Expanding the continuum of social entrepreneurship

Howard Armitage.St. Paul's GreenHouse

Howard Armitage thinks the co-op system is a bit unfair.

“One of the University of Waterloo’s great unfair advantages is the co-op program — because it allows students the opportunity to see life as it is outside the university.”

Armitage, Special Advisor to the President, Entrepreneurship, and founder of the Conrad Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology Centre, believes the root of social entrepreneurship is often someone who sees things the way they are and begins to ask why they can’t be better. He cites a variety of UWaterloo co-op students who observed pressing social problems during co-op terms and decided that these problems were intolerable, and thus became agents of social change. “Often social entrepreneurs weren’t planning to create change, but then they were exposed to situations and rose to the challenge.”

To Armitage, social entrepreneurs at GreenHouse and throughout the UWaterloo and Waterloo community follow in the tradition of people whose work changed society — people like Susan B. Anthony, who worked tirelessly for women’s rights; Maria Montessori, who started a new form of education; Muhammad Yunus, who revolutionized the idea of microenterprise in Bangladesh; and Robert Owen, one of the founders of the co-operative movement.

Whether a social entrepreneur lived 200 years ago, or in Waterloo today, Armitage believes such individuals find innovative solutions to pressing problems in ways that invite others to get engaged.

“GreenHouse is a wonderful new initiative. It expands the continuum of entrepreneurship at UWaterloo. This is a good time and a great university to be at for social enterprise.”


- Susan Fish is a Waterloo-based writer who operates Storywell, an editing company, and who has two published novels (Seeker of Stars and Ithaca).

  1. 2020 (11)
    1. December (1)
    2. June (2)
    3. May (1)
    4. April (2)
    5. March (3)
    6. January (2)
  2. 2019 (5)
    1. October (2)
    2. September (2)
    3. August (1)
  3. 2018 (4)
  4. 2017 (8)
    1. November (1)
    2. October (2)
    3. September (1)
    4. July (1)
    5. June (1)
    6. May (1)
    7. January (1)
  5. 2016 (11)
    1. September (1)
    2. May (1)
    3. April (1)
    4. March (3)
    5. February (3)
    6. January (2)
  6. 2015 (18)
    1. December (1)
    2. September (2)
    3. July (1)
    4. June (5)
    5. April (1)
    6. March (1)
    7. February (3)
    8. January (4)
  7. 2014 (6)