Startup basics – now in “social” flavour too!

How does one learn to be an entrepreneur? Head to MaRS tonight for CIBC presents Entrepreneurship 101 — a non-credit course that introduces individuals (primarily budding scientists with amazing innovative ideas) to the entrepreneurial and commercialization process.

This year, we’re taking a more nuanced and inclusive approach.  We’re including social entrepreneurship in the mix and tweaking some of the curriculum to fit this new diverse audience.  (For those asking yourself “What’s a social entrepreneur?” consider this definition: someone who recognizes a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to organize, create and manage a venture to make social change. Check out the definition on the Ashoka site for more on this definition.)

Why the change?  What does this mean?

As MaRS evolves, we’re recognizing this emerging space in Canada and the need to support and foster its growth.  Furthermore, we recognize that the same entrepreneurial mindset and activities that capture the mind of a “classic entrepreneur” also capture the mind of a social entrepreneur.  Finally, with such global and pressing issues as climate change in the forefront of our minds, we believe that silos must be broken down and a more inclusive, integrative approach must be taken to understanding, analyzing and combating these problems.  Social entrepreneurs often do just that.

This means that this flagship MaRS program will retain all of its fantastic modules and will also include some programming around entrepreneurship from a social perspective as well.  You’ll benefit from this rich approach, from the networking opportunities as well as from the new speakers we’ve lined up.

Who can you expect this year?  On October 7th we are pleased to announce that Harry Rosen will speak about his successful Canadian men’s retailing business and his commitment to fighting prostate cancer through Harry’s Spring Run-Off.  On November 17th we’ll hear from Steve Croft and Mark Bachman, two of Canada’s leading social businessmen, on their emerging social purpose business, Better the World.  On December 2nd we’ll welcome Jed Emerson, the creator of the blended value concept (PDF).  He will be joining us for a Q&A session around the formation of this concept, the value of metrics in the social innovation space and Jed’s path from the social sector to working for the hedge fund Uhuru Capital Management.   Right after the holiday break we’ll ring in 2010 with Michael McCain, President and CEO of Maple Leaf Foods and where entrepreneurship is a family affair.

And this is just beginning!

We hope that you will join us!  If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions, please send them to

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