Join us at BlastOff – A Slingshot Accelerator Cohort Celebration!

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Over the past six months, the six remarkable health promotion ventures in RADIUS’ Slingshot Accelerator cohort have learned, grown, been tested, and laughed together.

As this cohort wraps up, you’re invited to a community celebration: part presntations from the ventures, part social innovation mixer – all awesomeness.

Your ticket ($10-25) includes your first drink. REGISTER HERE.

Come on out if you…

  • want to learn about and celebrate these six health promotion focused social ventures
  • want to connect with social entrepreneurs who are in the thick of things – share experiences, lessons learned, and helpful connections
  • want to help us say thank you to the presenters, mentors, and supporters who have contributed to this Slingshot cohort
  • are interested in the Slingshot program and want to find out more
  • like spending time with a lot of fun, passionate innovators!

Who are the 2017/18 Slingshot ventures?

Dunya Media’s on-and-offline healthcare communications work builds healthy families across generations in the Canadian South Asian community, improving quality of life, reducing stigma around healthcare, and re-connecting people to their cultures while helping reduce the burden of cost on both citizens and the health care system.

Opthalight designs and manufactures portable smart ophthalmic diagnostic/monitoring equipment and software which provides a simple, digital alternative to conventional eye exams that are performed nearly 105 million times per year in the US.

The Good Stuff makes “ready-to-blend” smoothies: sustainably grown, whole food ingredients pre-packed frozen into delicious smoothie recipes. Just add water, blend, and enjoy.

Nomad Nutrition is a Vancouver based startup focusing on manufacturing healthy, organic nutritious meals for life on the go.

Richer Health teaches individuals and groups that are diagnosed with chronic degenerative diseases (lifestyle diseases) how to prevent, stop the progression of and even reverse their illnesses by switching to an evidenced-based nutritional therapy that uses organic, non-processed, plant-rich, whole foods and a natural detoxification protocol.

Cannabis Hemp Conference & Expo is the largest Cannabis Conference in Canada, featuring 60+ exhibit booths and a multiple scientific presentations and panel discussions over two days.

Announcing the Fall 2017 Slingshot Accelerator Cohort

By | Accelerator, RADIUS Ventures, Slingshot Accelerator, Uncategorized | One Comment

After an extensive recruitment process we are thrilled to announce the ventures forming the 2017 Slingshot Accelerator cohort.

Dunya Media, The Good Stuff, Nomad Nutrition, OpthalightRicher Health and Cannabis Hemp Conference & Expo are six health-based ventures that, upon successful completion of the six-month Slingshot program and its investment readiness criteria, will receive an investment of $25,000 as part of the program.

The ventures—which range in scope from nutritious convenient meals and on-the-go shakes, to health education and communication in communities, to new diagnostic technology—were chosen for their focus on helping people live healthy lives, marking the launch of RADIUS Ventures’ two-year focus on health promotion.

The intense Slingshot Accelerator program develops ventures’ investment and market readiness, providing business and innovation acumen along with access to a strong network of mentors and peers. It also helps ventures develop financial, legal, and marketing and communication strategies. The cohort will also benefit from an expanded pool of services providers, technology interns, and other experts.

The Slingshot Accelerator Investment Pool will act as a new source of pre-seed capital for these entrepreneurs, helping to kick-start their fundraising efforts while complementing the program’s capacity-building and network-development offerings.

These five ventures are lead by incredible teams, with inspiring products and services to help people live healthy lives. We couldn’t be more excited to work with them.

RADIUS warmly thanks all of the ventures who applied for the 2017 cohort; we look forward to staying in touch with you.

Share this announcement to join us in welcoming the 2017 Slingshot Cohort to RADIUS!

We’ll laugh, cry and cheer with these FAILURE WAKE speakers!

By | Accelerator, Events, RADIUS Ventures, Uncategorized | No Comments

FAILURE WAKE – RADIUS’ celebration of audacious entrepreneurial attempts gone wrong – is back for its fourth year! Brave entrepreneurs will once again take to the stage to share stories of valour and calamity, chutzpah and disappointment, lessons learned and ventures lost. Mistakes and failures will be aired in an Irish wake style celebration. We’ll laugh; we’ll cry; we’ll dust ourselves off and try again.

In anticipation of this exciting event, we’re delighted to introduce our four brave speakers and ultra-charismatic MC.


In 2012 Rick Havlak (top left) launched Vancouver’s only urban homesteading store. He envisioned a brick-and-mortar space where people of all backgrounds could come together to learn how things are made, think more deeply about consumption, and buy supplies for cheese-making, beekeeping, pickling, soap making, growing veggies, and more. First as Homesteader’s Emporium and then as Homestead Junction, Rick and his team hung out their shingle for nearly five years before closing the physical store in February of 2017. In the wake of this, Rick and his remaining staff are evaluating whether the brand has legs for educational events and e-commerce.

Len Laycock (top middle), serial entrepreneur, award winning marketing executive, sustainable business consultant and green product designer will share stories and learning from Upholstery Arts’ Black Swan Event – its impact on his newest green venture, and aligning business practices with positive economic, environmental and social outcomes.

Emily Lycopolus (top right) is the owner of Olive the Senses, a luxury olive oil and vinegar tasting room and shop in Victoria, BC, Canada that offers the finest fresh premium olive oils and balsamic vinegars from all over the world. She is also the founder of This Table Collective (, an online food community that sources artisanal food products, shares recipes and artisan stories, and supports food-focused charities. Emily lives in Victoria with her husband, Steve, and their pug, Cedrik. She can most often be found at local markets, in her kitchen creating and testing new recipes, or mingling in her store with her loyal customers.

Allanah Mooney (bottom left) has over twenty years’ experience in storytelling,strategy, and social change, including ten years in the NHL with the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks. She owns Lionheart Productions Inc. Lionheart works on large issues based film campaigns. Lionheart specializes in multiplatform, short-form content. Allanah produced a multi-film health and safety campaign for Teck Resources. Teck recently had their safest year on record and has reduced injuries by 50% since the campaign started. Allanah’s background includes international film campaigns in China and India. Her work has been translated into seven languages. Allanah is currently based in Calgary, AB and works as a consultant for Anstice Communications. She is also developing a documentary mental health series “Making a Comeback” designed to destigmatize mental health and promote innovate treatments.

Mike Rowlands (MC)
President & CEO at Junxion Strategy. Director at Hollyhock, and Social Venture Network. Entrepreneur-in-Residence at RADIUS. Philosopher. Advisor. Official Failure Wake limerick writer.


Tickets to FAILURE WAKE typically sell out, so get yours fast! Your ticket includes entrance, a free drink, appies, and a chance to meet and mingle with an impressive community of social entrepreneurs. We look forward to seeing you there! 

Click here to purchase your ticket at the price point that best suits you.

Trampoline Business Model Validation Program – Jan/Feb 2017

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Are you developing a business idea that will help address social and environmental justice or ecosystem health? Are you looking to access proven expertise to help guide you in developing and testing your business plan? Do you want to join a network of other social entrepreneurs as you tackle the challenges of starting your own business?

The Trampoline program is a validation stage program for new and emerging impact ventures looking to test and refine their business model. The program is designed to support entrepreneurs and ventures to test alignment, or potential alignment, between the following three core themes:

  1. The Problem: Is your venture focused on addressing a real, meaningful, and impactful problem?
  2. The Solution: Is your proposed solution viable and effective in addressing the problem without creating new ones?
  3. The Entrepreneur: Are you the entrepreneur or team to move this project forward?

With these three core themes aligned, you are off to the races. Missing one? Time to pivot, revise, or go back to the drawing board. Trampoline is your eight-week process to find out where you and your venture stand.

The program:

The core program consists of four-hour workshop sessions every week for eight weeks. Participants should expect to spend an additional three hours per week of work outside of the classroom.

What you’ll leave with:

  • The confidence and clarity to move quickly and make it happen
  • A complete and customer-tested pitch deck
  • An action plan with your next steps to a Minimum Viable Product or Service
  • Prioritized sales channels, customer types, and revenue opportunities
  • New and lasting connections with like-minded and local entrepreneurs
  • Frameworks and processes you can continue to use going forward
  • Exposure through RADIUS communications channels and networks


Interested in learning more? Check out what our community is saying.

“One of the great things about this program is that you come in with an idea and they really challenge you to look at that idea, break it down, and see if you can make it work… it’s an unbelievably rewarding process.” – Trampoline Alumni

“I feel a lot more prepared and confident to go out and test this product… it’s been amazing.” – Trampoline Alumni

“The instructors have been pretty fantastic, and they constantly are pushing you to think about your business in a different way and to really make sure you are asking the right questions and getting the right information.” – Trampoline Alumni

Cost: Cost: $995 per entrepreneur or $1,200 per team of two


Apply here. Applications will be reviewed as received and we may begin pre-work with companies as soon as accepted, so apply early!

Questions? Please email us at

June 6th: BlastOff with RADIUS Ventures! A Slingshot celebration + Startup City: Impact Kickoff

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Get your ticket now! | Invite your friends on Facebook

Since December, the hard-working ventures in Slingshot 3, RADIUS Ventures’ flagship 6-month accelerator, have learned, tested, grown, challenged, and laughed with (and at) each other.

Supported by Vancity and the Business Development Bank of Canada, the Ventures program finds and amplifies top emerging social ventures and helps them to become investment ready and growth ready.

As this 3rd Slingshot cohort wraps up, you’re invited to a community celebration – part demo-day, part social innovation mixer, part kick-off to Startup City: Impact!

Come on out if you:

  • want to learn about and celebrate these 7 food and beverage social impact ventures
  • want to connect with social entrepreneurs who are in the thick of things – share experiences, lessons learned, and helpful connections
  • want to help us say thank you to the presenters, mentors, and supporters who have contributed to this Slingshot cohort
  • are interested in the Slingshot program and want to find out more
  • like spending time with a lot of fun, passionate innovators!

Who are the Slingshot 3 Ventures? Read More

12 ways to #BuyItFwd with RADIUS Ventures this holiday season

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From a monthly healthy snack or organic tea subscription, to self-watering container gardens and homesteading know-how, to upcycled and traditionally woven bags, to a transformative semester studying abroad, RADIUS Ventures past and present have got you covered this holiday season. RADIUS is delighted to be part of the BC Partners for Social Impact #BuyItFwd holiday campaign, supporting local social enterprises and ventures. Check out these 12 ways to #BuyItFwd with RADIUS Ventures! Read More

Meet RADIUS Ventures’ third Slingshot Accelerator cohort!

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RADIUS Ventures is proud to introduce the third cohort of Slingshot Accelerator Ventures!

From insect-based protein powder and healthy snack boxes to First Nations teas and waste-free groceries, this cohort of radical doers is revolutionizing the food and beverage sector. From December to May, these seven ventures will meet each week, learning from Entrepreneurs-In-Residence Donovan Woollard and Mike Rowlands, mentors and experts, and each other as they build their ventures to new heights.

We thank our partners at the Business Development Bank of CanadaVancityFasken Martineau LLP, and Miller Titerle + Co for all the ways they make the Slingshot Accelerator possible.

And now, without further ado, we give you the next fantastic cohort of RADIUS Ventures!
Read More

Media Release: SFU’s RADIUS Slingshot program to boost B.C.’s sustainable food industry

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November 19, 2015
Simon Fraser University
University Communications


Donovan Woollard, RADIUS, 604.720.4223,
Maggie Knight, RADIUS, 604.329.0679,
Jean-Philippe Nadeau, BDC, 514.283.4369,
Vancity, 778.837.0394,
Paula Amiama, Zero Waste Market, +49.1.575.883.0727,
Lia Padgett, Thirsty Whale Elixirs, 604.657.9871,
Neil Thomson, Naked Snacks, 778.994.9659,
Tegan Woo, Amoda Tea, 604.368.6332,
Ross MacDonald-Allan, SFU Beedie, 778.782.9492,

Note to photo editors: HIGH QUALITY IMAGES AVAILABLE – available for download here

SFU’s RADIUS Slingshot program to boost B.C.’s sustainable food industry

Insect-based protein powder, First Nations tea blends, and home-delivered healthy snack boxes are just some of the local food-related ventures that will receive a jump-start from their inclusion in SFU’s third annual RADIUS Ventures Slingshot Accelerator. Read More

Apply now to the RADIUS Ventures Slingshot Accelerator Program

By | Accelerator, RADIUS Ventures | One Comment

Scaling your Impact Venture
December 2015 – May 2016, Vancouver BC

RADIUS is an innovation lab and venture incubator at SFU’s Beedie School of Business.  We have a specific focus on working with Radical Doers to create positive impact through innovation and entrepreneurship.  

RADIUS Slingshot is supported by and delivered with support from Business Development Bank of Canada, Vancity Credit Union, and Fasken Martineau LLP.

Thank you to all applicants. The application period is now closed.
Application form


RADIUS seeks impact ventures that are:

  1. in the early growth stage (starting at $50,000 to $200,000 in annual revenue), and
  2. looking for support in becoming investment ready and market ready.

In particular, we seek ventures that are actively pursuing growth capital, new market entry, and/or new product launch.  

Entrepreneurs will benefit from:

  • one-on-one support from our seasoned entrepreneurs-in-residence (Donovan Woollard and Mike Rowlands)
  • weekly co-learning sessions in a peer-driven environment,
  • subsidized office space in Vancouver’s Gastown neighborhood for six months.  
  • access to an extensive mentor network, and connections with downstream investors and lenders.  

Qualifying ventures will be selected for ongoing collaboration, investment, and co-entrepreneurship.


Radical Doers. You do things differently. You may or may not think of yourself as a social entrepreneur, but through your venture you are purposefully building a better world for yourself and those around you.

Up to three core team members (including lead entrepreneur) for each venture.  


  • A venture ready to scale in the next six months
  • A venture that addresses a meaningful social or environmental challenge as part of its core product or service offering
  • No sectors are excluded, but the following are particularly welcome to apply:
    • Sustainable food systems;
    • Education;
    • Health;
    • Ventures launched by SFU alumni

In certain cases, we will accept start-up ventures that are ready to start generating revenues in the next six months.  


The confidence and clarity to quickly scale your venture.

  • A complete and customer-tested Business Model Canvas
  • Prioritized sales channels, customer types, and revenue opportunities
  • New and lasting connections with like-minded entrepreneurs and mentors
  • Connections to lenders and early stage investors  
  • Frameworks and processes you will continue to use going forward


The RADIUS Slingshot cohort consists of the following:

  • Weekly cohort sessions with all program participants, Entrepreneurs-in-Residence, and mentors
  • Bi-weekly one-on-one sessions with a dedicated Entrepreneur-in-Residence
  • Free access to legal support (up to 5 hours per venture), Amazon Web Services, and Quickbooks.


Applications due October 15th. Program starts week of December 1st and continues weekly for six months. Core team must be available for all meetings in Vancouver (in-person or by online communication).  


RADIUS invests its time and resources in the success of its Slingshot ventures and shares in their success.  Thanks to the support of BDC and Vancity, there is no upfront fee for this program.  Instead, we charge a performance fees based upon incremental success (revenue growth, funds raised, etc.) up to 2x program delivery cost.  

QUESTIONS? Email RADIUS Ventures Director Donovan Woollard at dwoollard[at]

Meet our Trampoline 2 cohort!

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Our Trampoline 2 program is in full swing, bringing together a diverse cohort of social entrepreneurs – from upcycling design to health through social innovation, from pianos in public spaces to child care that fosters deeper connections between generations, and more. Trampoline is a validation stage program for impact focused entrepreneurs and ventures looking for support to test and refine their business model, to better position themselves for success. Our June 2015 intensive cohort is delivered by RADIUS Ventures Director Donovan Woollard and Entrepreneur-In-Residence Mike Rowlands.

Meet the Trampoline 2 entrepreneurs!

Basic Design

Basic Design is a social enterprise based in beautiful Vancouver. We are actively redefining the value of waste by giving a second life to landfill-bound materials and creating unique, cruelty-free products. We also work collaboratively with clients on a variety of interior, furniture and communication design projects, striving to use up-cycled, local and sustainable materials whenever possible.

Additionally, Basic Design is in the process of launching an initiative called Vancouver Trash Lab, which we hope will help educate participants about up-cycling and the design process, and potentially catalyze further closed loop systems and innovative ideas.

Jesi Carson

Jesi is inspired by compelling stories, engaging spaces and discovering cultures through travel. She holds a Bachelors Degree of Interaction Design from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, where she undertook interactive systems and advanced sustainability studies in addition to human centered design and research. As Design Partner and Communications Manager of Basic Design, a social enterprise with a passion for up-cycling, and Co-Founder of Cultivate Projects, a non-profit focused on building collaborative food gardens, Jesi strongly believes in the power of design as a tool for activism.

Theunis Snyman

Theunis is an aspiring social entrepreneur working his way to not working at all, but doing what he loves. As Design Partner and Principal Industrial Designer of Basic Design, Theunis strives to be socially conscious while practicing good design and having fun. Theunis holds a Bachelors Degree of Industrial Design from Emily Carr University of Art and Design and his creative strength lies in his ability to make and prototype using unconventional materials. An avid dumpster diver, Theunis is not afraid to take risks and fail often on the path to the right design solution, and he believes that good design should have a purpose.

Contact Info

facebook  |  website

twitter: @basicdesignvan
etsy: @basicdesignvan
#BasicDesignVan #VancouverTrashLab

Bridge 4 Health

Bridge for Health is a local and global network committed to social innovation towards health and wellbeing for all. Our mission is to shift the public dialogue to promote a collective and holistic understanding of health and to advocate for its support by:

a) Promoting broad-based participation in creating conditions that support health & wellbeing for all.
b) Fostering innovative strategies to promote health and wellbeing across sectors.

Health is created outside of health-care. It is created in our communities, in our businesses, organizations and governments. It cannot be created if we are excluding or not engaging those who live, love, work and play in those settings.

OUR VISION: Through sharing diverse perspectives & experiences, and tapping into existing resources, knowledge and skills, we aspire to contribute to the creation of safe, just, diverse, sustainable and vibrant environments that enable individuals, groups and local communities to flourish.

Paola Ardiles

Paola Ardiles has been recognized for her innovative, collaborative and inter-sectoral approaches in health promotion research, policy and practice and was recently nominated for the 2015 YWCA Women of Distinction Award (Metro Vancouver). Paola’s passion is to create spaces that facilitate dialogue to foster the development of relevant, practical and creative upstream solutions to tackle complex health issues.

Paola is an active volunteer and board member of the Public Health Association of British Columbia, a provincial non-profit organization that advocates for healthy public policies. As an Adjunct Professor in Health Sciences at SFU, Paola has published and contributed to numerous public health issues and is known to be a catalyst for change by supporting paradigm shifts in the way we conceive health. In 2012, Paola was awarded the 2013 Dr. Nancy Hall Public Policy Leadership Award of Distinction, for her local, provincial and national work to advance the mental health agenda.  In 2013, Paola founded Bridge for Health, a local and global network aimed to promote social innovation in health. With local, provincial, national and global partners, Bridge for Health is building a social enterprise to support the design of healthy businesses to advance the triple-bottom line.

Contact Info

facebook  |  website

twitter: @Bridge4Health

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 Principal 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.

Guardian Angels

My name is Mohak Goel, I am from India and I am a 4th year Business student, concentrating in Entrepreneurship & Innovation and Operations Management. Last semester I wanted to work for the betterment of the life of seniors in Vancouver. After doing primary and secondary, my team found this can be done by connecting generations.

My team then launched Guardian Angels: “We offer educational babysitting service by connecting wise elders and young life learners in Vancouver area to create meaningful and trustful relationships.” Our aim is to connect families with grandparents through this, a two-way relationship will be fostered, wise elders will get an opportunity to meet the young ones; the children on the other hand will gain invaluable wisdom and nurturing.

Currently, I am working as a Teaching Assistant in Simon Fraser University. I believe “When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life in such a way that when you die the world cries and you rejoice.”

Keys to the Street

Keys to the Streets placed 10 free pianos in Vancouver public spaces from July 1 to August 23, 2014. This project is inspired by similar pop-up piano initiatives which have appeared in cities such as Montreal, Toronto, and New York, and will be back on the streets of Vancouver for the 2015 season starting July 1st. Join the conversation with #Keys2Streets.

Aaron Tilston-Redican

Aaron was born and raised in Merville, British Columbia, a sleepy town on Vancouver Island’s east coast. Being surrounded by ocean, mountains and forest, Aaron developed a deep appreciation for the environment and a love of exploration. Aaron just recently completed his undergraduate degree in Environmental Geography at Simon Fraser University.  Aaron is currently employed as a research assistant at CityStudio, as well as being one of the project leads for the Keys to the Streets program.  In his spare time Aaron can be found cruising the coastline on his sailboat, surfing, or hiking.  Aaron is passionate about outdoor learning, and one day hopes to teach at an outdoor school.

Becky Till

Becky Till is a graduate of Human Geography and Dialogue from SFU and is ready to take on the world of sustainability and social justice through alternative education. She feels she is in exactly the right place working to make the CityStudio vision come alive and when she’s not there, she spends her time as a committee member of Youth For Policy Alternatives, singing in her band, and dreaming about her next meal.

Kim Luu

Kim is an aspiring change maker and creative professional. She has over 15 years of experience in fashion industry, primarily as a fashion designer for an international label based in Vancouver. She holds a Bachelor of Applied Design in Fashion Design and Technology from Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Kim is excited to get back into the workplace after taking a few years off to be a stay-at-home mom. Never happy with keeping the status quo, she is inspired by stories of entrepreneurs who are bringing innovative solutions to create positive social impact. She looks forward to utilizing her fashion experience to promote sustainable design and help elevate the lives of others. In her spare time, she enjoys thrift shopping, sewing, pinning beautiful photos of tiny houses and small spaces and photography. Connect with Kim on LinkedIn.

VIM House

The Vancouver Independent Music Centre Society is a non-profit, charitable organization made up of musicians, music presenters, managers, concert goers, business people and professionals who support the development of an affordable, accessible, sustainable and culturally diverse music centre in Vancouver.

We’re dedicated to getting it right. We’ve come a long way over the past three years and responses from all sectors of the community continue to drive us forward. A series of studies has determined the feasibility for a new state-of-the-art venue that suits the needs of audiences and the greater music community. Those studies have given us the foundation to move on to the next stage of the planning process.

We are developing an operational model that will work for audiences as well as the diverse music community. A favoured model, based in part on the Roundhouse Community Centre, is that the VIM House would partner with existing and emerging presenters as well as individual artists to present concerts and to support community, neighbourhood and educational programs, classes, workshops, clinics, creative residencies and music appreciation. This will enable a wide range of music programming over time.

Diane Kadota

Through Diane Kadota Arts Management, Diane is dedicated to supporting the composition, development, presentation and dissemination of creative music by Canadian artists. DKAM represents artists who have a high level of musicianship and artistry, creative vision, a respect for and knowledge of cultural traditions, professionalism and a commitment to the artist/manager relationship.

Contact Info

email: info(at)

facebook  |  website
twitter: @VIMHouse


Evolving mom collective. Handmade head wraps for the stylin’, individual, adventurous child.
Watch our story unfold! Drop us a line at

Bernice Paul

twitter: @BernicePaul
instagram: @peartreepaul

Bernice is one of those dime-a-dozen chemist-turned-marketers. Through high school she had wanted the career of the fictional FBI Agent Dana Scully, so after her BSc she started out with the RCMP forensic lab in Vancouver. After almost six years there she felt that operations could be greatly improved so she embarked on a part-time MBA program offered through UBC’s Sauder School of Business. It was during the MBA experience though, that Bernice transitioned into the business world: first in the green sustainability space and then quickly moving toward marketing and branding for values-based organizations.

Prior to her first maternity leave, Bernice was Marketing Director at Modo, where she enabled cultural shift within the organization and shepherded the rebranding project. After a protracted “matirement” Bernice has now rejoined the marketing world, currently enjoying part time work for the BC Co-op Association.

Hailing from East Van, Bernice now calls North Vancouver home with her husband Christian and daughters Pasha (1) and Bowie (almost 3). Bernice is the thinker behind Wuchild, always in search for the right approach.

Yvette Wu

twitter: @YvWu

Born in Winnipeg and raised in Steveston, BC, it was in her late teens that Yvette headed to Montreal to start her undergrad at McGill. The energizing atmosphere and thought-provoking leadership on campus was where Yvette was first exposed to the idea that business could be a vehicle for social and environmental change.

Not yet brave enough to explore this as a future career option, Yvette readied herself for the long haul in academia, in childhood development. Her inner calling to explore impact business was too strong to ignore so she took a leap of faith and enrolled in UBC’s MBA program.

Since the MBA, Yvette has held various consulting roles as a strategic advisor to different business functions. She built her business foundation at Best Buy and Aritzia and then entered into the social enterprise space through Lunapads and Vancity. Her current work led to the design and launch of Vancity’s “Fair & Fast Loan” an alternative for payday lending. Disrupting the payday loan industry has been exhilarating and rewarding for her.

Yvette is mom to one-year-old Henny, the original muse and inspiration to start her own business. Yvette is the heart of Wuchild, a natural connector with big dreams.

Contact Info


facebook  |  website

twitter: @hellowuchild

Starting your own social impact business? Apply by May 22nd to Trampoline 2

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Thank you for all applications submitted – the application period is now closed. 

Starting to build a business with a social purpose? Got a great idea and want some experienced mentorship to guide you in developing and testing your business plan? Want to join a network of other social entrepreneurs as you tackle the challenges of starting up?


Applications are now open for our next Trampoline incubator cohort. We’re looking for social entrepreneurs seeking to use their venture to address a real community, social, or environmental need. We welcome applications from first time social entrepreneurs, SFU students with a successful student social impact project to validate, early stage social ventures, and existing social ventures with a new product/service offering to test.

A successful social venture marries three elements:

  • it has a meaningful purpose and impact;
  • it feeds the passions of the entrepreneur; and
  • it has a viable, sustainable business model.

Trampoline works with early stage social ventures to determine if they have these elements.

The program will focus on:

  • Introduction to design thinking and human-centred design methods
  • Designing a venture for purpose and impact
  • Introduction to lean start-up and Business Model Canvas, particularly value proposition and customer/channel acquisition
  • Personal and team leadership
  • Cost accounting and financial modeling
  • Introduction to start-up financing tools and sources

What you’ll leave with:

  • The confidence and clarity to move quickly and make it happen
  • A complete and customer-tested Business Model Canvas
  • An action plan with your next steps to a Minimum Viable Product or Service
  • Prioritized sales channels, customer types, and revenue opportunities
  • New and lasting connections with like-minded and local entrepreneurs
  • Frameworks and processes you can continue to use going forward
  • Exposure through RADIUS communications channels and networks


Program Leaders

Donovan Woollard is a proven impact entrepreneur and the Director of RADIUS Ventures.  He has successfully built and run a number of ventures and is a well-regarded mentor, trainer,  and venture development partner.

Mike Rowlands is an accomplished entrepreneur, consultant and advisor who is engaged by mission-based organizations around the world to craft distinctive strategies and support visionary entrepreneurs and leaders.

Dates: Trampoline will run June 2nd-25th, meeting Tuesday and Thursday evenings

Location: RADIUS HQ at The AMP, #90-425 Carrall St (Gastown/Chinatown)

Cost: $1,200 per entrepreneur or $1,600 per team of two.
Applicants in need of funding may wish to apply for a Canada-BC jobs grant (which could cover 2/3 of the training costs up to $10k per person per fiscal year, where the business or self-employed person pays the other 1/3). Applications must be submitted before training begins and decisions take approximately 30 days. Businesses registered or operating in BC can apply for funding for their current or future employees. Please see the Canada-BC jobs grant website for further details.

Apply here by May 22nd at 11:59pm. Applications will be reviewed as received. We may begin pre-work with companies as soon as accepted, so apply early!

Questions? Please email Donovan Woollard at



You’re invited to BlastOff with RADIUS Ventures on May 7th!

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

A Slingshot accelerator Cohort 2 celebration
May 7th | 6 PM
Portside Pub | 7 Alexander Street
Light food provided.

Get your $10 ticket here!
Advance tickets include your first drink. (Otherwise, $10 at the door but no drink ticket!)

Since November, the hard-working ventures in Slingshot 2, RADIUS Ventures’ flagship 6-month accelerator, have learned, tested, grown, challenged, and laughed with each other. Supported by Vancity, the Ventures program finds and amplifies top emerging social ventures. As this second cohort wraps up, you’re invited to a community celebration – part RADIUS family reunion, part social innovation mixer!

Come on out if you:

  • want to learn about and celebrate these 8 social impact ventures
  • want to connect with social entrepreneurs who are in the thick of things – share experiences, lessons learned, and helpful connections
  • want to help us say thank you to the presenters, mentors, and supporters who have contributed to this Slingshot cohort
  • are interested in the Slingshot program and want to find out more
  • like spending time with a lot of fun, passionate innovators!

Who are the Slingshot 2 Ventures? Learn more about them here!

2014-5 Slingshot cohort

  • Ethelo – An online software platform that delivers actionable insights to organizations about the needs and desires of groups. Ethelo’s overarching goal is to bring disruptive improvement to a fundamental human activity: how we make collective decisions. We are looking to change the way democracy operates using a technology business strategy.
  • Homesteader’s Emporium – Homesteader’s helps modern folk connect with the world and each other by creating food and household products from scratch. They offer ready access to retail supplies, expertise, and regularly scheduled workshops at their brick-and-mortar space at 649 E Hastings St.
  • LifeSpace Projects – LifeSpace Projects is a thriving landscape design business that seeks to commercialize its proprietary self-watering LifeSpace Gardens.
  • New District – A Vancouver-based technology venture that connects the craft winemaker with the consumer. Combining high-quality content and refined technology, New District enables local winemakers to reach a wide audience of wine-lovers while maintaining focus on their craft.
  • Riipen – An online platform that connects student with companies through short-term, skill-specific projects early on in the students’ post secondary education.
  • Transformation Projects – A special events production company with a specialty in public engagement that fortifies the cultural immune system by curating events that happen in public, experiences for tens, hundreds or thousands. Their contracts focus on the good work of businesses, municipalities and NGOs working with a mandate of transforming community and upholding principles of sustainability, inclusion and creativity.
  • Urban Stream – Founded with the mission to change the local food system through technology solutions, Urban Stream is a Vancouver start-up that is rolling out its proprietary composting unit to restaurants and other Lower Mainland users.
  • Youth in Development – Youth in Development’s mission is to help students, both at the secondary and post-secondary levels, develop a holistic understanding of what it’s really like to live, learn, and work in a developing country.

SFU Change Lab Course – FALL 2015

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Then Change Lab is for you!

Change Lab is a “once in a degree” 7 credit experience (credit for BUS 453 and ENV 495) with lots of time for exploration, field trips, mentorship, hands on work time, and guest speakers and experts. You decide what direction to take your learning and at the end of this intensive experience you will have designed and implemented a social change project or  social impact venture.

Check out this awesome video from a past student!



Please continue to check RADIUS and Faculty of Environment webpages for announcements related to a 2016 offering.

 Further questions should be directed to instructors Dan Burns and Shawn Smith at <>


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

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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.

Salto Social: The Final Stretch

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

Salto SocialWith only one class left in the Salto Social incubator program, this week the five teams of Ecuadorian entrepreneurs worked together to calculate the finances behind their business models.

This second to last session proved an eventful one, with Felipe and Jose from Reino Funghi presenting their delicious mushrooms for the Salto Social and Impacto Quito members to enjoy. During the class break, we helped ourselves to samples while the team behind the mushrooms briefly explained the cultivation process and their passion for their product.

Next week, with the wrap-up of the Salto Social incubator, the teams will prepare their final lessons and begin to formulate their business pitch for a community event which will take place the following week.

Felipe and Jose from Reino Funghi

Felipe and Jose from Reino Funghi

Through this, the teams will apply the skills acquired throughout the Salto Social incubator and have the opportunity to present their innovations to mentors, community members, and other interested stakeholders.

Between the intensive incubator classes on Wednesday and the legal aid workshop on Thursday and Friday which some of the Salto Social team members are attending, this week has been a busy one for both Salto Social and Impacto Quito!

Read Milica’s last post about her time in Quito here.


Quito: Fireside Chats with Leaders of Social Innovation

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

Fireside Chat event image - speakersOn my first official day in Quito, I was invited to attend Impacto Quito’s Charlas Intimas con Lideres de Innovacion Social (Fireside Chats with Leaders of Social Innovation) – the local Shaping Davos event leading up to the live, online Shaping Davos forum on behalf of Global Shapers and the 2015 World Economic Forum.

The Fireside Chats featured 5 local business leaders speaking to an audience of 40 local social entrepreneurs about how they achieved success within an innovation resistant socio-cultural environment.

Among the speakers were: Santiago Peralta and Carla Barboto from Pacari Chocolates, Leslie Jarrin from Thoughtworks, Martin Acosta from Kiwa potato chips, and Juan Sebastian Aguirre (Apitatan) – a talented street artist whose witty & distinct art has attracted international attention.

Each of the speakers exuded an unparalleled passion for their venture and candidly shared their wisdom with an engaged audience of budding social entrepreneurs.

Apitatan - fish

One of Apitatan’s street art pieces

During Santiago Peralta’s presentation, I immediately recognized the Pacari chocolate brand and later learned that the company had recently expanded their business to many international markets, including Vancouver, Canada. As a notorious chocolate lover, I felt honored to share the same space as Santiago & Carla, who later treated us to complementary samples of their world renowned, award-winning chocolates.

After the presentations, the audience and keynote speakers broke off into teams to mingle, network, and exchange ideas, challenges, and personal experiences of social innovation in Ecuador. At this point the altitude and full day of travel was beginning to its toll, so I sat back and enjoyed the warm environment and a complementary beer. As the night wound down, many people stuck around to socialize, listen, learn, and share their stories, creating a safe and welcoming space to enhance a growing network of current and future change makers in Quito.


Although it had proven to be a long and eventful first day, that night I left the Impacto Quito office feeling welcomed, excited, and part of a tight-knit community of like-minded people forging their paths to make a difference in the world. What better way to end my first day in a new place?

Fireside Chat crowd

Back from Quito’s Salto Social accelerator

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RADIUS Director Shawn Smith returned last week from working with the Ecuadorean entrepreneurs in our “Salto Social” accelerator program in Quito. Run in conjunction with partners Impacto Quito and Global Agents for Change, the program is the first of its kind in Ecuador.

Running from October 2014 through February 2015, Salto Social is adapted from the 10 week Trampoline program RADIUS developed for social ventures attempting to validate their business models, which has already met success with entrepreneurs in a number of BC communities.

Shawn Quito Jan 2015 2

Shawn was in Quito last week for a special session, and joins other weeks by video conference from Vancouver in support of the excellent on the ground delivery team of Andres Ypes and Daniella Peralvo, both from Quito.

Shawn Quito Jan 2015 1

The 5 ventures in this inaugural cohort are:

Suspiro Taller – Suspiro is a socially conscious design workshop. We work with artisans from Ecuador to create textiles and bags using natural materials and traditional knowledge.

Hongos Alinimbi – an organic mushroom production company working to deliver fresh, organic mushrooms to local markets, restaurants and consumers.

Kradac – Working on a made in Ecuador prosthetics solution to create access to prosthetic limbs at dramatically lower prices.

Lunyxtec – designers of sustainable products for Ecuador, currently validating their business model for a rural biodigestor that can be sold to medium sized farms (a biodigestor is an airtight chamber in which anaerobic digestion of manure, biosolids, food waste, other organic wastewater streams or a combination of these feedstocks occurs. This process produces commodities such as biogas (a blend of methane and carbon dioxide), animal bedding, and fertilizer.)

Carpazo – a cultural events production company building on a very successful local music festival.

Salto Social Accelerator

RADIUS intern Milica Pavlovic arrived in Quito this week to continue supporting development of this program, as well as an additional collaboration with Impacto Quito to create a social entrepreneurship bootcamp for youth in Quito which we hope will launch in April. Milica connected with us through her work with Youth In Development, one of the current cohort of Slingshot Ventures. Milica will also be blogging about her experience, so stay tuned for more updates!


RADIUS Summer Program Offers Support, Collaboration, & Focus

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When Peter Ciuffa started his artisanal pasta business, he thought that he’d use the extra income to support his acting career. He made pasta by hand as his Italian mother had taught him to do when growing up in Calgary. But the real magic happened when he sold the product at Vancouver farmers’ markets.

Peter would start conversations with people, describing what made his pasta so special, how to cook it, and what seasonal vegetables and fresh meats to use to make a delicious home cooked meal. It was more than food to Peter—pasta brings friends and family together. Most people who stopped bought a bag of pasta.

Things were going great. The only problem was Peter wasn’t making enough money to cover his costs. How was he going to turn this into a real business?

Peter was one of 10 entrepreneurs who joined the RADIUS Summer Accelerator course this summer. Through 10 weeks mixing classes and one-on-one mentoring, he learned to turn his ideas into strategy through rigorous market testing and validation. He learned marketing, accounting and business modeling. More importantly, Peter discovered that his acting skills and passion for telling stories were not a liability in the business world, but rather were exactly what would set him apart from the competition.

The hard skills of entrepreneurship are relatively few but starting a new company is one of the most difficult things that one can do in life. The team at RADIUS designed the course to maximize the time that the cohort had together learning and collaborating. Using a flipped classroom model, where the content was largely delivered via videos and exercises outside the classroom, class time was reserved for working sessions and feedback on weekly participant progress.

Many participants identified focus and accountability to the group as important factors for them in choosing to do the course. Each week instructors, Dave Cameron and Miguel Guerrero laid out the work to be done outside of the classroom and heard from each of the participants how they applied this to learning from customers about their particular idea.

The model for the RADIUS Summer Accelerator course was originally designed by RADIUS co-founder Shawn Smith as a Simon Fraser University class for undergraduate students to team up and validate their business ideas. In 2013, RADIUS partnered with SFU’s Centre for Sustainable Community Development, Vancity, and Community Futures, piloting the model as a remote accelerator where community cohorts from small towns in BC would participate with the instructor(s) facilitating via videoconference. After several successful iterations on the Sunshine Coast and in Squamish BC, the team decided to re-vamp the material for a new in-person format open to community members in Vancouver.

The course ran in the evenings during July and August 2014, with participation open to anyone with a social business idea and willing to work hard to test it over the summer.

Peter Ciuffa has decided to focus on his sales and marketing strengths when he relaunches his artisanal pasta business in 2015. He now has the needed business skills and the renewed energy to take his business to the next level. All the while, Peter is remembering the real reason behind all of this hard work: bringing people together to share food, conversation, and connection.

Build Your Dream in Social Venture Accelerator Summer Course

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Are you, or do you know, an SFU student with a killer social impact idea? Interested in helping launch a social venture this summer? Let’s do it together! Check out this hands-on entrepreneurship experience this summer open to any SFU student with 60 credits or more.

Here’s what’s on offer:

  • $150 cash on Day 1 to fund your idea, and up to $3000 in awards for shared among top ventures
  • Tons of hands on support from top mentors, and the push to make it happen, the tools to build, test and launch your team’s idea
  • 3 business credits
  • A high profile, deep learning opportunity to take what you learn inside the classroom and apply it to the real world!

There are only 24 seats! Entrance is by application with a 200-word expression of interest letter and copy of your unofficial transcript, and open to all SFU students with 60 credits. Please send to Natasha Mrkic-Subotic ( or Shawn Smith ( and once approved you will be enrolled automatically.

RADIUS Team with 2013 Accelerator Cohort

RADIUS Team with 2013 Accelerator Cohort

Course Information

Summer Intersession (twice weekly sessions for 7 weeks)

  • Courser Number: BUS 492
  • Number of Credits: 3
  • Date: May 5th – June 16th
  • Class format: seminar, workshop & learning lab
  • Instructors: Natasha Mrkic-Subotic and Shawn Smith

Some Stats and Quotes from Previous Years

  • 45% rate as their best class ever, while the other 55% highly recommend
  • 80% rate themselves more confident/likely to become an entrepreneur (10% were already convinced coming in, 10% decided its not for them)

Quotes from 2012 Cohort

“This was the most eye opening and enjoyable class by far I have ever taken. Social Venture Accelerator gave me the fundamental knowledge on how to be an entrepreneur.”

“It was an experience of a lifetime, that forced me to go outside my comfort zones and actually begin to put to practice all that I had learnt and been sitting on in all my years at SFU. Because of this course I feel more confident in my abilities as well as entirely revolutionizing my conception of how much I can accomplish, and essentially there are far less No’s in my vocabulary.”

“This class was AMAZING! The instructor ensured I was able to understand all the concepts and apply them to my business, which was much needed as I knew absolutely nothing about business before taking this course.”

“Enrolling in the Social Enterprise Accelerator was the best decision I ever made at SFU. I learned more in the last 3 months than I did in 6 years at SFU/coop. You’ll learn so much about what social entrepreneurship is, how to create a positive impact, and what it takes to create and run a successful business.”

“BY FAR the best class I have ever taken at SFU. It teaches real world skills following a proven, tested system. This class is essential for any aspiring entrepreneur and even non-entrepreneurs as the skills taught in this class will carry over seamlessly to the 21st Century workplace.”

“Anybody from any faculty can flourish in entrepreneurship. I would recommend this course to anyone that has ever been curious about creating their own company after they graduate or have any interest in entrepreneurship at all.”

“The class was engaging, applicable, provided students with real life opportunity, and was totally hands-on. No one learns profoundly from simply reading a text book.”

“This class has changed my life and increased my courage and confidence to pursue my dreams.”

Venture Examples From Previous Cohorts – a ride sharing platform that allows university students and professionals to instantly find anyone they want to ride share with, saving time and money and reducing CO2 emissions.

ReFilamer – building a unique desktop 3D printing filament recycling solution that creates a closed loop production cycle, saving users money, reducing CO2 and keeping waste out of landfills.

Aspire – creating a software testing company that employs autistic individuals for their excellence in detail oriented, repetitive tasks.

Shawn Smith and the winning team, Enablelife, from 2013 cohort

Shawn Smith and the winning team, Enablelife, from 2013 cohort

Fusion Kitchen – cultural cooking classes taught by women who are experts of the culture building self confidence, work experience and income generation opportunities for women who have recently immigrated to Canada.

Foodavinci – a dynamic recipe engine for people with multiple allergies and food restrictions, providing food substitutes, products and recipes for unique diets.

Daycarepedia – daycare search and rating service bringing transparency and efficiency for busy parents in an opaque and inefficient daycare market.

EnableLife – online community and forum for the disabilities community to share life hacks, tips and tricks that is already showing strong interest from organizational and individual users.

*Several teams from previous programs are building their companies, with many receiving media, funding, formal incubation opportunities and other support post accelerator. This is a once in a degree opportunity.