Giving back through social entrepreneurship

Tuesday, May 16, 2023
Ernest Mwesigye, MBET '23 and social entrepreneur, at his convocation ceremony

My name is Ernest and I am currently enrolled in the Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (MBET) program.

I was enrolled in the Arts and Business program at the University of Waterloo where I majored in Communication Studies and did a minor in Economics. My passion for entrepreneurship was cultivated in one of the entrepreneurship courses I took for my program during my undergrad program, which is why I chose to pursue MBET. This course exposed me to the multitude of entrepreneurial resources that are available to students at Waterloo, and I got to see firsthand the numerous entrepreneurial achievements of Waterloo students. I was inspired.

This led me to pivot from my initial career goal to become a politician – I had previously thought that this was the only way I could make a significant impact in my community. I had discovered the power of entrepreneurship, particularly social entrepreneurship, and how it can be used as a tool for positive change.

I come from Uganda, and I have always wanted to give back to my community in some way. One of the most significant issues in Uganda is youth unemployment. Uganda has one of the youngest populations in the world with 77 percent of the population below the age of 25.

I had discovered the power of entrepreneurship, particularly social entrepreneurship, and how it can be used as a tool for positive change.

Ernest Mwesigye, MBET '23

It was this that inspired me to create a digital platform that connects youth working in the informal sector of Uganda with individuals that need their services, which is what I’m interested in developing while in MBET. This platform aims to provide employment opportunities and improve the livelihoods of young Ugandans, which aligns with my goal of making a positive impact in my community.

The MBET program is the perfect fit for me to pursue this venture because of its experiential nature. I have been able to work with early-stage ventures to validate their business models which will be extremely valuable to my own venture.

The MBET program also encourages a very collaborative environment and I have had numerous opportunities to network and engage with entrepreneurs in Waterloo. Furthermore, the many supports that the University of Waterloo provides for entrepreneurs make this the perfect place to pursue entrepreneurship. One of these supports is the fact that students at the University of Waterloo get to keep full ownership of their creations. This is one of, if not the most entrepreneurial intellectual property (IP) policies in North America.

I am excited to continue my journey in the MBET program because it has provided me with the knowledge and skills needed to continue working on my venture.