Alfred Burgesson is a student and entrepreneur, majoring in Political Science and Economics at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax. He is Founder and Project Director of HFX Collective and an active member of Enactus SMU. Enactus is the largest student leadership organization in the world and strives to solve environmental, social, and economic issues through entrepreneurial action. Alfred is part of a team that created and managed the Instagram platform, @cityofhalifax, building it to more than 12 thousand followers. Alfred is focused on social and economic initiatives that deliver impact and purpose to individuals and communities through direct engagement and communications. He serves on the board of the Community Sector Council in Nova Scotia and assists the Halifax Grammar Jr. High boys and the Basketball Nova Scotia U16 boys’ team.
Alfred’s social enterprise, ConnectED HFX, provides the spaces and programs necessary to create pathways for immigrants and those who are a part of a visible minority to gain knowledge and hands-on experience in media, technology, and entrepreneurship. ConnectED HFX opts to increase minority representation in the information and communication technology sector.
Veronika Bylicki is an engagement innovator, community builder and sustainability strategist. She is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of CityHive, a social enterprise on a mission to transform the way that young people are engaged in civic processes, in particular planning and decision making. Veronika is passionate about creating more sustainable, livable cities and amplifying the meaningful engagement of citizens, particularly youth, in addressing urban challenges. With a BSc in Global Resource Systems from UBC, she has worked in Sustainability Education Facilitation, Student Sustainability Engagement, Environmental Assessment, and as a director at Co-Design Engage. Veronika has delivered a TEDxYouth talk on Urban Sustainability and is a former RADIUS fellow and Top 25 under 25 Environmentalist (2015).
CityHive acts as a bridge builder between civic institutions who are facing complex urban challenges, and young people who have the lived expertise, energy and ideas to engage but may lack the opportunities or invitation to do so. CityHive works with civic institutions to create and carry out meaningful engagement processes, and also develops programming to build civic literacy and engagement opportunities through a Youth Hub and innovation labs. CityHive is shifting the narrative that young people are apathetic or disengaged, and believes that through carrying out meaningful engagement processes, instilling civic agency and harnessing the ideas of young people, we can ultimately create more sustainable and resilient cities.
Milton is pursuing a B.A. (Honours) in International Development and Economics at McGill University as a Loran Scholar, Canada’s largest undergraduate scholarship based on service, character, and leadership. Originally from Guatemala, Milton has been making the most of opportunities available to him in Canada and is determined to use them to improve other people’s quality of life. Focused on sustainability, food security, youth empowerment, and innovation, Milton’s drive to create change led him to co-found MealCare. Milton has been recognized at the regional and national level for his dedication to improving the state of communities around the world. Milton also has professional experience in social entrepreneurship in Kenya and in the financial sector in Canada.
MealCare aims to make Montreal’s food system more efficient by diverting surplus food from food retailers such as cafeterias and grocery stores, and delivering it to community organizations, such as homeless shelters. MealCare is designed for local food retailers who are beneficiaries as well as customers, as they reduce their food waste through data collected by MealCare, saving them money in the long term. MealCare benefits food insecure community members, community organizations, like homeless shelters, as well as the student volunteers involved, as they are empowered to impact their local community. MealCare currently runs at zero cost and is scalable to other communities across Canada.
From living on the streets of Halifax to scheduling meetings with some of Canada’s top executives, Fergus Dearden considers himself to be the “Rocky Balboa” of entrepreneurs. As a passionate intellectual with a disability, his “never give up, never surrender” attitude has enabled him to overcome incredible adversity, despite all the odds stacked against him. Despite obtaining a BA/BComm from Saint Mary’s University with majors in English, Philosophy and Entrepreneurship, he believes “the streets” will always teach what the classroom cannot. As a social innovator, Fergus invented “Blueprint” which is an economic overlay to target Canadian social issues. Fergus is currently a client of the Impact Incubator through Common Good Solutions as well as a member of the Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Network.
The Blueprint Loyalty Program allows retailers to compete with larger corporations while increasing their bottom line and supporting organizations dealing with poverty. The consumers who use the Blueprint Loyalty application on their smartphone will receive discounts when shopping at participating retailers, who display the “Blueprint Lives Here” branding. Funds that would go to the individual can be used wherever Blueprint Lives and would help to address the issue of poverty in Canada.
Rebecca Dunphy is a proud Cape Bretoner who found her calling in social enterprise. As a student in the Business Administration program at Nova Scotia Community College she became heavily involved in Enactus, a student run organization that uses entrepreneurial thinking to address social issues. In her final year she was president of the NSCC Waterfront Enactus team and was awarded Student Leader of the Year at the 2017 Enactus National Competition. Rebecca currently works as a Social Enterprise Development Manager for Common Good Solutions CIC in Sydney, NS. From age 15 to 22, Rebecca worked at summer camps for individuals with physical and cognitive disabilities. While at camp, she came to recognize the barriers that some of her campers faced in terms of accessibility. This is what sparked the idea for Rampage.
Rampage is a social enterprise that will manufacture portable and affordable accessibility ramps out of end-of-life tires and other waste rubber. The management and production of Rampage will take place within an Indigenous community, creating employment opportunities there. Rampage will increase accessibility in our communities, and reduce the amount of waste within landfills while creating job opportunities for indigenous people within the community where production takes place.
While working on her Bachelors of Engineering, majoring in Biomedical and Electrical Engineering, Janelle Hinds realized her passion for STEM education, entrepreneurship, and diversity issues. She founded PhaseOne, a collaborative community to learn about technology and organized deltaHacks, the first student-run hackathon in North America with a focus on enabling positive social change. She has worked on integrating efforts to increase diversity in many of her endeavors. Janelle is an advocate for social innovation and encouraging others to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors. Janelle has worked as a research analyst creating novel ways to improve youth mental health, was nominated as a YWCA Hamilton’s Women of Distinction and won the ‘She Moves’ Youth Outstanding Achievement Award. Winner. She has the opportunity to testify to the House of Common’s Status of Women Committee for her work promoting Women in Non-Traditional Fields.
Janelle created Helping Hands, a social enterprise on a mission to increase youth civic engagement and build skills amongst youth. They have created a platform workshop that matches youth with volunteer organizations using methods that provide youth access to improving valuable employable skills, provides non-profits with eager volunteers and reduce the administrative burden for educations. They host workshops to motivate disadvantaged youth and build their capacity to engage in the community.
Daniel Hyams is a native of London, England. Daniel’s education background includes research in social sciences, and he has been involved in the development of programs and research specializing in youth issues. Daniel completed his PhD in Social Sciences at Lesley University, Cambridge MA, USA. His dissertation, ‘Music Therapy as an International Practice: Clients and Therapists Perspectives,’ was later published in paperback with Scholars Press. Daniel piloted a project funded by the UK National Health Service for families with children with special needs. This project was included in a special compendium commissioned by the United Nations involving the collection of global music based projects that promote social inclusion: 2011 UN Compendium ‘Music as A Global Resource,’ and was an invited delegate to the UN General Assembly in New York.
Daniel’s social enterprise, Fermata Inc., provides fee-paying services for music therapy. It uses a portion of the profits towards providing free services for community agencies and private clients for music therapy for people with special needs. Fermata Inc.’s youngest client is 6 months old, and the eldest is 102. Daniel and his team work with many client groups, seeing over 700 people each week. Depending on the client, they provide life and social skills for young people with special needs using music to promote health and wellbeing. In long-term care, they use music for recreational and spiritual care towards end of life care, combat loneliness and isolation. For adults with addiction, they use music towards community building with the goal towards rehabilitation.
Chantele Joordens is a PhD student in the Social Dimensions of Health Program at the University of Victoria. Her dissertation research focuses on women who have experienced intimate partner violence and have a brain injury as a result. She is a 2017 Venture for Canada fellow, currently working with the organization as the Atlantic Recruitment Officer. Chantele works as the Principal Investigator on a MITACS-funded partnership project with The Cridge Centre for the Family, a transition and second-stage supportive housing facility for women fleeing from violent partners. Chantele has volunteered with MOVE Adapted Fitness and Rehabilitation Facility, working as a fundraising coordinator and successfully securing a Rick Hansen Foundation Grant to improve washroom accessibility.
Chantele’s social enterprise, Reset, is a safe and secure app for women fleeing from violent partners who need to reset their lives and start from scratch. It provides users with access to key resources in their community, including housing, employment, banks, legal services, childcare, and transportation at the touch of their fingertips, minimizing the need to commute in order to find these services themselves. Reset targets women who either don’t want to go to a transition house, or who are considering leaving their partner but are worried about the overwhelming logistics of starting anew.
With a background in International Development Studies and Economics, Tala Mahmoud’s interests vary from environmental sustainability and event fundraising, to improving the access to resources in communities. Now pursuing a Master’s in Political Science, Tala moved to the Nation’s Capital in order to find organizations to channel her innovative spirit into finding solutions to issues people face within their communities. She hopes to one day become a practitioner in the development field, work in Canadian organizations that aid in the delivery of funds and opportunities, and improve others’ quality of life.
The Maple Leaf Network is Tala’s social enterprise, created with the aim of helping new immigrants to Canada transition into their new lives. The interconnected choices between business decisions and societal development are the reasons why she began to work on this enterprise, as The Maple Leaf Network will address the needs necessary in order for newcomers to become self-sufficient in their new communities.
Alberta Muembo was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and spent most of her life in Sierra Leone and Kenya. She moved with her family to Canada four years ago as a refugee and has been working as a part-time interpreter in English, French, and Swahili at settlement offices in Saskatoon. She also does medical phone interpretation in English, French, Swahili, and Krio at Status Online Phone Interpreters. Alberta is currently pursuing a degree in International Studies at the University of Saskatchewan. On campus, she is involved with the Usask Model United Nations and the African Student’s Association. She also loves to volunteer at intercultural events and any other event that involves welcoming Newcomers or New Students to Canada.
Alberta’s passion for interpretation led her to build Bridge Interpreters and Translators (B.I.T). B.I.T. is a non-profit organization of interpreters and translators based in Saskatoon. As languages continue to evolve, communication barriers constantly grow. Inspired by SDG #3 – Good health and Well-Being, SDG #4 – Quality Education, and SDG #8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth, B.I.T. provides services that break down these communication barriers by bridging the gap between Newcomers and Canadians until Newcomers are fluent in either English or French.
Anne O’Neill graduated from St. Francis Xavier University in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science, majoring in chemistry. During her undergraduate degree, Anne was heavily involved in promoting the value of education, and, thereafter, was recognized as one of hErVOLUTION’s 150 Inspirational Canadian Women in STEM, in 2017. Anne continued her education at Cape Breton University (CBU) and graduated in 2017 with an MBA. During her education, she focused her studies on Community Economic Development and became passionate about social innovation. Anne is currently working full time as the Manager of Operations at the Elizabeth Fry Society of Cape Breton, and part time at CBU as a learning strategist and tutor. When she is not working, Anne devotes her time to her social enterprise, I AM.
I AM targets millennials who want to mend the gap of gender inequality, in athletics. If one purchases I AM athletic wear, then one gives a girl the opportunity in an organized sport. When a girl partakes in a sport, she leads a healthier lifestyle and gains both short and long term benefits. As a highly respected tennis coach, winning Tennis Nova Scotia’s coach of the year in 2013, Anne understands the important role that athletics play both on and off the court. Combining her passion for social innovation, her business background and love for athletics, Anne is hopeful that I AM will contribute to mending the gender inequality gap in athletics.
Yvonne Osagie is a fourth-year student at Carleton University, studying Neuroscience and Mental Health with minors in American Sign Language and Business. With dedication and commitment to empowering others and ensuring a safer community, she has embarked on many projects. She is currently the program director of Young Sustainable Impact and a Faculty of Science Councilor for the Carleton University Student Association where she helps young adults form entrepreneurship ventures aimed to tackle the UN Sustainable Development Goals. As president and Founder of the Terry Fox Club, she helped to raise over $220,000 for cancer research and continues to volunteer and do outreach within her community. Yvonne’s interests include global and social change, economic advancements in developing nations, mental health awareness, and music. On social issues, she advocates for women’s empowerment, equality, and general health and wellbeing of others both physically and mentally.
Yvonne has created the social enterprise, Empower Many (EM), building off her passions for women’s empowerment and community resilience. EM is an online platform that helps survivors of sexual abuse and aids in their mental health. By offering unique services that focus on prevention, support and awareness, it can aid in uplifting a community. EM addresses SDG #3 – Good Health and Well-being, and SDG #10 – reduced inequality.
Melanie Rodriguez is passionate about improving the education, economic prosperity and health of children all around the world. Her nonprofit experiences range from implementing strategy workshops in Canada to evaluating public health infrastructure programs in Nicaragua. Since 2012, she has completed nine nonprofit consulting projects in North America, Central America, and South America. To develop the skills necessary to consult in the nonprofit sector, Melanie worked in a variety of roles including evaluating the risk of a 200-million-dollar banking portfolio, delivering post-graduate sustainability curriculums and managing over 500 international volunteers. Most recently, Melanie applied her passion and skillset as Executive Director of the Alma Children’s Education Foundation – a charity implementing rural education programs in Peru and Bolivia.
Melanie plans to continue pursuing her passion by establishing Capacity Creation, an organization that will improve the productivity, efficiency and impact of small nonprofits through the delivery of Volunteer Management Systems. Volunteer Management Systems also address youth unemployment and underemployment in Canada. These systems provide nonprofits with the tools, templates and resources they need to improve the productivity of volunteers while supporting the professional development of volunteers in a time-efficient manner.
Farrah Seucharan is a graduate student with a passion for community development and assisting underserved populations in achieving their goals and dreams. As a person with a disability, Farrah’s own experiences in the workforce inspired her to create a social enterprise which would help people with disabilities secure long-term employment, while helping them to access social and medical services with less wait times, ensuring employers that they can have the supports they need to succeed. Farrah’s master’s thesis will focus on how advancements in technology can help people with disabilities worldwide, and she intends to use this research to further advance her social enterprise. Farrah also regularly fundraises for community organizations, and volunteers at a local “Newcomer Kitchen” which uses the power of cooking to teach refugees, immigrants, and other newcomers the English skills they need to succeed in Canada.
Farrah’s social enterprise, Inclusive Space Services Canada (ISSC), is an app and website that connects people with disabilities to long-term employment, while also providing them with links to medical and social supports so that employers can be confident in hiring people that have the provisions they need to succeed. ISSC is proactive in securing jobs for those who have been overlooked due to physical, mental, or other health issues, and will provide them with the assistance they need to find success in the workforce, while simultaneously diversifying the fields in which they are hired.