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RADIUS Ventures

Join us at BlastOff – A Slingshot Accelerator Cohort Celebration!

By | Accelerator, Slingshot Accelerator | No Comments

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!

RADIUS welcomes new Slingshot Program Activator Tosan Omatsola!

By | RADIUS Ventures, Slingshot Accelerator | No Comments

RADIUS is thrilled to welcome the newest addition to our Ventures team, Slingshot Program Activator Tosan Omatsola!

Tosan is Managing Director at Kaptepia Capital, a boutique ventures and advisory enterprise focused on innovative solutions to complex issues in the natural resources and infrastructure segments. Tosan recently joined the RADIUS team by way of our Mentor Network, and has worked at BP and Ivanhoe Capital in various functional and executive capacities in global project development, ventures and capital markets. His passion is tackling and solving complex systems/problems whilst promoting human societal advancement through socioeconomically sustainable ventures and solutions. Tosan has degrees in Geological Engineering (BSc) and Geology (MSC) and is currently pursuing a Global Executive MBA at IE Business School. When not trying to tackle the world’s problems, Tosan enjoys spending time with friends, science, philosophy, art, music, architecture and design, winter and summer sports and cooking (alot)!

Welcome Tosan – the team is excited to have you on board!

RADIUS announces multi year partnership with Sto:lo Community Futures

By | First Peoples Enterprise Accelerator, Media Releases | No Comments
Today it was announced that Stó:lō Community Futures (SCF) has formalized a partnership between SCF and Simon Fraser University (SFU)’s Beedie School of Business, to collaborate on the growth and development of the rapidly expanding Indigenous economy in S’ólh Téméxw, the Stó:lō Traditional Territory. This is consistent with many of SCF’s key business strategies and is an expression of SFU’s mandate under its RBC First Peoples Enterprise Accelerator Program (FPEAP).
Supported by the Royal Bank of Canada Foundation, the RBC First Peoples Enterprise Accelerator Program is managed and delivered by RADIUS SFU. The FPEAP is designed to provide support and services to Indigenous entrepreneurs aspiring to become the next generation of leading innovators. In collaboration with local Indigenous partners, its incubation programming offers technical assistance as well as strong research and evaluation processes.
To learn more about this exciting development, check out the press release.

RADIUS Ventures: Building Your Powerful Network

By | Community, RADIUS Ventures, Slingshot Accelerator | No Comments

“Build a strong network” is advice that many entrepreneurs often receive, but how do you go about actually doing this? For starters, you can apply to the RADIUS Slingshot Accelerator program. Building strong networks is goal across all RADIUS programs – and a program highlight for entrepreneurs in the Slingshot Accelerator.

RADIUS takes a network entrepreneur approach to the ventures in our programs. It’s a term borrowed from the Stanford Social Innovation Review to describe a kind of entrepreneur that “expands far beyond the boundaries of their own organization, supporting peers and partners across sectors to solve the problem.” We immerse every innovator and entrepreneur in a supportive network of cohort peers, and a broader network of experts, advisors, partners, funders and clients.

A Cohort to support you

Entrepreneurs in both the Slingshot Accelerator and the Trampoline pre-accelerator program benefit from participating in a cohort-based educational series focused on building leadership capacity, management skills and business acumen. Through the series, the cohort builds bonds of trust and comradeship. Entrepreneurship is about hard skills – but it’s also about your capacity to persevere through inevitable challenge. The strength of your network is a key determinant in your capacity to successfully navigate those challenges

A Team of Program Delivery Partners

The Slingshot Accelerator provides ventures with the opportunity to connect and work with best-in-class Program Delivery Partners. Ventures will tap into the passion and business expertise of Partners including (list and link to three partners), who will provide in-kind services and facilitate sessions and workshops throughout the program.

An Advisory Board and mentors

More than 30 mentors support RADIUS ventures through the mentor network. Areas of expertise include branding, strategy, design thinking, entrepreneurship, sales, and more! Each venture in the Slingshot Accelerator has a dedicated advisory board and the opportunity to seek 1-1 guidance with select mentors in the pool. Mentorship has repeatedly been identified as one of the highest predictors of success in accelerators – we’ll work with you to build the mentor network you need.

An Entrepreneur in Residence in your corner

Entrepreneurs in the Slingshot Accelerator will benefit from one-on-one support from our seasoned entrepreneurs-in-residence, Donovan Woollard and Mike Rowlands.

Donovan Woollard is a Co-Director of RADIUS and oversees the Ventures program. Donovan spent four years as founding COO with Offsetters, Canada’s leading carbon management firm, where he built a 24-person team with a blue-chip list of clients and partners. He has also worked for Vancity, BC Hydro, and Ecotrust, and continues to help launch and grow responsible business initiatives with his company Transom Enterprises to.

Mike Rowlands is President & CEO of Junxion Strategy. In addition to leading Junxion and working with RADIUS, he’s an Executive Producer of the annual Social Venture Institute, Director of the Social Venture Network and serves on the Board of Directors of Hollyhock. As a B Corp Ambassador, helping to accelerate the growth of that community of responsible businesses.

A collection of Perks to make business better

New to the Slingshot Program this is year, the Perks Program builds you network by connecting you with complimentary or discounted access to productivity tools and softwares including  Clausehound, a legal tool geared towards entrepreneurs and early-stage businesses, and Sage Accounting, an accounting and bookkeeping software.

A Network to support and amplify your work

At the end of the day, it’s about building your business alongside a supportive community that can celebrate your highs and lift you up from your lows. The Stanford Social Innovation Review suggests that the “potential for impact increasing exponentially when leaders leverage resources of all types—leadership, money, talent—across organizations and sectors toward a common goal”– we couldn’t agree more.  

As a community of communities, RADIUS understands what the power of networks for entrepreneurs – and now we want to help grow yours!

Apply for Slingshot or Trampoline Today!

RADIUS Ventures’ Health Promotion Focus: Different Branches

By | RADIUS Ventures, Slingshot Accelerator | No Comments

Since we announced our focus on health promotion and $25K equity investment in every venture that successfully completes the Slingshot Accelerator, we’ve had a number of inquiries about the scope of our health promotion focus. These are great questions which we hope to shed light on with this post. Here are some areas, or “branches”, encompassed in our shift towards supporting health promotion-focused entrepreneurs and ventures with innovative business models. Note that this list is not exhaustive. If you think your venture could be a fit for one of our programs, apply by June 30th!

Prevention and early detection of lifestyle-based chronic diseases

Included under the health umbrella are ventures promoting positive habit formation – whether in relation to food and nutrition, physical activity and exercise, respectful use of addictive substances, or another area of healthy living. Extensive consultations with leading Canadian health experts highlighted the prevalence of lifestyle-based chronic disease in Canadian populations; you can read more about those consultations here.

Mental health

Ventures creating valuable tools and resources for individuals living with mental health conditions are invited to apply to one of our Ventures programs. These can include learning tools, symptom management products and systems, support for medication compliance and/or compatibility, assistance with social integration and other meaningful interventions pertinent to persons living with mental health conditions.  

Addictions and the opioid crisis

Ventures doing meaningful work to mitigate the staggering effects of BC’s ongoing opioid crisis are strongly encouraged to apply for RADIUS’ Slingshot Accelerator. The present crisis is, in large part, affecting the province’s most vulnerable groups. Ventures working on innovating safer methods of opiate consumption, systems level responses to the overdose crisis, emerging overdose prevention technologies and other meaningful interventions pertaining to safe drug consumption are welcome to apply.

Remote access to public health services

If your venture is working on improving access to public health services for individuals who have traditionally experienced limited or poor access to these services, you are wholeheartedly encouraged to apply to one of our programs. This can include access to tele-health services, remote diagnoses, improved access to prescriptions and medications or any other meaningful interventions that increase access to health services for traditionally underserved populations – whether for geographical, social or economic reasons.

As mentioned above, these are just a few possible areas encompassed by our focus on health promotion. If you think your early stage venture might be eligible for one of our programs, apply by June 30th or shoot the RADIUS Ventures team an email at ventures@radiussfu.com if you have questions.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Meet RADIUS Ventures’ Program Delivery Partners!

By | RADIUS Ventures, Slingshot Accelerator | No Comments

As a core part of the Slingshot Accelerator program, we provide ventures with the opportunity to connect and work with best-in-class Program Delivery Partners. Read on to meet Junxion Strategy, Manning Elliott, and Miller Titerle + Company and learn about their offering, commitment and support.

Apply for the Slingshot Accelerator Today! 

Slingshot Accelerator Marcom Partner: Junxion Strategy

With offices in Vancouver and London, Junxion Strategy is an international impact consultancy that works to catalyse progress on social and environmental sustainability. They inspire conscious leadership and nurture trusted organizations, consulting on strategy and planning, branding and communications, and impact measurement and reporting.

Mike Rowlands is President & CEO of Junxion Strategy and is RADIUS Ventures’ Entrepreneur in Residence. His goal is to ensure that the social entrepreneurs in RADIUS accelerators  STAY entrepreneurial 10+ years after the program. “Early stage social ventures are most ripe to blend strategy, brand, and impact measurement; it’s much harder to do this in a larger organization,” shared Mike.

An entrepreneur himself, Mike leads Junxion, works with RADIUS, and is Director of the Social Venture Network. He also serves as an Executive Producer of the annual Social Venture Institute and sits on the Board of Directors of the Hollyhock Institute, and is a B Corp Ambassador, helping to accelerate the growth of that community of responsible businesses.

Junxion has spent 20 years supporting mission-minded founders, pioneers of corporate social responsibility, non-profit executives, and philanthropists. By working at all levels, from “the big guys” to early stage companies, Junxion shares varied perspectives and ways of working, for the benefit of their clients.

Junxion is excited to see RADIUS focusing on accelerating ventures that are helping people live healthy lives. More than 40% of Junxion’s clients have worked in the healthcare sector. “Healthcare is the most complex of sectors,” shared Mike Rowlands, “ new ventures need to understand their place in the rapid rollout of new technologies, the sheer scale, the multiple union and labour relationships, the role of human behaviour, and the inability to forecast supply and demand.” Good thing you’ll have Mike on your side!

As part of the Slingshot Accelerator Program, participants will have a chance to work with Junxion Strategy on developing their brand, strategy, and marketing and communications.

Apply for the Slingshot Accelerator Today! 

Slingshot Accelerator Accounting Partner: Manning Elliott

We are excited to have Manning Elliott join our Program Delivery Partners this year, with Adam Denny leading the initiative on behalf of the firm!

Manning Elliott was founded in 1952 and consists of over 150 dedicated chartered professional accountants and business advisors with years of experience and success working with small businesses, growing public companies, and not-for-profit organizations. The firm has worked with thousands of early stage ventures that are looking to structure their business for growth and operations.

Adam Denny specializes in private company assurance and advisory services in a wide range of industries, including retail, manufacturing, distribution and transportation sectors. He has also worked extensively with not-for-profit as well as environmental and sustainability organizations, and has been involved in the preparation and presentation of course material for Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia with respect to accounting standards for not-for-profit organizations.

“We’re excited to work with companies that are innovative and solving real problems”, relays Adam about their participation in the RADIUS Slingshot Accelerator. The firm is also rallying some of their youngest and brightest employees to get involved, build their networks, and build their understanding of early stage businesses. Adam says that it’s the opportunity to “meet and support individuals with an entrepreneurial mindset that are helping to improve people’s way of life,” that drove him and Manning Elliott to get involved.

As part of the Slingshot Accelerator Program, ventures will have access and the ability to meet 1-1 with Adam and his colleagues and ensure that accounting processes and systems are setup correctly. “We also have relationships with other financial services organizations that early stage ventures may need access to down the road,” shared Adam. From the basic accounting questions, to software, to tax-planning questions – Manning Elliott will be able to support ventures with answering their questions. Want to ensure you get off on the right foot?

Apply for the Slingshot Accelerator Today! 

Slingshot Accelerator Legal Partner: Miller Titerle + Company

Miller Titerle is committed to changing the way people think about business lawyers and the legal industry. Founded seven years ago, the firm is taking their own approach and challenging the legal status quo – and they are helping people do good things while they’re at it!

This is Miller Titerle’s second year as a Program Delivery Partner, with partner, David Ford, leading the charge. David has more than 20 years experience working with startups and early stage ventures to support corporate formation, help secure financing and preparing for exit. He specializes in technology companies and  passionate about working with ventures with a social purpose. “I’m excited about working with ventures that have interesting solutions that solve real problems”, shared David, “I enjoy working with entrepreneurs, particularly those that are working to do some god work in the world.”

David encourages early stage entrepreneurs to work with lawyers earlier rather than later. “It’s about ensuring that you have the protections and structures in place so you can avoid things blowing up two years down the road.” Thanks David – we agree! But not just risk mitigation, it’s also about setting yourself up for long term success. “Involving professionals early and beginning to develop relationships with lawyers and accountants is important,” advises David. “Have them work together, a little bit of cooperation early on can go a long way.”

This year we are excited to be able to provide ventures with that coordinated and collaborative approach to legal and accounting. The goal will be to keep things simple and clean, and ensure that all of the ventures are set up for success.

Apply for the Slingshot Accelerator Today! 

Slingshot ventures will have the opportunity to tap into the passion and business expertise of our Program Delivery Partners, which provide in-kind services to the ventures directly as well as facilitate a series of sessions and workshops throughout the duration of the program.

To access all of the benefits of the RADIUS Slingshot Accelerator, including the $25K equity investment for every venture, early stage ventures that help people live healthy lives should apply before June 30th 2017.

The RADIUS Slingshot Accelerator supports early stage impact ventures. Through Slingshot’s unique combination of cohort based learning, individualized mentorship and equity investment – we support you in becoming investment, market and growth ready. Interested in becoming a Program Delivery Partner? We’d love to chat. Feel free to reach us at ventures@radiussfu.com

RADIUS Ventures’ Big, Audacious Problem Space

By | RADIUS Ventures, Slingshot Accelerator | No Comments

In this post, we will continue the discussion that RADIUS Co-Director Donovan Woollard began in his recent blog post, Thought Leadership: Building Positive Health Outcomes Through Social Entrepreneurshipas well as recap a roundtable discussion that was held with six health experts at the RADIUS Hub on May 23rd.

RADIUS Ventures is currently recruiting social businesses that are working to support the prevention and early detection of lifestyle-based chronic diseases. Learn about our current enrollment opportunities at our upcoming information session on June 8th or apply now!

Helping people live healthier lives. Few issues cut across so many aspects of our social and economic systems, how we build our communities, and the way we as individuals interact with the world. When RADIUS set out to understand the opportunities for new start-up ventures to support the prevention and early detection of lifestyle-based chronic disease, we knew that we were biting off a lot.

So last week we engaged six of Vancouver’s top thinkers and practitioners in the healthcare space to help us to refine our focus in a direction that could lead to positive impact. The following is an account of that process and its findings.

The key take-away? That these are truly sticky, complex, and pervasive problems. Even in stereotypically health-conscious Vancouver for instance, an estimated 7% of the population suffer from diabetes, 6% suffer from multiple chronic diseases, and 15% are obese. Simon Fraser University, the City of Vancouver and other partners are participating in the global “Cities Changing Diabetes” program to better understand and address this challenge at multiple scales. Addressing health challenges required taking on everything from urban design to personal habits and motivations.  

To that end, RADIUS Ventures’ Slingshot and Trampoline programs will be focusing on ventures with innovative business models that promote the delivery and adoption of healthful products in at-risk populations. This may include ventures in the following spaces:

a) the delivery and adoption of healthful products in at-risk populations. This may include ventures in the following spaces:

  • Food and nutrition
  • Active transportation
  • Fitness
  • Respectful use of addictive substances
  • mental health and
  • Positive habit formation in general

b) remote access to public health services (tele-health, remote diagnosis, etc.)

It’s big and it’s broad, but we are confident it’s the right place for us to focus in 2017-18.  Here’s why:  

The Idea Generators

As we moved towards a more refined health focus for our ventures programming based around accelerating ventures that help people live healthy lives, our team spent four months interviewing over 30 experts in both the health sector and community development space to better understand the drivers of the problem and leverage points where social entrepreneurs could contribute meaningfully to the prevention and early detection of lifestyle-based chronic disease.

Our roundtable last week brought together six individuals with deep expertise and unique perspectives to work together with our team to frame a problem statement. The problem statement was intended to guide all aspects of the RADIUS Ventures program, specifically our Slingshot accelerator program.  

Each of the roundtable participants had their own unique background and expertise to draw from – ranging from public health policy makers to a digital health CEO – and the breadth of perspectives and opinions made for a rich discussion.

Our participants included:

Diane Finegood, SFU Professor and former President and CEO of the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research

Andrew Taylor, Principal at KMJ Impact Consulting and former Executive Vice President and VP Investments of Grand Challenges Canada

Michael Fergusson, CEO of Ayogo, a digital health company applying design patterns from mobile games, location-based services, and behavioral economics to patient engagement

Dr. John Millar, Clinical Professor at the School for Population and Public Health at UBC and former Executive Director of Population and Public Health for PHSA

Jesse Veenstra, Project Manager, Population & Public Health at Vancouver Coast Health and former Project Manager at Healthy Families BC, PHSA

Mara Hansen Staples, Independent Global Health Consultant for organizations such as Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, PATH, Avenir Health, Gavi, and Pharos Global Health

Each participant had their own challenging questions for us, as well as insights and ideas to share. We are so grateful for their time and participation!

The RADIUS Way

To facilitate a greater shared understanding of our participants’ motivations, directions and unique contributions, we kicked off the session by asking the participants to chose an image from a number of cards that represented the motivation(s) for why they do the work they do. There were common themes across the group, one of them being a passion for solving complex problems.

We followed this exercise with a walk-through of our criteria and process for defining the ‘target zone’ for possible viable problem areas, while ensuring that the problem area would allow us and our ventures to address a key system leverage point, focus on primary innovation and leverage RADIUS’ strengths and assets.

We then moved into a more generative exercise where we asked the participants to work within the health promotion scope and the defined target zone to brainstorm viable problem areas, specific target groups and conditions and factors influencing the problem areas.

Supporting innovative approaches to delivery and adoption of healthful products

There were a number of insights that came out of the session: Youth and children, it turns out, are an especially impactful group to target given their adaptability and capacity to form new habits and skills; we were advised to focus more broadly versus narrowly in our problem statement; there is a challenge with respect to finding profitable business models in the prevention space; and we came to terms with the feeling of understanding these challenges, but not knowing how to move the needle in terms of addressing these big, complex problems.

In the end, we didn’t find a “nice tidy problem statement” to recruit around. We did, however, derive insight and understanding into the nuanced nature of this challenging space. There was also consensus among the group around leveraging innovative business models for the delivery in addition to the adoption of healthful products. For instance, healthy food already exists; the challenge is to structure a business model specifically designed to get it into the mouths of people who truly need it!  

Want to get involved with RADIUS Ventures? Come talk to us!

So there you have it: our big, audacious problem space. RADIUS Ventures’ Slingshot and Trampoline programs will be focused on ventures with innovative business models that promote the delivery and adoption of healthful products in at-risk populations.

Interested in learning more? Join us on June 8th for an information session at the RADIUS Hub; visit the RADIUS Ventures website for program and application information; and send an email to ventures@radiussfu.com if you have specific questions or suggestions for the Ventures team.

Thought Leadership: Building Positive Health Outcomes Through Social Entrepreneurship

By | RADIUS Ventures, Thought Leadership | No Comments

After studying the drivers of poor health outcomes over the past few months, it seems like humanity invests half its resources in making people sick and the other half in trying to make them well again.  The challenges are huge, multi-faceted and complex. The areas of possible improvement are multiple, diverse, and often complicated.

It’s for this reason that RADIUS has decided to apply our work to the prevention and early detection of chronic disease.  For the next two years, RADIUS is accelerating ventures that help people live healthy lives. Applications are open now.

We’ve taken a deep dive to refine both the Trampoline Business Validation Program and the Slingshot Accelerator (which now includes a $25K investment in every venture) and are working equally hard on defining a health focus that maximizes impact.  In this post, we share a bit of the behind the scenes process at RADIUS.

The RADIUS Way and Healthy Lives

For the past four months our team has been diving deep into the complexity of the health system and identifying opportunities for social entrepreneurs to contribute meaningfully to chronic condition prevention.

Getting to the unique elements of a person’s health context is like peeling the layers of onion, but medical practitioners operate within very real constraints: a short window in an appointment to listen, diagnose, and act; and a narrow scope of available solutions.  The best solution is to avoid the problem by addressing the health risk conditions well in advance.

To unpack the complexity of healthy living and understand both the challenges and opportunities for high value interventions, we’re putting ourselves through much of the same process we take RADIUS cohorts through.

We set out to understand where we can be helpful in promoting better health outcomes through our venture incubator work. We’re driven by three questions:

  1. Who can we serve?
  2. What are their needs?
  3. What can we offer them to meet these needs?

If we are to achieve positive impact, our focus needs to be clear correct and targeted.  

Finding Focus in Social Innovation

To peel the onion methodically and ultimately find the necessary focus, we work through a four-part process to define a problem statement – the challenge we’ll seek to address by developing and accelerating a cohorts of health-focused RADIUS Ventures.

  1. Define the possible universe

Going into this we knew our focus area was limited to influencing behavior that addresses risk factors for chronic disease. RADIUS interviewed every healthcare practitioner and health expert that we could get our hands on. Humility and curiosity are key to unlocking critical learning.

  1. Identify leverage points where new, enterprise-based solutions can contribute

This meant understanding the specific places where new enterprise-based tools could provide and reward pro-health options. Factors like income, education levels, and other social determinants of health have a massive influence, but might require policy or advocacy solutions. An app rewarding a teenager for choosing an apple over chips is useless, for example, if that local store only sells salty snacks, which they stock because their customers’ educational and income challenges prevent them from demanding nutritional options. We needed to understand the leverage points in the health field that could be effectively addressed by RADIUS launching and accelerating social ventures. This alignment is key for any social venture pursuing both revenue and impact.

  1. Assess relevant strengths (and weaknesses)

Next we assessed where our unique attributes could be most useful. We engaged the RADIUS team to map core competencies, networks and previous lessons learned. This stage is about the internal work required to understand our capacity to operate effectively on a new project.

  1. Define qualifying problem areas with sizeable markets

Finally – and this is the work we’re currently doing at RADIUS – we need to pull it all together to define a focus. That focus needs to play to our strengths, target a meaningful leverage point that can be affected by market based solutions and exist squarely within our possible universe. AND it needs to have a sizeable market. For us, this means that there must be a cluster of emerging and early stage ventures seeking to address this problem, and that the market those ventures target must be big enough to sustain them.

RADIUS works to build the capacity of Radical Doers, and to help them to scale their solutions.  Without dozens of entrepreneurs grappling with the problem from different perspectives, we don’t have the cohort participants to form a diverse, high quality program.  

At the end of this process we frame a problem statement. The problem statement will guide all aspects of the RADIUS Venture’s program, as it should all aspects of any participating social venture.

RADIUS Ventures Recruitment is Open Now 

RADIUS is so close to defining the problem statement that will focus the work we do accelerating ventures that help people live healthy lives in the 2017-18 year. We are hosting a roundtable with health experts today (May 23) and are carefully considering venture applications to 2017 cohorts.

If you’re interested in learning more or contributing to our discovery process, please email the Ventures team at ventures@radiussfu.com.

Early stage ventures that are working to help people live healthy lives can apply to a 2017 RADIUS Ventures cohort now.

Announcing the RADIUS Slingshot Investment Fund!

By | Investment, RADIUS Ventures, Slingshot Accelerator | 2 Comments

RADIUS is excited to announce the Slingshot Investment Fund  – making RADIUS the only social accelerator in Canada to offer direct equity investments in every venture that successfully completes the Slingshot Accelerator program.

The investment pool will act as a new source of pre-seed capital for entrepreneurs, helping to kick-start their fundraising efforts while complementing the Slingshot Accelerator Program‘s capacity building and network development offerings.

ENHANCING VENTURE OUTCOMES

RADIUS’ Slingshot Accelerator Program helps early stage ventures become investment ready and market ready.  Early investment has been demonstrated to increase the probability of positive venture outcomes such as securing additional funding and kickstarting revenue and job growth.

Slingshot ventures will spend six months developing their investor packages, connecting with local angel and venture capital investors, and getting ready to operationalize their growth plans. At the end of the program’s second month, ventures that show traction and progress will receive a equity investment of $25,000; in the rare instance where this is not the case, a mutual agreement will be reached for the path forward.

THE INVESTMENT MODEL

SFU will invest $25,000 in exchange for a 2% equity stake and a royalty on gross revenue. This royalty will be capped at $50,000 (2x the original investment).

There are no other fees associated with participating in the Slingshot Accelerator Program.

Click here to learn more about the Slingshot Accelerator!

RADIUS accelerates ventures that help people live healthy lives & invests $25K / Slingshot venture

By | RADIUS Ventures, Slingshot Accelerator, Trampoline | No Comments

RADIUS Ventures has some BIG NEWS:

  • We invest in your ventures: RADIUS now offers a $25K investment to every venture in the Slingshot Accelerator!
  • We focus on health: We’re focusing on accelerating ventures that help people live healthy lives!

In addition to receiving a $25K investment in your venture, entrepreneurs in the Slingshot Accelerator will:

  • build business and innovation acumen,
  • grow a powerful network of mentors and peers,
  • develop strong financial, legal and marcom strategies,
  • benefit from an expanded pool of service providers, tech interns and experts.

RADIUS has refined our Ventures programs to maximize the impact we can offer. We’re building on past success and responding to the needs of early stage entrepreneurs to get you market, growth and investment ready.

RADIUS focuses on accelerating ventures that help people live healthy lives.  

Early stage entrepreneurs working on ventures that prevent chronic disease by creating or incentivizing healthy choices are encouraged to apply to a 2017-18 RADIUS Ventures cohorts before June 30.

The RADIUS Slingshot Accelerator

The RADIUS Slingshot Accelerator helps early stage impact ventures become investment ready and growth ready. Slingshot’s six month program offers…

  • Direct redeemable equity investment of $25,000
  • Cohort based learning, to build close ties with other entrepreneurs grappling with the same challenges and opportunities;
  • Individualized capacity building, with a dedicated Entrepreneur-in-Residence and a broad mentor and advisory network;
  • Pro bono legal, accounting, and marcomms support;
  • Access to a tech intern for 4 weeks; and
  • Access to Gastown office space and a range of business perks.

Learn more or apply now

The RADIUS Trampoline Business Model Validation Program

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. Is the problem you hope to address real, significant, and a driver of negative health outcomes?  
  2. Is the solution that you offer a viable, effective, and competitive way to address the problem?
  3. Are you the entrepreneur that can bring this solution to market (and have fun doing it)?    

Learn more or apply now

Let’s not forget about these folks

The launch of the RADIUS investment pool is made possible in part through the support of the Charles Chang Institute for Entrepreneurship.

The Slingshot Program is supported the Business Development Bank of Canada and delivered with support from Miller Titerle + Co, Manning Elliott, and Junxion Strategy.  RADIUS is proud to be an official “Social Change Partner” of Vancity Credit Union.

Have a question? Want to connect? Know a friend who should apply? Comment on this post and the RADIUS Ventures team will respond!

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

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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.

MEET THE SPEAKERS AT RADIUS’ FAILURE WAKE!

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 (ThisTable.com), 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.

Join RADIUS at FAILURE WAKE

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.

Join the RADIUS Ventures Service Partner Network!

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Image: Slingshot 3 venture Zero Wast Market holding a pop-up shop at Patagonia.

Are you or your organization interested in supporting social businesses in Vancouver? RADIUS Ventures is focused on finding and amplifying top emerging impact ventures. The RADIUS Ventures Service Partner Network gives you an opportunity to make a significant impact on social entrepreneurs and the trajectory of their ventures. 

Wondering what that looks like?  Here’s an example:

One of the ventures from our third Slingshot cohort, Zero Waste Market, teamed up with interior design firm service partner ZAS Architects to build out their first brick and mortar store. “We’ve been working with them for just under a year,”  Zero Waste Market founder Brianne Miller shared with us. “It’s been a great opportunity for us to work with partners that are well established and looking to get more involved in the community and build new expertise.”

The motivation for ZAS Architects to work on this project – in addition to their interest in supporting emerging talent – was to create a case study on green building to present to their team. Green building and interior design is seen as a growth area for the firm and, according to Brianne, “ZAS has helped us with everything from doing the architectural drawings of our space to design consultation and working with us to incorporate elements of brand into our store design”.

If this sounds like an opportunity that you or your firm would like to pursue, keep scrolling to learn more about the RADIUS Ventures Service Partner Network.

The RADIUS Ventures Service Partner Network

Our ventures tap into the passion and business expertise of our service partners. The RADIUS Ventures Service Partner Network is a network of organizations and individuals looking to support impact-focused businesses in Vancouver. There are three tiers of partners in our network: Program Delivery Partner, Service Contributor, and Perks Provider. By sharing their time and knowledge, our service partners make a significant impact on the entrepreneurs in our programs and meaningfully influence the trajectory of their ventures.

Service Partner Tiers Description
Program Delivery Partner Program Delivery Partners provide in-kind services to RADIUS Venture program participants in addition to facilitating program sessions on topic areas of expertise. Program Delivery Partners provide a minimum of five in-kind hours of service per program participant and facilitate a minimum of two program sessions per cycle.

Our existing Program Delivery Partners include:

Service Contributor Our Service Contributors come from a wide range of professional backgrounds and pledge an average of 10 to 15 hours over the course of a year. Service Contributors provide a 50% discount on their rates to program participants and work with the participant to coordinate project scope, estimated number of hours, and expectations of the engagement.
Perks Partners  Perks Partners provide complimentary or discounted access to productivity tools and softwares, point-of-sale systems and cloud services, etc. for ventures in the RADIUS Ventures programs.

Joining the RADIUS Ventures Service Partner Network

By joining the RADIUS Ventures Service Partner Network, you and your organization will be able to meaningfully impact social businesses, tap into the RADIUS network of changemakers and be showcased on our website and via our social media channels.

Interested in joining the RADIUS Venture Service Partner Network as a Service Contributor? Please take 15 minutes to fill out our Service Contributor Survey on behalf of yourself or your organization. We will ask you to provide a bit of information about yourself and your organization, the skills and services that you would be able to provide, any past CSR initiatives or work experience you’ve had with impact-focused companies and 1-2 professional references. If your organization is selected to move forward, we will ask that you share 2-3 typical projects that you or your organization can deliver on, with the estimated number of hours to complete each and the number of hours you would be able to pledge to our program participants.

Interested in in joining the RADIUS Venture Service Partner Network as a Program Delivery Partner, Perks Partner or Mentor? Get in touch here

Spotlight on “Move your Mood” & “Leefy” | A look back at Trampoline 3

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The latest cohort of social entrepreneurs to participate in RADIUS’ Trampoline Business Model Validation Program recently delivered their final presentations. Under the leadership of sessional instructor Greg FitzGerald, the cohort of fourteen entrepreneurs (across ten ventures) met every Thursday for eight weeks to test alignment in three major areas:

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

A diverse set of amazing ventures came through the program in its latest iteration. Two of these projects shared the common element of utilizing a games-based approach to improving mental health in children: Dr. Randall Gillis’ “Move your Mood” game and Nicholas Cheung’s “Leefy”.  We interviewed both to learn more about the problems they are solving and the impact of the Trampoline Program on their journeys. Read More

RADIUS Ventures Community Health Survey

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RADIUS Ventures wants to know what community health means to you.

RADIUS Ventures is exploring a new focus area in community health and we’re looking to you – our community – to help us chart this path.  What aspects of community health do you feel are important, and who is doing valuable work in these areas?

We’ve created a short, nine question survey to allow you to have input and share your perspective with us. You won’t need more than 10-15 minutes to fill it out, and you’ll be helping us better understand our community’s priorities.

Click here to get started!

 

Volunteer with RADIUS | Slingshot Perks Program

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RADIUS is currently accepting applications for a smart, savvy volunteer to help build out the Perks Program for participants in our Slingshot Accelerator program.

The Perks Program provides complimentary or discounted access to productivity tools, point-of-sale systems and cloud services for ventures in the RADIUS Ventures Accelerator program Slingshot. We already have relationships with a number of providers. Your job is to build on that to develop a fully formed Perks Program. This is a part time volunteer opportunity reporting to the RADIUS Ventures Program Strategist.

The right applicant is excited to work pretty independently as part of the Ventures team, has a working knowledge of best practices and useful tools for early stage ventures and is interested in building relationships with RADIUS team, service providers and a community of social entrepreneurs.

The duties of the volunteer are as follows:

  • Research perk programs offered by other accelerator programs; understand best-practices; and make recommendations on how the program should be structured
  • Based upon the value offering of the Slingshot program as a whole, identify gaps and value-adds that could be provided by perk providers
  • Add to compiled list of potential perks and tools to ensure we have a comprehensive list of target offerings
  • Build relationships and programs with service providers to understand if they have an accelerator partner program or provide discounted pricing to early stage businesses
  • Conduct conversations (involving the RADIUS Ventures Program Strategist when relevant) to understand what potential partners would be able to provide and what they would expect to receive from RADIUS
  • Package the program and ensure that ventures are able to understand and access what is available to them

To apply, please send an email expressing your interest, along with your resume, to Rebecca Konsolos (rkonsolos[at]radiussfu.com) with the subject line “Perks Program Volunteer Application”.

Start date: immediately
Duration: three months (exact hours and duration are flexible)

[CLOSED] We’re Hiring: RADIUS Ventures Program Manager

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RADIUS seeks a creative, analytical, and agile entrepreneur and educator to join our team as the RADIUS Ventures Program Manager. Reporting to the Co-Director of RADIUS (Ventures) and working closely with the rest of the RADIUS team, the Program Manager will help to shape and deliver RADIUS’ incubator and accelerator programs for “Radical Doers”.

Applications are due by 11:59pm on Monday January 16th, 2017 (see application details below).

RADIUS delivers cohort-based programs to Radical Doers at various phases of exploration, launch, and growth. All of our programs are dedicated to…

  • creating peer-based learning and ‘doing’ environments,
  • developing Doers’ personal vision and leadership,
  • bringing Doers from broad perspectives and backgrounds into the innovation and entrepreneurship community, and
  • cultivating connections between the Radical Doers we work with and the broader ecosystem of partners, mentors, investors, lenders, learned ones, and other kick-ass doers.

Read More

Is the Trampoline Business Model Validation Program right for you?

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As you may have heard, the RADIUS Trampoline Business Model Validation Program is currently accepting applications.

If you’re considering applying, but aren’t sure if Trampoline is right for you, there are a number of ways to learn more. You could…

  1. Attend our Information Session on December 9th
  2. Send an email to ventures[at]radiussfu.com
    or…
  3. Start by simply asking yourself the following questions: 
  • Are you working on a social venture?
  • Are you the founder or co-founder of your venture?
  • Is your venture recently launched or about to launch?
  • Are you ready to rigorously test and refine your business model?
  • Are you ready to grow your network and connect with other social entrepreneurs?
  • Are you trying to confirm alignment between your venture and the problem you want to solve?

If you answered “yes” to most or all of these, then the Trampoline Program might be just what you need. Visit the Trampoline page of our website for more information and, if you’re in Vancouver on December 9th, join us in person for the RADIUS Ventures Information Session.

One Radical Doer’s Path through Fellows and Trampoline

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Two years ago, Devon Carr had just moved back to Vancouver.  A sailor, tinkerer, chef, and innovator – he came to RADIUS searching for an impactful way to apply his considerable talent and passion. Today, Devon is leading two exciting initiatives.  

Coastal Cover & the Trampoline Business Model Validation Program:

I first met Devon in the 2015 when he brought “Coastal Cover” to the RADIUS Trampoline Business Model Validation Program. Devon’s idea was to pull old sails out of the waste stream by turning them into tents for special events.  

Over eight weeks, participants in RADIUS Trampoline build the skills and confidence they need to validate the business model and potential impact of a social venture idea. Participants test their idea to ensure that:  

a) the venture addresses a meaningful problem;
b) the solution is viable and competitive; and
c) the founder has the skills and passion to carry it forward.

devon-tent

One of Devon Carr’s Coastal Cover tents

Most of the time success means a refined business plan and more confidence. Sometimes, though, success means recognizing that one piece of that triad is missing. Better to find that out in eight weeks than after eight months of trial and error!

That was the case for Devon. A couple weeks in, Devon realized that although the tent rental market was underserved and his business model was economically sound, his solution wouldn’t divert enough waste to be his life’s work.  After doing a couple of events he put the business on the shelf and continued to explore ways to apply his entrepreneurial learning.  

The next challenge that he sunk his teeth into emerged out of his experience with the RADIUS Fellowship.


Precarious Employment & The RADIUS Fellowship in Radical Doing

Devon was a 2015 RADIUS Fellow.  He credits this experience with fundamentally developing his understanding of social innovation (“like drinking from a firehose”) and with connecting him to a network of likeminded peers.  

While participating in the Fellowship – which pulls together the next generation of untamed social entrepreneurs and innovators early in their journey – Devon noticed that most of his peers faced precarious employment. These vibrant young changemakers who demonstrate remarkable accomplishment and a relentless dedication to creating positive impact are among approximately $5.5million Canadians whose work is seasonal, temporary, contract based, or self-employment.

Exemplifying the best of a social innovation mindset, Devon asked, “How might we create conditions to better enable young Canadians to take chances to create a better economy?”

Devon is close to launching a group benefits program for people precariously employed but dedicated to positive social change.  “I didn’t set out to be an insurance provider,” says Devon, “but I am dedicated to reducing the risks associated with following your own path, and benefits are great a way to do this.”

Moving forward

Devon is now structuring the benefits offering, and exploring a partnership with Ontario’s Coworking Health Insurance Plan (COHIP).  If you would like to learn more about whether this program may be a fit for you, please contact Devon at benefits[at]livelihoodinstitute.ca.

Ironically, Coastal Cover – the sail cloth tent company – is also alive and well.  Coastal Cover delivered 18 events in 2016, all in response to inbound inquiries.  “Even after I decided that this wasn’t the full deal in terms of impact,” Devon says, “I realised that it’s a good little business that can help generate revenue for other projects while serving a market need.”  

Today, Devon is an active member of the RADIUS community and is continuing to develop solutions that apply his unique skills toward addressing market and societal needs.

More about Trampoline

RADIUS is currently recruiting for its next Trampoline cohort, which runs January to March 2017.  Learn more or apply now by visiting the Trampoline page.   

More about the RADIUS Fellowship

Apply to the 2017 RADIUS Fellowship before November 26. For additional information, please email Fellowship Program Manager, Tamara Connell at tconnell[at]radiussfu.com.

Is the RADIUS Fellowship or the Trampoline Program right for you?

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The RADIUS Fellowship and Trampoline Business Model Validation Program are both currently accepting applications.

Theunis Snyman of Basic Design is an alumnus of both programs.  He’s active in the community and has partnered with and been contracted by alumni, by SFU, and by RADIUS itself. To help you decide if the Fellowship or Trampoline is right for you, Theunis shares highlights from his experience and learning in each program.

Theunis’ Journey with RADIUS

“The RADIUS Fellowship gave me a network of peers and friends, and a deep connection to a purposeful community. As a participant in the Fellowship, RADIUS gave me a place to really think about social change and surrounded me with people who supported each other in the work we do to solve problems. I didn’t have that before. And I’m forever grateful.

A year after completing the Fellowship, Jesi (my partner at Basic Design) and I were back for the Trampoline Market Validation Program. Trampoline was all about testing our business model. Through really frank conversations with expert instructors, we identified potential pitfalls that would impact our success. To get the most of out of Trampoline, you want to go into the program with clarity about the idea you are working on.

I came to RADIUS because I was really drawn to the idea of a community of people acting on their beliefs and creating solutions to complex social and environmental challenges. And that’s exactly what I found at RADIUS. SFU and RADIUS have supported me more than you can imagine.”

Apply to the RADIUS Fellowship

Applications are due by November 26th! Apply now.

The RADIUS Fellowship is looking for the next generation of untamed social entrepreneurs and innovators who are early on their changemaking journey, demonstrating remarkable accomplishment and a relentless dedication to creating positive, sustainable impact in all they do. Fellows will take a four-month journey from late January until early June 2017. During weekly learning sessions they will explore their own leadership, build their network; receive coaching and mentorship; and generously support their peers to help foster as much positive change as possible.

Join an information session on November 21st to learn more or email Fellowship Program Manager, Tamara Connell at tconnell[at]radiussfu.com.

Apply to the  RADIUS’ Trampoline Business Model Validation Program

Applications are due by December 6th. Apply now.

Trampoline gives emergent entrepreneurs the skills and confidence they need to validate both the business model and potential impact of a specific social venture idea. In this eight week program starting January 2017, participants will test a business idea they have in development and to ensure that the venture addresses a meaningful problem; the solution is a viable and competitive solution; and the founder is ready to carry it forward.

Learn more about Trampoline online or RSVP for an upcoming Ventures Q&A session by emailing ventures[at]radiussfu.com.