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Social Business Creation: Proof of the School’s Leadership in Social Innovation

The organizers of the Social Business Creation (SBC) event can be very proud of the tremendous success of the 6th edition of this international social entrepreneurship competition at HEC Montréal. SBC has been expanding right from the start, and this year brought together 165 teams from all over the world.

The competition was conducted in hybrid mode, allowing teams unable to attend in person to participate remotely.

The grand finale was held in the Amphithéâtre Banque Nationale on October 1. Nearly one third of the finalists for this 6th edition were on hand. The finalists from the 2020 edition, who could not travel to Canada last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, also attended.

Another difference this year was that the competition received exceptional international media coverage. Several broadcasters, in particular from Vietnam and Mexico, reported the results of the 6th Social Business Creation event on their platforms.

SBC is not just a competition – it is also a training opportunity that starts nearly 8 months before the grand finale. The competing teams, including university students from any level, come up with an idea for a social mission they want to develop. Then they are guided, step by step, as they create a social business.

“One of the things that contributes to the success of SBC is the way it brings together theory and practice. Participating students don’t need any special experience in this field, because we handle their training from the ground up. During the 4 rounds of the competition, they learn to analyze a problem, develop solutions and identify sources of funding. More than a competition, SBC is actually a practice community that benefits from extensive collaboration among networks of learners, practitioners and scientists, to co-create positive social impacts,” sums up its director, Mai Thai, Associate Professor in the Department of Entrepreneurship and Innovation and founder of the event.

Another aspect of the SBC competition is the training for teaching faculty from the participating universities, through lectures and coaching sessions during the months of the event.

SBC was launched in 2016 by HEC Montréal in partnership with IDEOS, its research hub on the management of social impact. Right from the start it has benefited from the support of the Yunus Centre and its founder, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mohammad Yunus.

The 2021 edition of the competition was presented with the support of Scotiabank. 

The Mirella & Lino Saputo Foundation also supported the 2020 edition.