A breakfast in January brought together more than 40 students, staff, alumni and community members to kick off Project SEED, an initiative that supports social change.
Project SEED (Socially Engaged Entrepreneur Development) is a sponsored social innovation incubator that promotes the exploration of social change strategies by young entrepreneurs and leaders in the Brock community. Its goal is to create change that will benefit Brock and Niagara.
This year, six projects were chosen to receive funding and mentorship. The projects were chosen on the basis of 1) cultivating social change on the Brock campus, and 2) contributing to Brock’s goal of learning and development outside of the classroom to discover “both sides of your brain.”
Project SEED provides funding to student-driven initiatives. The Brock University Alumni Association (BUAA) contributed $500, and also contributing were the Niagara Community Foundation, the Brock University Students’ Union (BUSU), and the Niagara Economic Development Corporation (NEDC).
The other component of Project SEED is mentorship. Using a ‘mentor triad’ model, each student is paired with both an on-campus and community mentor to guide and mentor the student throughout the project. In many cases, Brock alumni have acted as either the campus or community mentor, a significant way for alumni to give back after graduation.
Keynote speaker Ryan Dear (BBA ’11) is one of those community/alumni mentors. With an entrepreneurship degree from Brock, it isn’t surprising that Dear now owns his own business, and a socially responsible one at that. As we wrote in a previous edition of the Alumni Connect, Niagara E-Waste collects old electronics to ethically and responsibly dispose of them. At the breakfast, Dear spoke about the challenge of taking the first step to make an initiative a reality, the struggles to get people past ‘no’ to say ‘yes’, and the importance of uncompromising business values and ideals.
As the community/alumni mentor to Project SEED recipients “Give Us Your Goods,” Dear is working with Faculty of Business students to collect student items no longer in use, from electronics to old clothes and furniture.
Thanks again to the generous support of the Brock University Alumni Association and the mentorship of alumni in the program. To learn more about Project SEED, please visit the website or register as a mentor through Mentorship Plus mentormatch software.