Monthly Archives

July 2018

The RADIUS Health Promotion Lab Launches its Slingshot & Trampoline Programs!

By | Health Promotion, RADIUS Lab | No Comments

RADIUS is accepting applications for the 2018/19 Health Promotion Slingshot Accelerator and Trampoline Business Model Validation Program cohorts!

RADIUS’ Health Promotion Lab uses venture incubation and systems engagement to support the prevention and early detection of chronic diseases, particularly those for which lifestyle is a contributing factor. Working at the intersection of behaviour change and systems change, the Health Promotion Lab will help drive innovative interventions in pressing health crises, including the prevalence of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and different cancers. Areas of interest for the Health Promotion Lab include but are not limited to:

  • Food and nutrition
  • Physical activity and exercise
  • Responsible use of tobacco or alcohol
  • Healthy habit formation

We are thrilled to announce the start of applications for the fall cohorts of the Health Promotion Lab’s Slingshot Accelerator and Trampoline Business Model Validation Program!

Slingshot Accelerator

The Health Promotion Slingshot Accelerator is a six-month intensive program that supports early stage health promotion ventures in becoming investment, market and growth ready. The Slingshot program combines cohort-based learning and direct mentorship, embedding participants in a supportive network of peers, as well as broader networks of experts, advisors, partners, funders and clients.

Since launching the Slingshot Investment Fund in 2017, RADIUS offers a $25K equity investment in each venture that successfully completes the Slingshot Accelerator program. Slingshot participants have on average more than doubled their annual revenue in the first 12 months post-program, and matched success on business and impact goals.

LEARN MORE about the Slingshot Accelerator program.
for the Fall 2018/19 Health Promotion Slingshot Accelerator!

Trampoline Business Model Validation Program

The Trampoline Business Model Validation Program is an eight-session incubator for very early stage social ventures. The Trampoline program tests your business model for alignment in three key areas:

  1. The Problem: Are you addressing a real and impactful problem?
  2. The Solution: Is your potential solution viable and effective?
  3. The Entrepreneur: Are you ready to move this project forward right now?

LEARN MORE about the Trampoline Business Model Validation Program.
for the Fall 2018/19 Health Promotion Trampoline Program!

If you have questions about these programs, or about RADIUS’ Health Promotion Lab, please get in touch with Lab Manager Kelsey Klaver at kklaver[at]

Sínulkhay and Ladders: A board game that teaches decolonizing practices

By | Community, Social Innovation | No Comments

Decolonizing Practices‘ project Sínulkhay and Ladders was recently awarded Social Innovation Seed Funding. Co-hosted by RADIUS and Embark Sustainability, the Social Innovation Seed Fund allocates up to $1,500 towards change endeavours initiated by SFU students. In this article, we interview Michelle Nahanee, Founder of Decolonizing Practices.

“As our Squamish territory became an urban centre now known as the City of Vancouver, our [peoples] ways of knowing were erased. Although this is starting to change through decolonizing practices like territorial acknowledgements, who we are and what we have to offer continues to be seen as past tense. I’m interested in highlighting Indigenous innovation and tools.”

Michelle Nahanee of Decolonizing Practices. Image Courtesy of K. Ho Photography.

As a member of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) Nation, Michelle Nahanee has witnessed the Indigenous reconciliation landscape unfold before her eyes. With deep interests in Indigenous cultural sovereignty, the importance of reclaiming language, and deconstructing neocolonialism, Michelle became determined to combine her work experience as an Indigenous communications designer with her passion for social change in more impactful ways.

Michelle enrolled into the Master of Arts (MA) in Communication at SFU, where she accessed the knowledge she needed to amplify Squamish ways of knowing, communicate invisible power structures, use her language, and leverage her design skills.

“In the last term of my program, I was invited to present an interactive workshop on decolonizing practices at the EMMA Talks event I curated called Squamish Matriarchs” Nahanee explained.

At the feminist speaker series and art festival, Nahanee introduced her research-creation project called Playing Post-Colonial: a Decolonizing Activity Book for the Woke and the Weary. The centre spread features Nahanee’s board game, Sínulkhay and Ladders. Nahanee describes the inspiration for the game coming from a course she co-taught at SFU called Decolonizing Dialogue. She recalled often using the metaphor of ‘snakes and ladders’ to explain how decolonizing can often feel nonlinear, like one step forward and two steps back. From this metaphor and other experiences emerged Sínulkhay and Ladders — a giant 8-ft board game.

Image courtesy of K. Ho Photography

“The [decolonization] process is very up and down. Sínulkhay and Ladders provides a container to acknowledge space, mistakes, and a commitment to do better. The last thing I want is for anyone to stay in the shame of colonialism. We all need to stay in the game.”

The focus of Sínulkhay and Ladders is to strengthen Indigenous to non-Indigenous relations in professional settings, making sure we are holding each other up and not sliding down the double-headed serpent, called ‘Sínulkhay’ by Squamish.

It also promotes the Squamish practice of
Chen chen stway (holding each other up) while calling out neocolonial scenarios of oppression.

“Each person leaves with both a takeaway, something they learned, and a giveaway: their commitment to decolonizing practices,” Nahanee elaborated.

Memorable giveaways include commitments to hiring more Indigenous people, breaking open constructions around identity, and thinking of land ownership and wealth differently.

“This is largely individual healing work,” Nahanee explains.

“It’s never-ending.”

Michelle Nahanee is offering two upcoming summer workshops, including sessions on July 26th and August 23rd. Registration is open via Eventbrite. She is also in the process of expanding her collaborative team of Indigenous and non-Indigenous facilitators, developing a social impact fund from workshop proceeds, and designing an Educator Kit to train teachers on how to present Sínulkhay and Ladders in their classrooms.

Staying true to the notion of “stewardship-over-scale”, Nahanee is eager to explore different audiences who could benefit from workshop trainings, and she also recognizes the importance of approaching each intentionally, building community along the way.

To learn more about Sínulkhay and Ladders, visit Michelle’s website, Decolonizing Practices.

Image courtesy of K. Ho Photography

Five Projects Award Social Innovation Seed Funding

By | Community, RADIUS Edu, Social Innovation | No Comments

The SFU Student Social Innovation Seed Fund is a joint initiative of Embark Sustainability and RADIUS that supports thoughtful change endeavours with social and environmental impact at their core. The Fund allocates sums ranging from $200-$1,500 to SFU undergraduate and graduate student social innovators. Applications for the 2018/2019 year will re-open this fall.

Five remarkable initiatives were awarded funding in the fourth round of the 2017-2018 cycle. Read about them below!


Founded by a team of Health Change Lab students, CARESEL is a toolkit that empowers teachers to incorporate the Social Emotional Learning (SEL) component of the new BC curriculum with pick-up-and-go lessons tied into subjects that they already teach. CARESEL allows teachers to choose the grade that they teach (ie. Grades 4-7) and the subject in which they want to promote SEL (ie. English, Science, Social Studies, or Math). They then receive activities to facilitate with their students that meet the BC curriculum requirements by merging the BC core competencies with some form of the SEL core competencies. This allows teachers to teach familiar activities that meet curricular requirements while integrating SEL, providing them with support and a way to incorporate new requirements during existing class time.

Sinulkhay & Ladders

Developed by Michelle Nahanee during her MA in Communications at SFU, Sinulkhay and Ladders is a giant 8-ft board game that promotes the Squamish practice of Chen chen stway (holding each other up) while calling out neocolonial scenarios of oppression. Its purpose is to provide a framework for developing decolonizing practices for working better together. The focus of the game is bettering Indigenous to non-Indigenous relations in professional settings, making sure we are holding each other up and not sliding down the double-headed serpent, called ‘Sinulkhay’ by Squamish.

Learn more about Michelle’s workshop trainings by visiting the Decolonizing Practices website. Also, check out this Eventbrite page for upcoming Decolonizing Practices workshops in July and August.


Tumblershare is a program that aims to reduce coffee cup waste on SFU campuses through a tumbler membership service. Currently being piloted at Renaissance Coffee at SFU Burnaby, Tumblershare participants pay a $10 deposit fee for a membership card. When they visit Renaissance Coffee for a hot drink, they can exchange their card for a tumbler for their coffee or tea. Once they are finished their drink, they simply return the tumbler to the cafe and receive their membership card back.


When a team of Mechatronics Engineering and Business students collaborated on a project, SonoRail was invented. SonoRail is a robotic device that allows sonographers (medical professionals performing ultrasounds) to remotely control an ultrasound machine. Sonographers commonly experience Work Related Muskuloskeletal Disorders (WRMSD), including carpal tunnel syndrome and shoulder capsulitis, due to repeated application of force and sustained pressure in administering these medical tests.  The SonoRail team seeks to prevent sonographers from having to sacrifice their health in order to support their patients. They are developing a device that will be comprised of two main components: an arm holding an ultrasound probe that will be controlled via a remote, and a remote control that the sonographer can use that simulates their wrist motions with the probe and the physical sensations of moving the probe.


Co-founded by 2018 RADIUS Fellow Larissa Chen and her business partner Delara Tabari, Böues is a personal care brand dedicated to creating natural body care products that work. Böues  challenges existing products on the market that typically involve unnecessary chemicals, single-purpose usage, and excessive packaging. The Böues team didn’t want to use these products for themselves or see their family and friends use them. With health-conscious hygiene practices and sustainability in mind, they discovered a natural alternative: upcycling leftover beeswax and raw honey into bath and body products. Through in-person sales and digital marketing campaigns, Böues also educates people on the importance of being mindful of the impact of daily hygiene products on ourselves, our communities and our ecosystem. Stay up to date with Böues by following them on Instagram: @bouesofficial.

We’re Hiring! | Communications, Engagement & Recruitment Officer

By | Community, Jobs | No Comments

Join the RADIUS team!  

RADIUS is looking for a media savvy, outgoing communications professional to join our team as RADIUS’ new Communications, Engagement and Recruitment Officer! The successful candidate will work closely with RADIUS’ General Manager, Directors and program leads to develop an ongoing communications, engagement and recruitment strategy, aimed at achieving RADIUS’ recruitment, community growth and retention goals and establishing RADIUS’ brand and thought leadership presence.

Interested? Check out the Job Posting and apply by Monday, July 16th!

Blog: Exploring Refugee Settlement on Unceded Lands

By | Fellows | No Comments

The Refugee Livelihood Lab recognizes that the process of refugee communities settling and building livelihoods, occurs in relationship to the unceded, ancestral lands and peoples of the Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Kwantlen, Qayqayt and Tsawwassen First Nations. Unceded means that the territories have never been formally relinquished through treaty.

We are committed to grounding the lab, and it’s social business development aspects, in an ongoing learning process of the systemic experiences of colonization, displacement, assimilation, and struggle for self-determination that affects First Nations and refugee communities in different and overlapping ways.

We will explore the tensions and dilemmas of settling and making a livelihood on unceded lands, asking “what if we could support the wellbeing of all people without replicating and furthering the ongoing harms of colonization?”

Our first stop? Decolonizing Practices for Organizations with Michelle and Marissa Nahanee this July.  Join us there!

Applications are NOW OPEN for Beyond Borders, the central program of RADIUS’ Refugee Livelihood Lab. Learn more here.

To understand more about the relationship between the experiences of Indigenous and refugee communities check out the film screened at our launch:

UPROOTED, by Sepidah Yadegar, featuring Valeen Jules and Yas Pian

Produced by Access to Media Education Society

How does the Refugee Livelihood Lab respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action around Business?

In 2015, the Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC) released its report with 94 recommendations. The TRC engaged Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation. The report released in 2015 made a ‘Call to Action’ to specific audiences.

Recommendation #92 asks the corporate sector and their leadership to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. The commission calls for meaningful consultation, long term sustainable opportunities from economic development projects as well as education and training for managers on the history of Indigenous people, intercultural competency, human rights and anti-racism.

To respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls to action on a practical level, we will seek opportunities to connect solutions and economic ventures with the All Our Relations strategy of the Surrey Urban Indigenous Leadership Committee, and RADIUS/SFU’s First People’s Lab,  as well as engage lab staff, volunteers and Beyond Borders members in learning, self-responsibility and dialogue processes that unpack what it really means to decolonize the lab.

Beyond Borders Applications NOW OPEN

By | RADIUS Lab, Refugee Livelihood Lab | One Comment

Applications for Beyond Borders, the core program of RADIUS’ Refugee Livelihood Lab, are OFFICIALLY OPEN!

Click here to apply for the 2018/19 Beyond Borders program!

What is Beyond Borders?

Beyond Borders is an applied learning experience of 11 full days over the course of five months for change-makers, new and experienced leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs who are passionate about breaking through boundaries to create practical solutions for refugee livelihoods. Participants will radically reimagine  what is possible, designing social businesses or projects that enhance refugee communities’ social and economic inclusion in Surrey, BC. The underlying question participants are working to answer is this: how might we go Beyond Borders in current approaches to co-create pathways by which refugee communities can move from survival to meaningful livelihoods?

Who should apply?

We invite people with different experiences and perspectives to apply, including people with lived experience as refugees and other racialized newcomers who are: leaders; entrepreneurs; academics; students; settlement workers (both frontline and/or management); advocates; policy makers; employers and business service leaders; and others who see refugee economic and social inclusion as central to their work.

Is Beyond Borders for you?

Can you answer YES to these questions?

  • Do you have a passion for addressing challenges such as credential recognition, English language barriers, discrimination, poverty and social/economic exclusion of refugee communities?
  • Do you have ideas about refugee communities’ social/economic inclusion that you want to put in action but have not yet found a way?
  • Do you believe in the value of collaboration with the people most affected by these issues AND people with access to institutional power?
  • Are you willing to invest in your personal leadership and growth?
  • Are you able to commit a minimum of 11 days over five months to this process? (scholarships and income replacement are available as needed)

What will participants do?

Participants will receive support and training in systems thinking, user-centred design, ideation and prototyping in order to co-create new ventures. Together we will:

  • Critically Map the existing system, sensing and exploring with new tools, new eyes
  • Re-imagine refugee social and economic inclusion in Surrey beyond survival, transforming limiting structures towards a life of meaning
  • Break down boundaries between people with access to institutional power and people with the power of lived experience being a refugee
  • Address challenges which may include credential recognition, poverty, trauma, English acquisition, transportation, reactive funding cycles & systemic discrimination
  • Draw on opportunities including a growing refugee youth population who believe they can make a difference, cultural pride and identity, existing skills, desire to contribute, and expanding markets in Surrey.
  • Go beyond what is known, cope with the uncertainty, let wise solutions emerge, and then act fast to put practical initiatives on the ground

Why join?

  • Build your networks and transformative learning with a powerful group of people.
  • Develop project designs and business models which will provide deeper insight to the current problems and solutions.
  • Engage with organizational leaders, communities and policy makers who want to affect systemic change.
  • Actively lead and contribute to an area of personal passion.

Program commitment

The total commitment for the Beyond Borders program is 11 days between September and January. Beginning in March, participants will have an opportunity to extend their work to further develop and test social ventures developed in Beyond Borders.

Retreat dates are:

September 16-18
October 4-5
November 1-2
December 6-7
January 17th-18th
March-June 3 hours/week (optional) – to be announced.

Beyond Borders will be facilitated in English with interpretation supports as required. There will be a participation fee for those who have institutional support, and a scholarship program available.