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Just three months after graduating this year from the University of Waterloo, Jonathan Rivard’s startup company had generated $130,000 in revenue.
No, the 28-year-old is not another high-tech hotshot from the university in Waterloo, Ont., known for its innovative graduates. He is among a new generation of social entrepreneurs who want to make the world a better place, and make money doing it.
Social entrepreneurship – whether as new or existing ventures, with an environmental or social-justice focus – is a hot topic on campus. Universities are adding courses and programs, establishing incubators to nurture ideas and offering mentoring and other support for those who see a career in this expanding sector.
“It is a generational zeitgeist, no doubt about it,” says Anita Nowak, integrating director of the Social Economy Initiative, at McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management in Montreal.