Skipper Otto’s Community Supported Fishery is one of five Vancouver social ventures – start-ups focusing on making social and environmental change while building a viable business – selected to receive financial support, communal workspace, expert mentorship and student interns at Sauder’s Coast Capital Savings Innovation Hub. Support for each venture is valued at $60,000.
“There is tremendous momentum in Vancouver’s entrepreneurial community to use business to find solutions for the world’s most pressing challenges,” says Associate Professor James Tansey, executive director of Sauder’s ISIS Research Centre, which runs the CSS iHub. “Our program harnesses this energy and helps early stage social ventures grow to the next level with the vision of establishing the city as a world leader for social venture development.”
This is the second cohort of social ventures to enter the business accelerator, founded with a $1-million contribution from British Columbia credit union Coast Capital Savings.
The ventures include:
Skipper Otto’s Community Supported Fishery, which sells fresh seafood directly to pre-paying shareholders, mirroring the “farm-to-plate movement” with “boat-to-fork.”
Mealshare, a venture that allows restaurant-goers to provide a meal to someone in need by choosing items bearing the Mealshare logo from menus at participating restaurants.
Fresh Roots Urban Farm Society, which transforms underused urban spaces into commercially productive farms, bringing diverse members of the community together to grow sustainable food.
Natural Source Vending, a company that designs, builds and manages free-to-staff food stations stocked with locally sourced all-natural snacks.
Shifting Growth Garden Society, an organization that creates temporary community gardens on vacant lands, increasing access to Vancouver’s community garden programs.
CSS iHub ventures are selected through a competitive process assessing their financial sustainability as well as their potential to have a positive social impact. They attend intensive workshops on topics including marketing and branding, and legal and tax implications. The entrepreneurs are coached in how to approach investors, prepare a proposal for private funding and close the deal.
Social ventures are the fastest growing part of the non-profit sector in North America. The most recent survey in B.C. reported that social ventures provided paid employment to 4,500 in 2009. The survey also reported annual revenues of $46 million, training to 10,450, and services to 678,000 British Columbians.
Tracy Redies, president and CEO of Coast Capital Savings
“Given Coast Capital Savings’ community mandate, to help build a richer future for youth in our communities and our corporate commitment to innovation, supporting the ISIS Research Centre through the Innovation Hub was an obvious choice for us. This program is extraordinary in its ability to capitalize on the benefits that social entrepreneurship brings to our communities and the learning experiences that it offers Sauder’s promising young business leaders. We are thrilled to be a part of such an innovative program.”
Winnie Sun, a newly graduated BCom in marketing who interned with 2013 ventures
“It’s like when people first discovered the potential of the internet and the dotcom economy. It’s a whole new way of doing business. There is a major push to do socially conscious business. It’s actually the evolution of charity, going beyond asking for money to become self-sustaining enterprises. You really do feel that you’re part of creating the next wave of business for the next century.”
The ISIS Research Centre at the Sauder School of Business is focused on leveraging business tools to advance social innovation and sustainability, through research, incubation, and application. The core research themes at ISIS are building the low carbon economy, social economy, and economic development with First Nations. The centre's goal is to build intellectual and human capacity by linking knowledge with action to further the field of sustainability and social innovation.
Coast Capital Savings
Coast Capital Savings Credit Union is Canada's largest credit union by membership with 504,000 members, total assets under administration of $14.6 billion and 50 branches in the Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, and Vancouver Island regions of British Columbia. Product innovations include Canada's first free chequing account from a full-service financial institution and the country's most flexible mortgage product, the You're the Boss™ Mortgage, which was named 2010 Mortgage of the Year by canadianmortgagetrends.com. Coast Capital offers one of Canada's 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures™. It is a member of Canada's Best Managed Companies Platinum Club and an Imagine Canada Caring Company. To learn more, visit www.coastcapitalsavings.com.