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From selling shares in ethically-raised animals to upcycling used chopsticks into home décor, six innovative local companies with a focus on using business as a force for good have been accepted into the one-year Coast Capital Savings Innovation Hub (CCS iHub) at the UBC Sauder School of Business.

The CCS iHub, run by the UBC Sauder Centre for Social Innovation & Impact Investing (S3i), is a social venture incubator program that provides each venture with experienced mentors and entrepreneurs-in-residence, dedicated and knowledgeable full-time student interns, and a co-working space where they can thrive. As a result of the hub, each venture will become part of a larger entrepreneurial community that will enable them to bridge the gap from start-up stage to an established small business and gain valuable insight into the social innovation sector.

According to James Tansey, S3i’s executive director, Vancouver is seeing a growing number of entrepreneurs turning to the tools and methods of business to solve social and environmental challenges. “Business can be a powerful force for good in today’s world and can bring about meaningful change,” he says. “For five years now, the CCS iHub has been providing socially-minded entrepreneurs with a strong, connected community where they can grow as leaders and propel their impact to the next level of success.”

Funded by a $1-million contribution from Coast Capital Savings, the CCS iHub is designed for ventures wanting to embrace social innovation while using business models to create impact in society. The incubator program brings together early stage social ventures with B.C.’s social innovators, seasoned entrepreneurs, investors, faculty, alumni, and students.

“Coast Capital is committed to helping build a richer future for youth in our communities, and educational success is certainly a main ingredient of that,” explains Wendy Lachance, director of community leadership at Coast Capital Savings. “The Innovation Hub not only gives students with entrepreneurial aspirations an opportunity to explore their ambitions but, as James pointed out, they are moving the needle on social and environmental change. Those two components together help to build a rich future for both the iHub students and, more broadly, for us all.”

The 2017 ventures include:

ChopValue Manufacturing creates innovative composite materials using recycled chopsticks. Developed by a UBC PhD student in the Faculty of Forestry, ChopValue aims to remove more than 100,000 disposable chopsticks that are sent to Vancouver’s landfill every day in order to give urban waste a second chance.

GRAIN sources, sells and mills 100 per cent Canadian grains and beans, aiming to reconnect customers with the sources of their dry goods. GRAIN rejects conventional practices of processing, storage and distribution.

Meatme.co is an online marketplace for consumers to connect with local farmers for healthy and honest meat. The company crowdfunds whole animals, then works with local butchers and logistic partners to deliver meat straight to customers’ doors.

Naledo Foods and Beverages Inc. manufactures Truly Turmeric, a healthy and delicious paste that differs from powdered turmeric. Naledo ethically sources ingredients in partnership with Belizean farmers, helping them to build a brighter and more secure future for their families and communities.

Quupe is an online rental platform that provides a convenient way for people to rent things from their neighbours. The company aims to get items out of storage and into the world, where it can generate value for both the people who use it and the people who own it.

Zero Waste Market is a 100 per cent package-free grocer on a mission to reduce all food-related waste, including food waste and plastic pollution. At Zero Waste Market, customers bring their own reusable containers to purchase local, organic and ethically sourced whole foods and home items.

Background


The ventures for the Coast Capital Savings Innovation Hub are selected through a competitive process which assesses their business model viability and scalability, financial sustainability and potential to have a positive social impact. Through the program, ventures attend intensive workshops on topics ranging from strategic growth and marketing to culture and talent management. The entrepreneurs are coached in how to become mindful and resilient leaders, approach investors, prepare a proposal for private funding and close the deal.

According to a 2015 study, the social venture sector employs almost 13,000 individuals across B.C. The sector has grown 35 per cent since 2010, with sector earnings exceeding $500 million annually.

Organizational Profiles


UBC Sauder School of Business Centre for Social Innovation & Impact Investment
The Centre is focused on leveraging business tools to advance social and environmental change through research, incubation, and application. Its 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 is Canada’s largest credit union by membership. An Imagine Canada Caring Company, the credit union invested $5.6 million into local communities in 2016, focusing on empowering and engaging youth. Coast Capital is one of Canada's 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures™, and a member of Canada's Best Managed Companies Platinum Club. It has 52 branches serving its 532,000 members in the Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island and Okanagan regions of British Columbia. Product innovations include Canada's first free chequing account from a full-service financial institution. To learn more, coastcapitalsavings.com.