Monthly Archives

February 2015

Salto Social cohort pitches learnings and challenges at Impacto Quito’s Mentor Night

By | Accelerator, Quito, RADIUS Ventures, Social Innovation | No Comments

Milica Pavlovic is spending three months with RADIUS in Quito, Ecuador and reporting back on her experiences.

After the official wrap-up of the Salto Social program earlier this month, our 5 teams of social entrepreneurs were reunited for Impacto Quito’s Mentor Night community event. To kick off, each team made a brief pitch to an audience of 40+ community members, introducing their social ventures and summarizing their key insights from Salto Social, their next steps, and what they need further help with in order to achieve their business objectives this year.

In the Speed Mentoring portion of the night, the Salto Social teams and fellow mentees had the opportunity to seek guidance on specific questions from the mentors. The 11 Salto Social mentors—socially and environmentally conscious community leaders and innovators across several consumer and commercial good sectors—provided advice and support to our team of entrepreneurs. For example, Carla Pinto, founder of the large and successful Pinto retail clothing brand marketed across Ecuador, Colombia, and Peru, connected with Veronica Buitron from Suspiro, Salto Social’s environmentally conscious and very talented handbag designer.

jose speed mentoring

To recap, Salto Social’s 5 teams of social entrepreneurs are:

  • Veronica Buitron from SuspiroAn independent textiles designer partnered with local artisans using natural materials and ancient textiles production techniques to produce a diverse line of bags and scarves for the environmentally conscious consumer.
  • Jose Fabara & his team from El Carpazo – A popular one-day music festival based in Quito created for musicians by musicians, kicking off its third year on April 25th and attracting widespread attention within Ecuador. This year’s theme is environmental sustainability and awareness, and the lineup includes popular and alternative artists from various musical genres.
  • Jorge Flores & Felipe Alvarez from Reino Fungi – A venture formed by a team that cultivates, produces, and is seeking distribution channels for their Oyster mushrooms. The founders of Reino Fungi were inspired to start their venture when they noticed a lack of socially and environmentally responsible products in this niche market, and a demand among vegetarian and vegan consumers, as well as environmentally conscious and gourmet food vendors.
  • Ernesto Palacios Merino & his team from KradacA company formed by a team of specialized engineers who research, design, and create a range of products that reflect high quality technological solutions to various functional problems. Examples include: specialized robots, alarm systems, and satellite tracking for vehicles.
  • Andrea Jaramillo Armijos, Vicente Merino Alvarado & David Benitez Mora from Lunyxtec – A company that aims to reduce and recycle CO2 emissions caused by natural gas consumption and organic waste via their recycling system prototype for agricultural and farm use.

vicente and andrea speed mentoring

Here’s what they said about their key insights from participating in Salto Social:

  • Learning how to navigate the canvas business model – Veronica from Suspiro and Andrea from Lunyxtec emphasized the importance of learning how to calculate their break even point when developing their marketing strategies
  • Developing a clear business plan for the future and recognizing which areas still need improvement.
  • Developing crucial organizational skills by investing the time to work through various exercises focused on specific tasks, e.g. conducting a market analysis 

Here’s what they said about their next steps:

  • Reino Fungi – with the production of their Oyster mushrooms well underway, Jorge and Felipe are now focussed on securing different channels of distribution for their product, including organic & gourmet markets and suitable restaurants.
  • Lunyxtec- their next step is to finish the first biodigestor model and to assemble a portable prototype for demonstration so that they can move forward with marketing to target clients.
  • Suspiro & El Carpazo – Veronica from Suspiro is focusing her efforts on marketing and sales, both within Ecuador and in the United States. Jose from El Carpazo is also focusing on marketing his upcoming festival and applying new strategies to increase ticket sales.

Here’s what they said about their key challenges & areas where they are still seeking help:

  • Boosting product sales – Veronica from Suspiro and Felipe from Reino Fungi are working on better understanding their client segment in order to increase future sales; Andrea from Lunyxtec needs advice to create a marketing plan to gain publicity and manage the competition
  • Time constraints – all teams emphasized the challenges of running their ventures while also participating in Salto Social and managing other responsibilities
  • Seeking further guidance from mentors with experience in their particular fields – Felipe from Reino Fungi and Jose from El Carpazo are looking to connect with mentors in their specific market niches

mentor night group photo

The Salto Social Accelerator is delivered in partnership with Impacto Quito and is supported by Global Agents for Change.

Announcing the 2015 RADIUS Fellows

By | Fellows, RADIUS Edu | No Comments

After an incredible response to our call for applications, we’re happy to present our first cohort of RADIUS Fellows! From February through June, this crew of Radical Doers will gather for cohort sessions, connect with mentors and coaches, and strengthen their skills for creating impactful innovation.

This cohort includes innovators pioneering upcycled fashion design, food co-ops, and collaborative board games for social impact. Their journeys have included work as a lawyer, a carpenter, a reporter, and a kindergarten teacher. They’re currently working with organizations like Dossier, the Hive, the David Suzuki Foundation, and the Provincial Health Services Authority. Without further ado, here they are in their own words:

Kate Beck

I am an aspiring urban planner and social change-maker, and I am passionate about streets, social justice, and active transportation. I am specifically interested in understanding the ways in which transportation design and policy affect the lives of traditionally marginalized groups in urban areas. My new years resolutions are to be more spontaneous and to put myself in more awkward social situations.  I really love rock climbing, it is a form of meditation and one way I relieve stress, and my third best friend is my bicycle, we go everywhere together!

Check out Kate’s website:

Jessica Beketa

Jessica graduated from SFU in spring 2014 with a Bachelor in Business Administration and two certificates and a minor that focused on sustainable community development and environmental responsibility. She is passionate about the circular economy and alternatives to business, guided by the principle if everything was designed with the environment in mind, there would be no such thing as waste. Since graduating, Jessica participated in Dossier’s internship program, Railyard Lab, completing projects on social impact communications, community building and brand strategy. She has been with Dossier ever since working as a project manager. Jessica bikes everywhere she goes, loves Harry Potter and is a novice gardener (last summer she grew her first batch of PINK popcorn)!

Sarah Beley

Sarah grew up in Edmonton, moving to Vancouver to embrace the diversity this beautiful city brings, following a career in early childhood development. Inspired by a year living in China, Sarah found and developed her enthusiasm for community and society and has been volunteering with the Immigrant Service Society of British Columbia since then.  Sarah is currently working at Simon Fraser’s Centre for Dialogue as the work study researcher for the Civic Engagement Project, and holds a B.A. in Political Science and Dialogue Communications from Simon Fraser University and is a Semester in Dialogue alumni. She hopes the Radius fellowship will help her further her passion and career in Public Policy. In in her free time she loves hiking the North Shore with her dog Salvador Doogie and traveling the world.

Kiri Bird

Kiri is a strategist and facilitator fuelled by collaboration, transformation, and innovation. Kiri has a healthy obsession with the new, the emergent, and the most intractable social and environmental problems. Always on the go, building community is a lifestyle for this cheerful extrovert, well-known for ‘making things happen’.

Kiri has developed and delivered on digital strategy for a number of local organizations such as Sole Food Farms, Sustainable SFU, The Centre for Sustainable Community Development, The Tyee and The Centre for Arts, Ecology and Agriculture. She is completing a Master’s in Resource and Environmental Management at SFU focused on urban sustainability assessment. Kiri is currently employed at Ecotrust Canada, where she is working with community to design a Lab, which builds capacity for social enterprise in Vancouver’s inner city.

Devon Carr

Devon is a freelance consultant, activist and entrepreneur. Working with a variety of organizations including universities, non-profits and private sector companies, he advises and contributes to multiple initiatives and assists on the federal election campaign of a candidate for Member of Parliament. Founder and Principle of Guerrilla Consulting, a small consultancy with a focus on project start-up, and new venture leadership, his core values are sustainability, stewardship, innovation, people and most of all, adventure.

Experiences working overseas motivated him to leverage both public and private-sector growth for social and economic development in emerging and domestic markets. During three years in Malawi, Devon ran an entrepreneurial support network in water service delivery (a multi-stakeholder partnership of non-profits, the Mzuzu University and the Malawi government) before serving as Director for a large-scale agri-processing start-up. Originally from Vancouver, Devon is also a classically trained chef, and an avid adventurer.

Kyle Empringham

Kyle is the Co-Founder of The Starfish Canada and a Public Engagement Specialist with the David Suzuki Foundation. His training comes from his undergraduate in biology and geography from McMaster University and a Masters in Resource Management from Simon Fraser University. Kyle is excited by taking the science, policy and management that governs conservation principles and finding innovative methods for communicating and engaging others on those topics. In his spare time, Kyle likes to ski, run, swim, and volunteer for nonprofits to further their common cause.

Follow Kyle on Twitter: @kbempringham

Maya Goodwill

Drawn to the complex world of social entrepreneurship, Maya is passionate about using her skills in business, community-building, and empathy to affect positive social change. Not happy with “business-as-usual,” she has set out to dedicate her career to support, connect, and build the infrastructure for those working to create an economy that values people and planet above profit. She currently does this important work at the HiVE; a shared-space that supports and amplifies the social impact sector in Vancouver.

Maya holds a BCom from McGill University. Her past experience includes working at the Centre for Social Innovation in Toronto, coordinating Vancouver’s first Young Innovators Crawl in collaboration with SFU Public Square and RADIUS, marketing and communications work with Tides Canada, and starting #hatch Vancouver. She’s also currently a part of the CatalystsX community, and is delighted to be involved in the first RADIUS Fellows cohort!

Connect with Maya on LinkedIn

Zoya Jiwa

Zoya Jiwa is a 3rd year student at SFU studying Sociology and sustainable community development. She continuously seeks to understand the complexity of systemic social and environmental problems. Zoya thrives when she’s immersed in an atmosphere of growth that fosters creativity, community, and ideas with a positive impact.  Most recently, Zoya launched a website called Her Grateful Heart, where she writes honestly about her journey of hope, healing, and happiness while living with a chronic illness. Zoya is also a speaker and workshop facilitator specializing in personal development, focusing on themes of self-confidence, gratitude, resilience, and leadership. She is thankful to have had the opportunity to share her voice on platforms including TEDx, student leadership conferences, and multiple community events.

Follow Zoya on Twitter: @zoyajiwa

Adam Kebede

Adam Kebede specializes in public engagement  and real estate development, specifically affordable housing and active transportation infrastructure. Adam holds a MSc degree in Community and Regional Planning, and a BA Honours in Geography and Health, both from UBC.

Adam is now focusing his public engagement practice on Strata Corporations. Strata’s are the legal governance framework for condominiums, a fast growing housing type facing increasing challenges to inclusive engagement. By focusing on homes first Adam believes we can a foster resilient and active civil society. Other public engagement initiatives include The Green Streets Game, a collaborative board-game for public space design and decision-making. The game was an integral part of the youth engagement process for Point Grey-Cornwall Greenway.

His experience in affordable housing research includes a 2012 submission to the City of Vancouver’s ReTHINK Housing project; In 2013, Adam and his team won the NAIOP Western Real Estate Competition in Seattle .

Connect with Adam on LinkedIn

Patrick Lee

Patrick Lee is the founder of Promote the Vote, a non-partisan movement to increase voter turnout and citizen engagement through dialogue. When he is not encouraging voter participation, Patrick works for the Provincial Health Services Authority where he helps clinics access language services for patients with limited English proficiency.  He is a leader in the Lower Mainland Health Authorities’ environmental sustainability program and has a long-standing interest in community development, urban planning and sustainability. Patrick holds a BBA from the Beedie School of Business and is an alumnus of SFU’s Semester in Dialogue. Born and raised in Vancouver, Patrick enjoys biking in the rain, singing karaoke tunes and searching for the best eggs Benedict in the city.

Jeff McGregor

Growing up in rural Alberta, Jeff McGregor experienced the incredible benefits of a strong and supportive community, drawing inspiration particularly from the senior members of his family and area. Graduating from the University of Calgary in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Political Science, he developed a passion for understanding the world around him and for continuous, independent learning. Following university, working mainly as a carpenter in the Vancouver residential construction industry, Jeff developed his current interest of helping empower vulnerable workers and strengthening community democracy.

Alexandria Mitchell

Alexandria Mitchell is a DO-er with a passion for finding solutions to complex problems and meeting today’s challenges with innovative and creative actions. As an economic development officer and public affairs professional with global experience, she has worked on renewable energy advancement and energy partnerships both in Canada and the Asia Pacific region.  She is inspired by how local grassroots actions can have immense global impact.

Alexandria has a background as a writer, editor, publisher and PR pro- from covering the Olympic Games in London, looking at low carbon development in Guyana, working on sustainability in New Delhi, to working as an analyst at high level government negotiations on climate change. She now calls Abbotsford home and looks forward to engaging as a RADIUS fellow.

Find her on the internets: @alexandriamitch

Irina Molohovsky

Founder of Frameworq, Irina is a retail professional with a legal background and with a deep appreciation for beauty, creativity and innovation.

She is also a keen enthusiast of the Circular Economy and believes that all the elements that are mentioned above can be brought into a great and balanced business practice.

Brielle Morgan

Brielle Morgan’s love for a thoughtfully crafted sentence was evident early on. While other kids were playing together during summer holidays, she’d be lounging somewhere with a stack of books. She’d get disproportionately excited about library visits and bedtime. Eventually she got her master’s in journalism and that afforded her some pretty awesome opportunities. She reported on community issues in Iqaluit, studied ethics at Auschwitz, and produced stories for CBC’s As It Happens and various East African outlets. Now she’s happy to be back in Vancouver working for a public broadcaster. Now she can spend more time with her nana, the inspiration behind, a creative project Brielle co-founded with a friend from grad school. Brielle’s grateful for the chance to network with creative doer-types through the RADIUS fellowship and may have done some light sidewalk solo dancing when she got the invite.

Here’s her portfolio:

Shea O’Neil

Shea is currently an Executive Assistant at the SFU Centre for Dialogue, where she is constantly inspired by the world-changing aspirations of her team. S‎hea holds a BA in Environmental Geography and a Certificate in Spatial Information Science from SFU. She believes it is possible for the environment and the economy to thrive simultaneously and she is particularly interested in issues related to waste management and transportation in Metro Vancouver. Her previous experience includes working as a Research Assistant for Carbon Talks and Renewable Cities, a Green Team Ambassador with the City of Vancouver, and volunteering as a Sustainability Peer Educator at SFU. ‎With a passion for the environment and a strong belief that everyone has the ability to make a positive impact in their communities and beyond, Shea is thrilled at the opportunity to be a part of the first RADIUS Fellows cohort.

Theunis Snyman

Theunis was born in Zululand, South Africa. After high school graduation he went travelling and working in rural South African villages as part of the Nelson Mandela “Rural Development Program”, building communications infrastructure. He decided to go travelling to the UK and Europe and then came to Vancouver to settle, fifteen years ago. After working in several industries in BC he applied to Emily Carr University of Art and Design to explore post secondary education and engaged in the wasteful practice of Industrial Design. Throughout his degree he found himself sourcing waste materials from different industries for design projects and started to bring it into his practice more intentionally. He enrolled in the first cohort of CityStudio Vancouver and is known for designing and building the “CityStudio” Longtable Series. Currently he is working on several projects through Basic Design, a collaborative project in which he is working on a rubber up cycling system, a kinetic rain harvester, and a rural African “pop bottle light” project.

Dayna Stein

Dayna Stein grew up in Toronto and moved out to the west coast just three years ago to complete her undergrad and to be closer to the pristine scenery.

She has recently finished a Bachelor of Science in Global Resource Systems at UBC where she focused on food security and sustainable agriculture. In Fall 2014 she partook in a semester at CityStudio where her group co-created, designed and launched the Shareable Neighbourhood Project with the City of Vancouver and the community surrounding the Ladybug Community Garden. It aims to reduce waste and connect neighbours in Vancouver through the sharing of recreational items in public lending libraries. The project won first prize at HUBUB 3 this past November. She will be partaking in the Richmond Farm School this year while applying to a Master’s of Science in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability in Sweden.

Elayn Su

Elaine Su is an educator, writer, and full-time dreamer. She is passionate about empowering communities, and believes that big, world-sized ideas can come from indomitable, child-sized brains.

Before teaching Kindergarten at the Vancouver School Board, Elaine was the Academic Director of Little Mountain Learning Academy for five years, where she helped develop programs rooted in holistic and socially responsible learning for newcomers to Vancouver. In 2013, Elaine co-founded Hidden Well Foundation, a non-profit organization that facilitates leadership and social justice learning for youth. Elaine also recently co-founded Big Tinkers, an initiative that gives children tools and materials to investigate simple machines.

Elaine feels extremely lucky to work every day with the world’s most inspired dreamers. She has spent the last ten years surrounded by children of all ages. All her clothes have crayon on them and she can correctly identify almost any Pokémon… but her life is pretty fantastic.

Ashley Tanasiychuk

Ashley is a lover of the arts. He aspires to put Vancouver on the map as a thriving vibrant creative hub, specifically as an incredible scene for young innovative artists.

Through his arts documentation initiative, VANDOCUMENT, a team of 40+ photographers, videographers, and writers have documented over 1000 of Vancouver’s local and emerging artists at hundreds of events, supporting the people who create our city’s cultural vitality.

Ashley believes in making creative and cultural events accessible. Through CONNECTIONS parties, he connects people to artists from all disciplines in one night of local creative excellence. His aim is to revolutionize arts education, making business knowledge a core part of studies. Smart business practices to make our young artists more likely to succeed.

Everything Ashley does – creating visuals, attending and documenting events, promoting the artists who make them – revolves around creativity and his belief that art is limitless in it’s ability to improve our lives.

Connect with Ashley on LinkedIn

Debbie Yeh

Debbie Yeh is an Environmental Sciences graduate from UBC, a field she chose after spending many summers exploring the outdoors with children as a nature camp counsellor.

During her university years, she found a community within Sprouts, a student-run and non-profit sustainable food co-operative. Working with a team of passionate students as the Kitchen Manager and then Volunteer Coordinator, she developed a strong interest for community building and sustainable food systems. Considering herself an avid learner, she is an alumna of the CityStudio program, which she gratefully acknowledges for giving her insight into experiential learning through dialogue, design, and collaboration. Through CityStudio, she helped to launch project ‘Deck the Dark’, a community engagement and safety initiative that lights up underutilized public spaces with glow-in-the-dark play. During her downtime, she enjoys cooking and baking in the kitchen (never following a recipe exactly), group fitness classes, and tea parties.

Connect with Debbie Yeh on LinkedIn

This program is made possible by funding from RECODE. Read more about the RADIUS Fellows Program here.

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The 2015 pilot program is presented in partnership with the SFU Sustainability Office.

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