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Posted on May 22, 2013

Canada’s First MBA in Social Enterprise Leadership

Canada’s First MBA in Social Enterprise Leadership

Another indicator of significant growth in sector

The Sandermoen School of Business is the first business school in Canada to announce an MBA and Executive MBA in Social Enterprise Leadership. The school, which has been working with professional advisors David LePage and Sandra Hamilton, to create a fully online specialty track MBA degree program, is registering the first cohort of students now for  fall 2013 start dates.

David LePage

David LePage

“I think we are at a tipping point in the sector” said David LePage, who has been a strong advocate and educator of enterprising non-profits for many years. LePage who is a member of the Social Enterprise Council of Canada and Team Leader at enp (Enterprising Non Profits) says “The Sandermoen MBA students will be at the forefront, challenged by fascinating and emerging topics quite unlike any other MBA program. The MBA in Social Enterprise Leadership draws upon the learning of academics globally and is grounded by the pragmatic leadership of trail blazing practitioners. This specialty track MBA brings academic rigour to the social enterprise eco-system, which is an important component in the development and professional advancement of the sector.” 

Last year, despite an extensive search Social Enterprise Business Consultant, Sandra Hamilton, was most surprised to learn that the Executive MBA in Social Enterprise that she wished to pursue, did not actually exist. Internationally, Oxford, Harvard and Stanford offered pricey on-campus social entrepreneur MBA programs, but not one business school anywhere was looking at meeting the unique needs of the rapidly growing social enterprise sector.

Hamilton, a B.C. Partner for Social Impact, business consultant and former business manager to Vancouver Olympic CEO John Furlong, and to well-known Olympic athletes such as Silken Laumann, is now enrolled in the Executive MBA specialty track program that she was instrumental in creating.

Sandra crop

Sandra Hamilton

“Blended value business skills and management expertise will be key requirements for the next generation of socially minded leaders looking at innovative ways to solve problems in our communities. The Sandermoen School of Business is entrepreneurial and is very aligned with my social values. I am passionate about applying business concepts to create social enterprises that stimulate rural economic development and produce vibrant communities. I don’t fit the more traditional MBA profile of a student seeking a career with a global multi- national.  I love the totally online format of this degree program, which allows me to connect with leading professors in the field of social enterprise. It is accessible and affordable professional development. Students can enrol from any community in Canada, or from anywhere else in the world.”

Large crop

David Large

“Creating Canada’s first MBA in Social Enterprise Leadership, to be delivered fully online, responds to demand from a new generation of business students and mid-life career changers across Canada who are seeking more meaningful work, and who need relevant business and leadership tools” said David Large, Dean at the Sandermoen School of Business at the University of Fredericton. “Future Social Enterprise leaders pursuing business careers in organisations with social missions face challenges which are unique to the sector. They are managing blended values businesses with two bottom lines, social mission and financial sustainability.  In such a rapidly evolving environment, Social Enterprise Leaders clearly recognize a need for very strong management skills while attempting to address complex social problems at the same time.”

Academics have long debated whether non-profit management degrees belonged in the school of business, public administration or social work? Over the last fifteen years we have seen a societal shift in attitudes and witnessed an increase in socially minded MBA’s who bring a valuable skill set to non-profit organizations running blended value businesses to achieve their social mission.

“Business acumen combined with technology and experience delivering online MBA programs provided an ideal platform for accessing emerging global knowledge and bringing social enterprise academic study opportunities into every local community. This connectivity facilitates shared knowledge of the best practices in social enterprise and allows students to ponder the unique questions arising from executives and board members operating in the sector” said Dean Large.

This historic academic first comes as Canada prepares to host 1,200 people from over 30 countries at the 6th Annual Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF) to be held October 2-4, 2013 in Calgary.

SEWF 2013 is proud to welcome The Sandermoen School of Business as a funding partner.

Sanderman 4About the Sandermoen School of Business:

The Sandermoen School of Business at the University of Fredericton offers accredited and fully-online MBA and Executive MBA programs in Global Leadership, Innovation Leadership, and now Social Enterprise Leadership. It is named after Kjetil Sandermoen, a leadership consultant working with many of the world’s largest corporations. For more information visit