Jack Du believes in social enterprise and is working on a project that will encourage people to look beyond labels.
Du, who recently completed the Bachelor of Business Administration program at MHC, attended the Active Citizens and Social Enterprise (ACSE) Program in Calgary in October to explore the concept of social enterprise and how it can be connected to business. The program was launched by the United Nations Association of Canada and British Council Canada to train youth on how to address the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) using the ACSE framework.
Program applicants were challenged to highlight an issue in their community using social enterprise, a business model that addresses social or environmental problems and reinvests all or most of the profits into its mission.
“I welcomed this opportunity. It was very intense but I learned a lot from the experience,” says Du, who trained alongside 17 other program participants from across the province. “I truly believe social enterprise is the future for communities and business. Consumers are more willing to support companies that demonstrate social enterprise.”
With the knowledge gained from the three-day workshop, Du chose to tackle SDG #16: Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies. His social enterprise concept is to produce t-shirts that feature various labels or stereotypes and challenge people to look beyond those labels using a hashtag. He is currently working on a video to pitch his idea which, if selected, will give him the opportunity to attend the ACSE Youth Innovation Summit in Ottawa and be eligible for seed funding to grow his social enterprise.
Originally from China, Du drew from his personal experiences as an international student living in Canada and identified there is more to bring people together than to divide them. After spending three years with his homestay dad, a Christian minister, and meeting roommates from a variety of religious and cultural backgrounds, Du, a self-proclaimed half Buddhist, wants people to see others as individuals and not judge them based on stereotypes.
“Talking about differences can reduce misconceptions. It really opened my mind,” says Du about his Canadian experience. “I appreciated my time here.”
To complete his pitch before the end of January, Du is looking for volunteers to assist with the t-shirt design process. If you are interested in learning more about this project, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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