Meet the 2017 Social Venture Challenge Participants

Our 2017 Social Venture Challenge Program is made up of six participants from the Sea to Sky Corridor. Read about the program here.

Brian Hockenstein – Affect – An immersive media platform for social change

Imagine for a moment that you could transport someone to another time, another place and make it seem as though they were really there experiencing the sights and sounds of a far off land. What good could you do in the world if you could bring people to a slum in a third world country or exposing the living conditions on First Nations reserves right here in Canada without them having to leave the comfort of their living room? Well, the technology exists and it’s called Virtual Reality Video.

Capturing the full 360-degrees of what is happening around these specially made cameras and then presented either through traditional web broadcasting means or viewed on a special head mounted display (goggles) – there are now more than 10 million of these devices out there in the world and the numbers are growing exponentially – these specially made films have to be seen to believe. It’s truly incredible the sense of immersiveness, and the subsequent feelings of empathy, that can be generated in viewers by watching these short films. I’ve seen grown men reduced to tears on multiple occasions and was struck silent by the awe generated in the minds of 8 year old street children in rural Indonesia when they go to “go” on a helicopter ride above the mountains of Pemberton.

Brian’s goal is to create a media platform where VR Films that have the potential to change lives – both of the viewer and the subject – can be easily discovered and enjoyed in one central place. From goggle-like head mounted the smartphone already in your pocket, the Affect platform will make it quick and painless to discover incredible immersive content.

Lenny Rubenovitch – Rubenovitch Furnishings & Co

In today’s society we are so disconnected to each other. Imagine if we could turn waste into timeless functional artistic furniture that would bring society together and captivate people to inspire change?

Rubenovitch Furnishings and Co. produces timeless and inspirational works that bring character and dialogue to spaces with consideration and respect to the environment. The Co. in Rubenovitch Furnishings and Co. does not stand for company but stands for collaboration, community and connections. We work with a number of artisans from various mediums and believe in the concept of “we over me”. There are numerous beautiful building materials from various businesses going to waste and Rubenovitch Furnishings & Co. aims to bring use to what one maker may see as scrap and not effective use of their time. We see as an opportunity to create something unique. By working with various suppliers we are salvaging materials from landfills and offsetting our production costs while yielding original work and sharing it with the community.

We believe in quality over quantity but also have selected products that can be made in larger quantities using streamlined mold making techniques. With a variety of products ranging from $50 – $2500+. Some items include jewellery, signage, sculptures, coffee tables, shelves, and dinning tables.

We believe in various makers coming together, aiding each other in a co-operative style. Growing together, sharing skills, tools time and space, we empower and enable makers with aligned values for our community to flourish. Partaking in international residences and programs that raise awareness and bring attention to important issues in society. Our furniture share stories that relate to our lives. We create fusing various materials such as character woods, concrete and metals with optimal practices. Our works aim to serve functional purpose but also present intent.

Melissa McLachlan – Bees Knees for Kids

Bees Knees for Kids will be an Early Learning Centre for kids aged zero to school age.The business will be social enterprise focused, as it will help to solve the urgent issues facing parents, families and businesses in the Sea to Sky community.

The Centre will help resolve many community issues including:
1. Providing coverage for Children for parents needing to work (currently over 2 year waiting lists)
2. Providing child coverage hours for parents 7 days per week, including statutory holidays.
3. Assigning priority to employees of local businesses first to ensure those who need coverage the most are offered it first.
4. Paying competitive wage packages suitable for Whistler, ongoing education, and flexible schedules to suit staff lifestyle.
5. Creating affordable and accessible education option for people wanting to work in childcare
6. Freeing up spaces in community programmed children’s activities (eg swimming, gym etc), to enable more children to attend.
7. Educating staff, parents and children to become more socially conscious so that it becomes part of their DNA. Educating children at this early stage, will help ingrain it in them, and their family.


Claudia Schemitsch – Rejuvenation Station

I would like to provide a service to people that puts them in charge of their health: the Rejuvenation Station.  I believe it is so important for everyone to know how to feed themselves nutritious, delicious, healing foods.  Many years ago I was faced with a serious health condition of my own.  At that point I took my health into my own hands and delved into the world of nutrition.  It has made a huge difference in my life and has led me to lead one in which I am healthy and thriving.  I think the social challenge here is people are busy these days and many do not have the time and/or know how to feed themselves and their family nutritious meals all the time. I want to provide workshops that teach people not only how to cook amazingly nourishing and yummy foods, but also meal planning.  This way they can tackle the task of feeding themselves and their family for the week keeping in mind the time constraints we all face in this modern world.  I would also like to provide an online program that teaches something similar so the program is accessible to more people from the comfort of their own home, at a time that is convenient for them.


Keith Hammermeister – Gear Share Hub is a peer-to-peer outdoor gear rental website aimed at building connections, reducing consumption, supporting local economies and promoting outdoor activities.
Gear Share Hub will build an online community of people with a passion for outdoor adventure that want to save money, meet like-minded people and consume less. Community members will be able to easily and securely list their own outdoor equipment for rent with others through the website.  Then members will be able to meet and exchange gear, create new friendships and access new adventures all while making profits and saving money.
Gear Share Hub Provides a platform for outdoor adventure seekers to connect, rent gear, share knowledge and save money.

Minna Koskela-Wild – Blue Mar 4 Change

Blue Mar 4 Change is a Social Enterprise, founded on its commitment to maximize human and environmental well-being. In a nutshell, “For a Brighter and Kinder Planet”. In addition, 1% of all sales support Blue Mar 4 Change Foundation, a Registered Canadian Not For Profit.

Through my travels, near and far from home, I’ve seen both beauty and poverty in the world. With every trip I take and adventure out the door, the thing that I see more of, is plastic. We are literally swimming in oceans of plastic. In fact, 8 million extra tons annually. It impacts us all.

Blue Mar 4 Change is proposing a new collection. Functional, quirky, planet friendly; products for plastic free oceans. The launch, a lunch box that you haven’t seen before. Ocean friendly, with a unique, kid stamp of approval.  Plastic Free Oceans? Yes Please.