MyVision (MV) is a global enterprise of young people with a mission to find a solution to the world’s social issues through social business. MV McGill came to fruition in 2012 thanks to business partners and McGill undergraduate students Yashvi Shah and Joanna Klimczak. It has since evolved into a global network and is one of the largest networks in the world of young leaders building social business.
“Social business” is a novel business model, developed by Professor Muhammad Yunus, 2006 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. It is characterized by a non-dividend, non-loss structure with a goal of resolving a social problem.
“Social business is something that falls between a business and a charity,” said Clément Ponsonnet, Vice President of University Affairs at MV McGill. “It has the same goal as a charity […] but it works exactly like a business. It generates profit and it’s sustainable, but it also works to solve a social problem.”
Yashvi Shah, president of MV McGill, believes there is a lot of potential with regards to the social business model on campus.
“At McGill, we’re increasingly realizing that there are a lot of social entrepreneurs on campus [who] don’t necessarily follow this [social business] model […] but are still doing social good in the community,” Shah said. “So what we stand for is social business as a whole.”
MV’s platform rests on three central pillars: Education, creation, and connection. With 17 chapters across the world, MV aims to educate students about social business, to create their own enterprise, and to connect talented youth with mentors in the social business space around the world.
All of these pillars come together in one of MV McGill’s social enterprise, Learning Is For Everyone (LIFE). Aiming to reduce the high school dropout rate in Montreal, LIFE is a yearlong project that connects university mentors with high school students.
“By paying [the mentors], it’s sustainable and it has a social impact, [thus] making it a social enterprise,” Shah explained.
Mehreen Perwaiz, a member of the communications sector, explained the different sections of MV McGill: Youth engagement, communications, university affairs, and social business and consulting. According to Perwaiz, the education aspect works to inform students on campus and beyond about the growing field of social business through youth engagement, which works with high school and CEGEP students through workshops and mentorship.
“We’ve reached around 200 students, and what’s impressive is now Dawson [College] even has [its] own [MV] chapter,” Perwaiz said.
MV McGill is hosting their second Social Business Summit on Tuesday, March 24 at the Notman House. According to Ponsonnet, there is a speaker series, a networking period, and a dinner. The speakers include Anita Nowak, Director of Operations for McGill’s Social Learning for Social Impact massive open online course (MOOC); Henry Mintzberg, internationally renowned academic and author on business management; Richard St-Pierre, the president of the C2 Montreal conference; and Bernard d’Arche, a McGill student and a social entrepreneur, who created an enterprise to assist the rebuilding of Lac Mégnatic. This idea won the Dobson cup, and d’Arche plans on raising approximately $1 million by the end of this year.
“[After the tragedy that left this Quebec community destroyed,] d’Arche created a business incubator, which is a business centre for all those business owners who had their offices destroyed, as well as for new entrepreneurs, providing a place where they can all work and create a network of businesses,” Ponsonnet said.
Yunus has guided Shah, Klimczak, and hundreds of young people from around the world towards a better future. With the help of Yunus, Shah said she hopes MV McGill will expand across the whole campus.
“We are almost exclusively a management club at McGill, so in five years, we’d like to […] expand away from Bronfman to a base that is more central and more easily accessible for everyone on campus,” Shah said. “We know the value that interdisciplinary cross-collaboration can bring to social entrepreneurship. That way, if anyone has an idea, [MV] McGill can make it happen for them.”