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An HEC Montréal team wins the 2011 Social Enterprise Cup

October 31, 2011

An HEC Montréal team won this year’s Social Enterprise Cup (SEC), on October 22, at Concordia University. The team consisted of Joseph Khoury (MBA 2010 and student in the specialized graduate diploma in sustainable management and development program), and Liza Charbel (MBA 2010), coached by professors Marlei Pozzebon (International Affairs) and Luciano Barin Cruz (Management).

What is the SEC?

The competition, presented by the Social Enterprises Group, in co-operation with The Network for Business Sustainability (NBS), HEC Montréal and Concordia University’s David O’Brien Centre for Sustainable Enterprise, is a social business plan competition to help foster social entrepreneurship worldwide and encourage dialogue regarding social sustainability.

This was the first edition of the competition, held as part of the SMEs: Moving toward Sustainable Development conference organized by NBS. Out of some twenty entries, a dozen were selected in the first round; this list was pared down to five for the semi-finals, and three for the finals. The grand prize is a purse of $7,500 and consulting services and guidance from successful entrepreneurs.

The winning proposal

The business plan submitted by the winning team, entitled Kamaka, is intended to regenerate the environment, promote food security and alleviate poverty in an ongoing way in the desertified environment of the Sahel, in northern Mali. It proposes to do so through “natural” agriculture, based on agroforestry principles and an integrated approach to the problems of soil degradation and water management (permaculture). This social business model will lead to lasting socioeconomic benefits for the community thanks to such profit-making activities as the marketing of agricultural products. Profits will be reinvested in Kamaka to make it self-supporting and guarantee its future.

Philippe Bénard, another student in the Graduate Diploma in Management and Sustainable Development program, took third place for his “Electrobac” proposal, offering a concrete solution to the problem of collecting electronic waste.

Philippe Bénard, Joseph Khoury and Liza Charbel.


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