Social Venture 2016: Doing Good Through Business

Interested in how we can make an impact in our communities? At this fun, interactive event we heard from inspiring speakers, learnt what it means to be a social venture, engaged in our ‘Angel Den’, and helped brainstorm social venture solutions to local challenges.

This event kicked-off the 2016 Social Venture Challenge Program for growing and supporting new social ventures in the region.

Social Venture Challenge in the News

Speaker bios

Dion Whyte – General Manager, Persephone Brewing Co.

Dion Whyte

Dion left a career as Manager of Sustainable Services for the Sunshine Coast Regional District to join Persephone Brewing Co. as its first GM. Dion maintains overall responsibility for farm and brewery operations at Persephone, managing supply chains, sales and distribution, Persephone’s amazing team of dedicated employees. Dion can be found working in the hop yards at Persephone or doing basically anything from atop a tractor. Dion holds a Masters in Forest Resources Management from UBC and has been an avid home brewer and lover of craft beer for many years. Dion lives close to the Beer Farm in Gibsons, BC with his wife and two children.

Mike Rowlands

Mike Rowlands – ‎Principal at Junxion Strategy

Mike is an accomplished entrepreneur, consultant and advisor who works at the intersection of business, community and sustainability. He supports visionary entrepreneurs and leaders in organizations around the world, helping to craft distinctive strategies, disrupt markets, and accelerate success. Along with his work leading Junxion Strategy Mike also sits on the Board of Directors of Hollyhock, a lifelong learning centre and retreat on Canada’s west coast, where he’s an Executive Producer of the annual Social Venture Institute. He’s an Ambassador for Social Venture Network, a community of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs that work together to create transformational innovation, growth and impact. He’s an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at RADIUS Ventures, an impact venture accelerator and incubator at the Beedie Graduate School of Business at Simon Fraser University. And he also sits on the Advisory Council to the Faculty of Management at Royal Roads University.

Bobby Lax – Chef & Community Food Coordinator of the Tofino Ucluelet Culinary Guild

In 2010 Bobby Lax was approached by 4 restaurant owners and a fisherman and asked whether he wanted a job working with Tofino and Ucluelet’s accomplished chefs to help increase their access to regional food. The owners and fisherman said to Bobby “We don’t know what we can pay you, we don’t know how many hours you can work a week and we don’t know when you will start but if you want this job it’s yours”. Bobby then did what any humbled, passionate and philosophy/business graduate would do and accepted a job he knew would be fulfilling, challenging and in the end make life taste better. As the now full time Community Food Coordinator of the Tofino Ucluelet Culinary Guild (TUCG), Bobby has had a huge impact on the amount of regional food west coast residents have access to, the national recognition his area has received as a culinary destination as well as the success of many small Vancouver island food producers.

Derek Gent – Executive Director of the Vancity Community Foundation

Derek proudly leads an arms-length community foundation associated with Vancity Credit Union in British Columbia. In addition to investing the assets and making grants, the Foundation also directly delivers a range of collaborative funding and advocacy programs with a focus on sustainable upstream development rather than aid. Building on the values, tradition and capacity of the relationship the Foundation has pioneered a number of innovations in philanthropy and impact investing, with a particular strength in social enterprise and community owned real estate initiatives in the region. Prior to his current role, Derek worked in the venture capital arm at Vancity, focused on impact investing through a portfolio of social enterprises, aboriginal ventures, alternative energy and nonprofit housing. His professional career started in microcredit with BRAC in Bangladesh, after an MBA from Queen’s University, and he worked in management consulting before a variety of roles at Coast Capital Savings and then Vancity.

Laura Barreca – Operations Manager, CleanStart

Laura BarrecaLaura hails from New York City, but as a dual Canadian-U.S. citizen, she attended McGill University and obtained her MBA from the Sauder School of Business at UBC. While getting her Bachelor’s at McGill she worked at a variety of positions at a restaurant in the heart of Montreal, eventually becoming the chef-manager and learning hands-on business skills. This led her to Vancouver and to Sauder, where she first learned about social entrepreneurship. Laura has a background working with the disability community in Vancouver, and currently volunteers with a number of non-profits. Laura has been with CleanStart for two years and has helped the company triple in size during that time. Laura is an Ultimate Frisbee enthusiast and loves hiking and camping in beautiful BC.

When: Friday March 18th, 9am-3:30pm (Registration 8:00 – 9:00am)
Where: Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre – 4584 Blackcomb Way, Whistler
Tickets: $50 includes coffee/tea, bannock/jam and lunch

Thank you to our Sponsors!

The 2016 Social Venture Challenge (SVC) program is generously supported by Squamish Savings, Community Futures Howe Sound, the Province of British Columbia, the Resort Municipality of Whistler,  Ziptrek Ecotours, and Whistler Shuttle.

The SVC program is part of the Centre’s LEAN (Local Economy Action Network) initiative, which aims to create a stronger shared-value based local economy through collaboration and collective action.

Squamish Savings Community Futures of Howe Sound

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