Students launch or strengthen their social enterprises while connecting with the community.
From high tech environmental monitoring to low cost food and housing programs, placements through the Work Experience in Social Enterprise (WESE) program at Memorial University of Newfoundland's Centre for Social Enterprise (CSE) have opened students' eyes to the rich and rewarding work of social enterprise. The program blends the objective of developing students as future social entrepreneurs with supporting organizations as they launch or strengthen their social enterprises. The Centre connects students to the community and gives them hands-on experience working in a social enterprise, all while delivering additional capacity to partners in the community and removing a barrier to employment for many under-resourced non-profit organizations. The Centre is also innovating through work placements that bring students of different disciplines to work together on the same project in the same organization. For example, recently, students were placed at the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association of Newfoundland (CHHA-NL). Their contributions through their WIL placements helped the CHHA-NL launch Read Our Lips (https://www.readourlips.ca/), a social enterprise that is the first of its kind in Canada. Students helped populate the website, develop marketing materials, plan an event, gain a strong sense of community, and grasp of how social enterprise works.