A bit of history

The concept for Sauder S3i was first conceived in late 2007 through a private donation from the Swift family to establish an organization that would realize Canadian leadership in social innovation. Sauder S3i was officially launched in the Spring of 2009 with the generous support of two founding families: The Swift Family and the Lalji Family. The original vision was that business and business education have significant roles in driving social innovation and active change in a complex global climate characterized by financial, economic, political and environmental instability. Coupled to this was the insight that change could not and will not happen through the actions of an individual but will, in fact, take the collaborative effort of a network of stakeholders, including society at large. Business and the business community are uniquely positioned to implement change since they are core to so many essential parts of everyday life in communities around the world.

Core themes

The Centre for Social Innovation & Impact Investing (SauderS3i) aims to build intellectual and human capacity by linking knowledge with action to further the field of social innovation and impact investing. We provide technical support to impact investors and social entrepreneurs across Canada.

The social economy operates between the private and public sectors through a broad range of community, voluntary, not-for-profit, and social profit activities. It engages the community to explore opportunities to improve delivery of public services through novel means, community regeneration, more inclusive wealth creation, and active citizenship.



McConnell LogoThe McConnell Foundation is a private Canadian foundation that develops and applies innovative approaches to social, cultural, economic and environmental challenges. We do so through granting and investing, capacity building, convening, and co-creation with grantees, partners and the public.


e@UBC logo graphicSince 2013, entrepreneurship@UBC (e@UBC) as helped more than 800 UBC venture teams to become inspired, to learn about entrepreneurship, and to build ventures. e@UBC helps UBC faculty, staff, students, and recent alumni. Regardless of whether a venture idea emerges from scientific research in the lab, is a business idea borne in a for-credit program, or is an idea from creative UBC students, faculty, staff or alumni, e@UBC is here to help the entrepreneurially minded to overcome the substantial challenges in creating successful ventures. e@UBC offers programs and support for all stages of venture creation, from ideation, through business model creation, to company building. They also support the next generation of UBC entrepreneurials - helping future leaders develop entrepreneurial skillsets.


Impact investing refers to the act of making investments into companies, organizations and funds with the intent to create measurable social and environmental impact alongside financial returns. It is a dynamic and growing field where new innovations are enabling more capital to flow up ventures creating impact in an entrepreneurial and sustainable way.



Toniic Logo graphicToniic is a global action community for impact investors. Toniic emerged in response to demand from and is informed by global impact investors interested in deepening their commitment to their practice. Their members focus on developing, improving and sharing successful strategies for investment portfolios, structured deals, community engagement and identifying exit and harvest opportunities in the marketplace. Their work builds on and complements the efforts of impact investing networks focused on foundation, endowment, and institutional investors, closing the critical infrastructure gap in the broader impact investment movement.


PIIN logo graphicThe Pacific Impact Investor Network (PIIN) was created to take a network approach to overcoming barriers faced by individuals, family offices, and foundations in Canada who seek to actively engage in impact investing. PIIN provides members with support through each stage of the impact investment process. PIIN members will be part of a collaborative network of like-minded individuals who will work together to increase capital investment in ventures creating positive social impact.


The climate change imperative has created new national and international opportunities for innovation in carbon management. British Columbia is the leading jurisdiction in North America for carbon and climate policy, which creates great opportunities for further innovation in carbon markets and offsetting.



Sustain UBC logo graphicUBC has committed to the integration of our operational and academic efforts in sustainability and the UBC Sustainability Initiative (USI), established in 2010, is the University’s agent in this innovation. USI fosters partnerships and collaborations that extend beyond traditional boundaries of disciplines, sectors and geographies to address the critical issues of our time. The initiative's work is carried out under two cross-cutting themes: campus as a living laboratory and the University as an agent of change.


Naturebank logo graphicNatureBank manages and supports investments in natural assets to generate revenue from commodities ranging from cocoa to carbon or timber. Drawing on 20 years of experience in the sector, the NatureBank team has the ability to increase the productivity and sustainability of these critical ecosystems. NatureBank specializes in providing innovative technical and financial solutions. Through their expertise and proven track record in climate change risk management, conservation finance, agroforestry and nature capital, NatureBank provide valuable advisory, technology and impact project investment services. Their services exist with the underlying objective to increase natural asset performance, sustainability and commercial returns across the entire value chain.


First Nations possess an abundance of human capacity, natural resources cultural and heritage. These assets provide the foundation on which lively and sustainable communities are built. By leveraging these assets, First Nations can develop and maintain thriving economies while preserving local culture.



Ch'nook logo graphicEstablished to address the needs of sustainable economic development in Indigenous communities, Ch'nook also recognizes the importance of celebrating the accomplishments of existing successful Aboriginal business leaders, organizations, and current students pursuing business education. Working with community, business, and academic partners, Ch’nook promotes business as a viable career choice for Aboriginal students and supports them in achieving their education in management and business. Ch’nook contributes to community-based economic development through its dual focus on fostering student interest in and engagement with business education.


Coast Funds logo graphicCoast Opportunity Funds is a unique organization born in 2007 out of mutual recognition by conservationists, First Nations governments, resource industries and governments alike that a sustainable economy is vital to a sustainable environment in the Central Coast, North Coast and Haida Gwaii areas of coastal British Columbia.

Composed of $116 million from the Province of British Columbia, the Government of Canada, and six private foundations, Coast Opportunity Funds works collaboratively with First Nations to support sustainable economic development and conservation management. Its vision is to be a world-class model of how empowered aboriginal peoples and communities can achieve meaningful economic development and community health while conserving the integrity of the ecosystems in which they live.


Image of woman with a headset talking
  • Contact the Centre for Social Innovation & Impact Investing

  • Get in touch

    Email us here

    CIRS Building
    Room# 2331, 2260 West Mall
    Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4