Monthly Archives

October 2016

Funding Announcement for RADIUS Fellowship in Radical Doing

By | Fellows | No Comments

We are thrilled to announce that the Vancouver Foundation recently approved three years of funding for the RADIUS Fellowship in Radical Doing. The support – totalling $105,000 – is a critical step towards continuing to offer this impactful program to a diverse set of emerging social economy leaders at an accessible cost.





The RADIUS Fellowship in Radical Doing launched in 2015 as a response to a confluence of trends affecting the millennial generation as they try to engage in meaningful work within the Metro Vancouver region: an increasing sense of isolation and loneliness; precarious short-term employment; a substantial increase in the complexity and severity of many social and environmental issues; and higher education which often does not adequately prepare individuals to thrive within these conditions.

fellows-retreat-kitchen-picRead more about the origin story of the Fellowship here, in a recent blog by Jennifer McRae.

The Fellowship responds to these challenges by curating a cohort of 20 social economy leaders for a 4-month developmental program. Fellows are the best and brightest ‘radical doers’ improving the systems upon which we all depend. The Fellowship is structured to support Fellows’ personal, project, and network development.

The program structure and outcomes from the most recent Fellowship can be found within our 2016 Outcomes Report.

We would like to take this opportunity to express our deepest gratitude towards the Vancouver Foundation, who joins our other key funders – The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation’s RECODE Initiative, SFU Innovates, and the SFU Sustainability Office – in helping to make the Fellowship Program possible. The program costs $5000 per participant to deliver, but with the generous support of our funders we are able to offer a sliding scale model to generate the remaining revenue required to fully fund the program. This financial flexibility allows us to prioritize accessibility, and ensure great diversity in our cohort, as explained in our recent blog.

Fellows have this to say, to all of our valued Funders:



Applications for Fellows cohort #3 are OPEN NOW and will remain open until November 26, 2016, with the program launching at the end of January. If you belong in our next cohort or know someone who does, apply now or visit the Fellowship page of our website for more information. We’re looking forward to hearing more about you!


RADIUS Innovation Hub: A workspace for rent and a community to join

By | Community | No Comments

By Tovah Paglaro, RADIUS General Manager. Photo by Jackie Dives

The RADIUS Innovation Hub is open and ready to welcome you.

RADIUS now offers shared workspace for social innovators and social entrepreneurs in our beautiful new space at 308 West Hastings.

Housed at the Charles Chang Innovation Centre, within Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business, RADIUS serves as a hub for entrepreneurial education and acceleration – building a network of ventures, programs and people embedded within the university and the innovation ecosystem.  

RADIUS isn’t just a workspace or an accelerator – it’s a community. We believe that a powerful network is a key ingredient for the success of early stage innovators and entrepreneurs. That’s why we are excited to expand our commitment to the development of social innovation in Vancouver, by offering accessible workspace to individuals and ventures that are building solutions in support of a more just, sustainable and resilient society.

RADIUS Membership Benefits

All Radius members – who are participating in a cohort or join through membership – are entitled to the following benefits:

  • Access to the space during operating hours
  • Free meeting room bookings per membership plan
  • Additional meeting room bookings at an accessible hourly rate
  • Spontaneous use of small break out rooms & lounge space
  • Priority reservations & discounts for public facing events
  • Offers with community partners including MODO car-share
  • Secure bike lock up & shower facility
  • Use of the kitchen & lounge
  • Good coffee & good company

Three ways to join the RADIUS community through membership to the Innovation Hub:

HOT DESK MEMBERSHIP: Gives members access to the hot desk bar 10 days per month during operating hours, with two hours of meeting room booking and accessible rates for additional requests.

PART TIME DESK MEMBERSHIP: Provides members with a dedicated desk that is shared with one other member, more access to meeting room bookings and unlimited access to the space.

FULL TIME DESK MEMBERSHIP: Members have their own desk and their own home within the RADIUS Innovation hub, available month to month or on six-month terms.

Join the RADIUS Community

Download the Membership Agreement to find the membership plan that meets your needs. To inquire about availability or booking, please contact

Thought Leadership: Key Ingredients for Fostering Community

By | Community, Fellows | No Comments

By Tamara Connell, Lead Educator, RADIUS

In last month’s blog, Jennifer McRae described the genesis story for the RADIUS Fellowship in Radical Doing. In it, she shared detail about what drove her to dream, pitch and then build the Fellowship.

For the past several weeks, our team has been working to compile the outcomes report for the 2016 Fellowship cohort. In it, we discuss the Fellowship programming and the results in our second year. We share what we know works, what we’ve learned about how to do things better, and what we’re bringing forward into the 2017 Fellowship cohort – which will be accepting applications from Nov. 1-26, 2016.

Download the 2016 Fellowship in Radical Doing Outcomes Report


The Fellowship Builds Impactful Community

Time and again, what we hear from Fellows is their gratitude for the community established through the Fellowship. Seventy-one percent (71%) of the 2016 Fellows reported at least one new collaboration within the cohort. The depth of friendships increased significantly, and when asked “To what degree did you expect to remain in touch with some of your cohort members?” 95% selected ‘Absolutely!’ and the other 5% selected ‘Very Likely’. Below are some quotes from 2016 Fellows:

fellows-quotes-3So how does this sense of community get built? What conditions foster the bonds that bring individuals to feel that after just a few months they have developed friendships which will last a lifetime?

Today we focus on three key elements which we feel contribute to the success of the Fellowship’s effort in building a supportive community within BC’s emerging social economy leaders:

  1. Inviting diversity
  2. Working in circle
  3. Sharing joy, pain, and everything in between

Inviting Diversity

When we use the word diversity at RADIUS, we refer specifically to diversity of lived experience. Sometimes lived experience is diverse because of our skin color or our family’s heritage. Sometimes our experiences are shaped by the situations that brought us to Canada, by our family unit structure, by our access to resources, by our gender conformity, by our sexual orientation, or by our ability to fit (or not) into some amorphous set of assumptions about what it is to be ‘normal’ in our society.

Within the RADIUS Fellowship, we do our best to draw a diverse group of Fellows into each cohort. We’ve experimented with a pay-what-you-can model to make the program accessible regardless of financial means. We offer our sessions in the evenings to allow Fellows the ability to continue day-time jobs. In our application review process, we aim to uncover the personal stories leading to ignited changemakers. We look for a multitude of perspectives around certain issues. We actively seek to invite diversity into the cohort.

In these, and other ways, we seek to ensure the  program is accessible to a large number of individuals.

Diversity is a valuable ingredient to community-building because it offers the chance to hear new perspectives, lean on different areas of expertise, reach new networks, and broach challenging topics.

Working in Circle

A substantial amount of literature has been written by leading practitioners about the power of circles. Circles  – simply meeting in chairs formed in a circle, with limited or no furniture in the middle – offer the chance for everyone to be seen and heard. It creates a level field where each individual is as important as every other. It removes a common, often unconscious, tendency to hide ourselves from behind our desks, our podiums, our walls.

Circles offer the invitation for complete and transparent participation, setting the stage for vulnerability and deeper human-to-human emotional connection.

Every single Fellowship session starts in circle, and in most cases is completed entirely in circle. This simple commitment for enacting a form that represents the community we seek to create is a key ingredient in building the community in cohort that is foundational to the impact of the Fellowship.

Sharing joy, pain, and everything in between

Fellows are continually invited to share. They share their recent successes, their challenges, their needs, and any other updates. We invite people to check in from where they’re at. Sometimes this means we can celebrate together; yet other times we mourn, we mobilize, or we offer our input.

The role of normalizing vulnerable sharing begins with the facilitator, and emerges as a collective responsibility as we all hold the space together for various highs and lows. This allows us to step fully into empathetically listening, authentically communicating, and doing our utmost to help one another succeed.

Ultimately, sharing is about trust. We build community in cohort by building trust and accountability to support one another in the difficult work of being a chnagemaker.  

By incorporating these and many other design elements, the RADIUS Fellowship successfully hosts the space for incredible and talented ‘radical doers’ to show up fully, push themselves, and support one another in the challenging adventure of fostering positive societal change.

The RADIUS Fellowship in Radical Doing is open for applications between Nov. 1 and Nov. 26, 2016. The 2017 Fellowship will run from February to June. Sign up to our newsletter to receive updates. 

Read more about our first two cohorts of Fellows here, as well as the outcomes report from the inaugural (2015) cohort.apply-now-button-big

Apply Now: SFU Student Social Innovation Seed Fund Launches 2017-18 Cycle

By | Funding, Social Innovation | No Comments

Funding is available to SFU students to support meaningful projects in the community. RADIUS and Embark have partnered for a third year to offer the SFU Student Social Innovation Seed Fund to current undergraduate and graduate students.

The SFU Social Innovation Seed Fund

The SFU Student Social Innovation Seed Fund supports radical change endeavours with social and environmental impact at their core. It provides amounts of $200 to $1,000 to successful student and student group applicants.

Social innovation projects considered by the fund can be initiatives, ventures, products, programs or processes that contribute to positive transformation for SFU and its broader communities.

Past SI Seed Fund Recipients

For three years the SI Seed Fund has been supporting impactful projects.

Past projects include…

  • Slow Streets: an observational research initiative that documents the effects of having one form of transportation dominate a city;
  • CityHive: a youth-empowerment program to help youth influence, shape and co-create their cities;
  • Butt Out Vancouver: an initiative aimed at reducing cigarette butt litter; and
  • As We Are: an online style community featuring people navigating health conditions.

Read about the other awesome projects that have been supported to date.

Applying to the Social Innovation Seed Fund

Do you have an idea or project that could join the esteemed ranks of the SI Seed Fund recipient list?

The final Seed Fund deadline for 2018 is May 18th at midnight!

APPLY NOW for your chance to receive seed funding!

Other Social Innovation Funds for SFU Students

Not sure the SFU Student Social Innovation Seed Fund is a good fit for your idea? Check out Embark Sustainability’s Community Grant. This fund offers up to $500 of support to student-led sustainability projects that engage diverse groups of people on issues of social, economic and environmental sustainability.

More Information

If you have any questions or concerns, please email Navjot Gill, Social Innovation Seed Fund Coordinator, at studentseedfunding[at]

October 19th: RADIUS Open House

By | Events, Social Innovation | No Comments

RADIUS has a new place in the world!

Join us on October 19th for an OPEN HOUSE in our new home.

You are the energy that drives our work. You are the community that creates impact and inspires us daily. You are why we are here.

You’re invited to drop by between 4:00-7:00pm. 

Eat, drink and celebrate with us at the new RADIUS hub in the SFU Charles Chang Innovation Centre. We’re located at 308 West Hastings, on the corner of Hastings and Hamilton. The RADIUS entrance is on Hamilton Street.

Please RSVP to join the free Open House.

We look forward to seeing you!

Charles Chang Innovation Centre: No better place to build solutions

By | Events, Social Innovation | No Comments

The following is an amended version of the speech delivered by Shawn Smith, Director of RADIUS, at the opening of RADIUS’ new office at the Charles Chang Innovation Centre on September 27th 2016:

Thanks to all of you for taking the time to be here, and of course to Charles for his commitment to the next generation of changemakers at SFU. We are incredibly excited to call this inspiring space our new home.

Founded in 2013 at the Beedie School of Business, and serving SFU’s broad community, RADIUS works with social innovators and entrepreneurs to build a more sustainable, resilient and inclusive economy.

Complex problems from ecosystem degradation to economic inequality become more urgent by the day, and ideas about how things could be different are plentiful, but to build breakthrough solutions we must work across sectors and silos, creating permeable boundaries and rich collisions of perspectives. This space is that, manifest – a bridge between a world class business school at Canada’s leading engaged university, and a rich community of innovators, entrepreneurs, and everyday citizens working hard to put new ideas into action.

We are a place for these Radical Doers, from explorers in undergraduate classrooms to established entrepreneurs, developing, testing and growing new models for the better economy we all wish to see. Many are here today, and three you see displayed around the room:

  • The first, Knack, is a startup initiative of Potluck Cafe Society that connects employers who want to achieve community impact with a labour force that is experiencing barriers to employment.
  • Riipen is a web-based platform that enables Higher Education Institutions to provide meaningful project-based experiential learning at scale.
  • And Coast Protein uses modern sustainable processes to cultivate crickets for use in protein powder-based products.

There is, with all sincerity, no better place in the world to be doing this work. At this school and university, in a city and province known as global leaders in social innovation, in a country that remains open and curious while much of the world grows closed and fearful, and has the resources, and on our best days, the imagination to ask what the good life really is, and how we might all get there.

We are in a moment in time when so much feels broken or breaking, and yet everything is possible. Today will go a long way to helping us ensure we unleash that potential.

The Charles Chang Innovation Centre (located at West Hastings and Hamilton) is an open concept hub where we offer workspace and amenities to RADIUS cohorts, rent desks and hotdesk space to innovators and mission-aligned professionals, and support the development of a dynamic and impactful social innovation network within SFU and beyond. Join the RADIUS community or email General Manager Tovah Paglaro at tpaglaro[at] to learn more.