CBU Professor Awarded Prestigious Canada Research Chair

Cape Breton University’s Dr. Kevin McKague has been named as the recipient of a prestigious Tier 2 – Canada Research Chair in Social Enterprise in Inclusive Markets. Tier 2 Canada Research Chairs are for five years and are granted to exceptional emerging scholars who have been recognized by their peers as having the potential to lead in their field. For Tier 2 Chairs CBU receives $100,000 a year for the duration of the appointment.

Dr. McKague, an Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategy at the Shannon School of Business is an internationally experienced academic and researcher of market-based and social enterprise-led approaches to global poverty alleviation. His research has spanned 13 African countries as well as Bangladesh, Canada and India. His work as Chair will focus on how enterprises (large and small, local and international) can do good, as they find creative business solutions to address social issues.

“This CRC is a tremendous opportunity,” says Dr. McKague. “Social enterprises are an increasingly popular tool to solve challenging and complex social issues that governments and markets haven’t been able to adequately address. Working with collaborators locally and around the world, this Canada Research Chair will allow us to understand the challenges and opportunities of this approach in much greater detail.”

Currently focusing on the health, agriculture and food security sectors, Dr. McKague’s research has also examined social enterprise business models in water, energy and small-scale manufacturing. In various sectors and countries, Dr. McKague’s research explores how enterprises can create social and ecological as well as economic value and how markets can be more inclusive to include disadvantaged individuals and communities. Dr. McKague is also conducting research on income-generating activities for South Sudanese refugees in northern Uganda.

As Dr. McKague explains, although markets and enterprises are powerful levers to reduce poverty and inequality, they have no inherent moral character and do not necessarily move in that direction. Dr. McKague’s research is focused on how entrepreneurship and markets can be aligned with social values to work for the benefit of everyone as well as the natural environment.

Locally, Dr. McKague is working with Jill McPherson as a co-founder of the Island Folk Cider House, a new start-up venture seeking to promote the revitalization of downtown Sydney and the rejuvenation of Cape Breton Island’s abandoned apple orchards. “Research insights from social enterprise business are surprisingly transferrable across countries and sectors around the world,” says Dr. McKague, who has also worked with Aboriginal businesses in Canada and the US.

An official launch event for the Chair will take place in September 2018 with members of both the University and local Cape Breton community. With 80 per cent of Dr. McKague’s work taking place in Africa and the other 20 per cent taking place in North America, the launch event will serve as a place to emphasize local impact, while showcasing international connections and research.

Learn more about Kevin’s research by visiting www.kevinmckague.com.