Kernot Launches University Master of Business Philanthropy Course
5 December 2008 at 9:30 am
A new breed of entrepreneurial spirit is emerging across the globe challenging traditional capitalist values and demanding that businesses strive to be inspirational as well as profitable, according to former Democrats leader Professor Cheryl Kernot.
Prof Kernot said that a time when we are rethinking the way some parts of business are conducting themselves in this global financial crisis, a new form of business has been emerging over the past twenty years.
She said it adds social value as well as financial, so its core business goes beyond simply amassing wealth for individual shareholders and is a social or environmental purpose.
Prof Kernot was the guest speaker at the recent launch of the Swinburne University’s Master of Business (Philanthropy and Social Investment) in Melbourne.
Prof Kernot has spent the past five years contributing to the development of the social enterprise sector in the UK through both business and academic channels. She is now the first Director of Teaching and Learning at the Centre for Social Impact in NSW.
At the launch Prof Kernot said Swinburne’s Master of Business looks at the whole field of social investment – where people choose to invest in social purposes rather than just in stocks and shares.
She said they measure the return on their investment in terms of social value as well as financial. This doesn’t mean these businesses are not also profitable but they are making a profit to reinvest in the core social purpose of the business. It’s good to see it happening.
Dr Michael Liffman, Director of Swinburne University’s Asia-Pacific Centre for Philanthropy and Social Investment, said Prof Kernot’s insights were drawing on the most innovative ideas to be found anywhere in the world at a time when new approaches are urgently needed.
Dr. Liffman says five years ago the notion that there were new ways to be found to make profit and social benefit more compatible were exciting and challenging however recent events have made them absolutely essential.
Prof Kernot said the Grameen Bank was an excellent example of a social enterprise that had been financially successful while simultaneously achieving incredible social outcomes.
The Grameen Bank conducts micro-lending to the poorest of the poor to establish small business enterprises in developing countries.
The bank’s founder, Professor Muhammad Yunus, challenged the business principle that says you can’t get a loan without collateral, and that the poor people won’t pay back a loan. He found that not only do they pay it back, they pay it early.
Prof Kernot said any concerns that social outcomes would competitively erode financial success were addressed by the reality of consumer decision-making. In fact, social objectives could be an effective point of difference when it came to a business’s marketing approach.
Prof Kernot said she was optimistic that the social enterprise sector would be successful in Australia and would receive the support of government.
She said the reason she is hopeful is that it actually helps achieve the government’s social aims of social inclusion, employment generation and economic opportunity for inclusion.
Dr Liffman said the Master of Business (Philanthropy and Social Investment) was offering philanthropists and entrepreneurs alike the opportunity to make investing in sustainable social progress a common cause.
Master of Business (Philanthropy and Social Investment) course is a three-year, part-time course of study, with students progressing through Certificate and Diploma stages. The program’s main aim is to introduce students to a range of fundraising and grant making perspectives and to assist them in a critical analysis of the social enterprises within which these activities are practiced. In addition the Program aims to challenge the ethical and political contexts within which social enterprises operate.