UBC receives $1M from Coast Capital Savings to propel social ventures



Social entrepreneurs will soon benefit from a $1 million contribution from Coast Capital Savings to the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia.

The funding, announced today, will establish the Coast Capital Savings Innovation Hub, a program supporting early stage ventures devoted to solving social and environmental problems using for-profit business models. Led by Sauder’s ISIS Research Centre, the initiative will provide working space, mentoring from faculty, alumni and industry experts, and support from Sauder students paired with ventures as interns.

“Business can and should be a force for positive social and environmental change,” said Robert Helsley, Dean of the Sauder School of Business. “The Innovation Hub provides an ideal venue for Sauder students to learn from and contribute to this progressive new form of entrepreneurship.”

In 2009, the B.C.-Alberta Social Economy Research Alliance reported that social ventures provided paid employment to 4,500 workers. The sector generated annual revenues of $46 million, provided training to 10,450, and services to 678,000 British Columbians.

“Coast Capital’s decision to invest in the Innovation Hub stems from our recognition of the important role young social entrepreneurs play in challenging the traditional business model,” said Tracy Redies, Coast Capital’s president and CEO. “We want to support innovative businesses that combine financial sustainability with a commitment to improving our world.”

Ventures will be selected through a competitive process assessing their financial sustainability as well as their potential to have a positive social impact. Program participants will attend boot camps on topics from marketing and branding to legal and tax implications.

“Ultimately this program will prepare social ventures to pitch for and accept investment, and grow to the next stage,” says Sauder Associate Professor James Tansey, Director of ISIS. “The vision is to establish B.C. as a world leader for social venture development.”


Social ventures
Social ventures are the fastest growing part of the non-profit sector in North America. Using self-sustaining business models, these organizations are devoted to bringing positive social or environmental benefits to the community using for-profit business models.

Coast Capital Savings Innovation Hub
Fully funded to operate for five years, the Coast Capital Savings Innovation Hub will provide a series of one-year programs to early-stage social ventures. Ventures will be coached in approaching investors, preparing a proposal for private funding and closing the deal, and will work closely with student interns as dedicated business consultants for four months of the program.

Innovation Hub candidate profile
Founded in 2011 by Chantelle Buffie and Sonam Swarup, Fusion Kitchenis a social venture that empowers and integrates recently arrived immigrant women by employing them to teach cooking classes. The young entrepreneurs are growing their enterprise while earning revenue and strong reviews from customers hungry to learn authentic techniques of ethnic cooking.

About ISIS
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.

About Coast Capital Savings 
Coast Capital Savings Credit Union is Canada's second largest credit union with total assets under administration of $13.5 billion, 475,000 members and 50 branches in the Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, and Vancouver Island regions of British Columbia. 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 is an Imagine Canada Caring Company. To learn more, visit

start an evolution
This gift forms part of UBC’s start an evolution campaign, one of the most ambitious fundraising and alumni engagement campaigns in Canadian history. The goals are to raise $1.5 billion for students, research and community engagement, and to double the number of alumni involved annually in the life of the university by 2015.

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Media Contacts:

Andrew Riley, Public and Media Relations Manager
Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia
P: 604-822-8345
C: 604-306-7137

Divine Agodzo, Manager, Media Relations
Coast Capital Savings
P: 604.517.7549
C: 604.837.6372