Recently our agency, Phil, was invited to the launch of McGill’s SEI program. SEI stands for Social Economy Initiative and is the brainchild of the Desautels Faculty of Integrated Management. The reason I am writing about this is that the launch of this program was for me the true validation of what has been said for a long time.

It is a new program that will try to achieve three things:

  1. To prepare a dynamic workforce to lead and serve organizations within the social economy.

  2. To conduct leading-edge research into the social economy for the purpose of actionable knowledge.

  3. To provide catalyzing experiential learning opportunities outside the classroom for our students by engaging with individuals and organizations active in the social economy.

The data on volunteering, donations and general “care” in young adults is overwhelming. You can find evidence and statistics showing that teens and tweens are taking lots actions to help those in need, now more than ever. We could argue that maybe it’s because of the rise of social media, the possibility of online and mobile donations or just because of the bigger general connectivity that unites us all, citizens of the world. But to me, the fact that there is now a program like this, in Montreal, is a solid proof that not only the next generation wants to be successful, they want to have a purpose.

The launch was an interesting event under the shape of an open discussion with Paul Martin (former Prime Minister of Canada), famous author and MBA teacher Henry Mintzberg along with Nancy Neamtam from le Chantier de l’Économie Sociale, a non-profit helper in Montreal. The discussion was around the future of “business with a triple bottom line” and just how could this change the world we live in. All speakers had great insights on what is broken in the system and what could be the answers to those problems. It was a real delight, especially in the question segment where people from the audience (mainly composed of students, business managers and non-profit managers) got to ask questions to the panel.

The questions asked lead to this gem of an answer:

“Responsible corporations are not gonna make up for irresponsible corporations” -Henry Mintzberg

The previous quote from Mintzberg might sound all doom-and-gloom at first but there’s a silver-lining. He is hopeful, and convinced, that a growing number of Social Initiatives can make up for it. And to inaugurate such a program is to equip tomorrow’s entrepreneurs with knowledge and tools to be better prepared in order to achieve this balance.

In the same vein, Université de Montréal now offers a certificate in philanthropic management. It is not as business oriented as the SEI but it serves a very important yet different purpose. It offers insights from professionals on fundraising, sponsorships, legacy donations and virtually everything that a non-profits manager has to deal with. Tomorrow’s foundations are in good hands.

It goes to show that not only there is an interest in keeping a “balance” in this world but that the social marketers and philanthropists of tomorrow now have greater toolbox to play with.

So no, it isn’t all doom-and-gloom.

Written by Franck Bernard