie students building socially impactful careersJun 20, 2012
As a result of economic uncertainty and a less-than-optimal employment outlook both globally and locally, some students at the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University are taking an alternative path to growing their careers. In the process, they are making hands-on contributions to the economy and society through entrepreneurial activity, community engagement, and international development.
A case in point is Education Generation, founded by Shawn Smith, a Beedie School of Business alumnus and current lecturer in innovation and entrepreneurship at the school. Education Generation is an online community, which crowd funds higher-education scholarships and directly partners with innovative educational programs globally. To date, Education Generation, which has been recognized with the 2011 United Nations affiliated World Summit Youth Award, has funded more than 300 scholarships for students in ten countries, raising over $100,000 in early funding from corporate and private donors.
“I find it very exciting and empowering to know that we have the ability to shape our own careers while committing our time to worthwhile causes we are passionate about,” says Jevta Lukic, interim Executive Director of Education Generation. “Today, more than ever, we need to create our own opportunities and not wait for things to fall into our lap.”
Dylan Hrycyshen, an intern at Education Generation, shares similar thoughts: “The first move to building a career is surrounding ones’ self with a team built around the ideals you share,” he says.
“Through involvement in social entrepreneurship initiatives, I can gain high-level experience and be given the autonomy to make a serious impact in the organization”
This semester, such students interested in launching social impact ventures had the opportunity to partake in SFU’s Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator (SEA), a social venture accelerator program run by the Beedie School of Business. The intensive two-month program, led by Smith, saw the launch of 10 projects in various fields. For example, a social venture called Prism Bags is using waste products to create fashionable bags, while another project called Life Booster is developing a mobile application and wristband to allow people with full-time jobs to develop healthy every day habits.
“I like developing my own business because I’m constantly seeing new ways to improve lives with products,” says Tink Newman, a student in the accelerator program who is launching Foodavinci, a medical recipe website that makes cooking fun and convenient for people with multiple allergies and food intolerance. “You’re not in it to just make money, but you want to see your product answer a real need.”
As for advice to aspiring social entrepreneurship, Newman says “Do it while you’re in school — you have so much support!”
To learn move about Education Generation and view the current students in need of scholarship support, visit: http://bit.ly/KAPGd7
To read more about the Beedie School of Business Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator, visit: http://bit.ly/MstBvq