Meet the eight Social Venture Challenge 2015 Participants

Ski Heaven – – Reclaim Your Mountain Adventure Upcycle used skis into one-of-a-kind furniture and art.

Ski Heaven WhistlerEvery year, hundreds of skis are replaced by newer models as styles change and gear is damaged beyond repair. While there are many resale systems in the community, there is no solution for skis that have reached the end of their useful life. At the same time, visitors to Whistler are searching for a one-of-a-kind treasure to bring home. Ski material is strong, waterproof, and flexible, and can be remade into a variety of value-add products: outdoor / indoor furniture; wall art; window coverings; the options are limited only by imagination. This innovation in supply and demand will protect the environment, grow the economy, and inspire social change.”

Randi KruseFounder Randi Kruse and her husband are transforming unusable mountain sport gear into functional art, providing reliable local community economic growth and reducing waste. Ski Heaven will launch this fall at events and select retail stores, as well as through an online gallery. Randi and Luke are passionate about climate change solutions, and have dedicated their careers to providing strategic business and marketing support for organizations advancing sustainability. The Kruse-Ferdinands family live in Whistler with their two children and are avid ski and mountain bike enthusiasts.

Ski Heaven Pitch Video



Watch a 60 second video for Ski Heaven!



Change of Pace Men’s Centre – Squamish – To create a Men’s Resource and Activity Centre in Squamish to provide a safe place for men to have access to the resources needed for the emotional, physical, and mental growth. Change of Pace Squamish

“Men need a place to develop foundation for growth. We want to create a safe place for men to have access to the resources needed for the emotional, physical, and mental growth. We plan on creating a progressive healthy community. We hope by participating in the Social Venture Challenge we can make our dream a reality. I feel we have an incredible idea, but we are at the launch stage, and could use some guidance to make this work.”Zac McHugh_sm

Founder Zac McHugh is a Frontline support worker at Squamish Helping Hands Society, yoga instructor, weightlifting coach, Crossfit Instructor, volunteer and athlete. Zac’s exposure to healthy communities and the growth they have provided in his own life have inspired Zac to create a healthy supportive community for the men of Squamish.



Change of Pace Men's Centre Squamish

Watch Zac’s video for Change of Pace Men’s Centre in Squamish BC!




Lillooet Grown – To create new markets for local food producers by connecting producers and consumers by capitalizing on economies of scale.

Photographing the daily activities and farming lifestyle on Spray Creek Ranch located on Texas Creek Road, Lillooet“We are building a local food hub in order to open new markets to Lillooet-area food producers by capitalizing on economies of scale through cooperation. The new platform will allow buyers to purchase locally-produced foods from a variety of producers through an online software platform, reducing barriers to entry for both producers and buyers.”Katrina Ferrari

Katrina Ferrari is originally from the US, spent the summer working in Lillooet with local farmers to set up a food hub. Katrina has a Master of Public Administration with a focus on International Development and Nonprofit Management from the University of Washington. She is passionate about making the world a better place. She jumped at the opportunity to join friends in Lillooet and help them establish new markets for their amazing products.





Watch a video about Lillooet Grown





Food First: Nutrition Education for Children – To develop and grow a cooperative that To educate children about healthy eating and body image through proper nutrition choices and eating disorder prevention.

people - gardening - girl._small“The social challenge I wish to address is to educate all of the students in the Sea to Sky corridor about healthy eating and body image through proper nutrition choices and eating disorder prevention. I will start a program that provides age appropriate nutrition education through fun interactive activities and developing practical skills that the student can take away with them. This education will benefit them for the rest of their life.”

Tracy Higgs Tracy Higgs is a Canadian Hurdle Champion and Registered Holistic Nutritionist. Being a competitive athlete, as well as being diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, taught Tracy that the connection between what we eat, and how we feel, are intimately intertwined. To further inspire her clients, and keep her husband, and two extremely busy boys fueled, she can now add chef to her repertoire; along with educator, teacher, parent and health detective. Tracy wants to have impact on children’s understanding of nutrition growing up so they will choose to eat healthier and have healthy relationships with food. Kids are growing up disconnected from healthy natural foods.

  • See Tracy’s other business Foodease Meals

Green Moustache: Eat to Beat – To provide organic produce, meals and juices at cost to people living with cancer and who want to focus on diet to help beat disease. 

11243455_1641849026038852_9119679188506428014_n“Our social venture program will focus on providing 100% organic produce, meals and juices at cost to people living with cancer and who want to focus on diet (which represents 30-35 % of risk factors that contribute to the onset of cancer) to help beat their disease. We are addressing both a social and environmental challenge simultaneously. As of 2015, nearly 1-­in-2 people will have cancer in their lifetime and 1-­in-­3 people are living with chronic disease. By providing our community with access to affordable 100% organic food, we are helping to crush a health epidemic and reduce toxins in the environment.”Nicolette Richer

Founder Nicolette Richer’s audacious mission is to place a healthy and healing cancer-fighting eatery next to every McDonalds on the planet in an effort to reduce cancer rates by 50%. My motivation to create our social venture, Eat to Beat, came from hearing dozens of health consulting clients with cancer and other chronic illnesses claim that they couldn’t afford or access organic, nutritious and delicious cancer fighting meals and beverages. Via the Green Moustache, we knew we could fill this gap.


The Freed Food Society – To develop and grow a program of upcycling edible foods that would otherwise be discarded into canned products.

The Freed Food Society Whistler“The Freed Food Society is a non-profit based in Whistler that brings a solution to the food waste issue in our community and supports other local organizations and charities. We save edible goods that are going to be discarded and upcycle them into canned products such as jam or pickles and meals. We are currently working with the Food Bank donating food and being part of the Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program by teaching a few workshops around useful cooking practices to avoid household wastage. We are also part of Whistler and Pemberton Farmer’s Market.”Pol Lapeira

Founder Pol Lapeira is a designer, chef, artist and happiologist traveling around the world learning, sharing and growing. Working on being part of the change in our communities being another bee taking care of paradise. What motivated Pol to start his social venture? An interested in bringing solutions to what is yet to be solved. Creating a difference, an impact, a change while making myself and others happy.


AWARE: ecoActive Whistler – To provide conference groups with opportunities to get into nature through participation in hands-on environmental restoration and improvement projects.

“We seek to provide conference groups with opportunities to get into nature through participation in hands-on environmental restoration and improvement projects. The program creates a meaningful way for visitors to ‘give back’ and connect to the Whistler environment, supporting the delivery of local habitat / ecosystem improvement projects, while getting a dose of physical activity which is good for mind, body and soul. This enterprise is presented by Whistler’s environmental charity AWARE.”Claire Ruddy_sm

Claire Ruddy is originally from the UK. Claire followed a Masters in Environment and Business by working with small and medium sized businesses to reduce environmental impacts through improved processes, training and creating cultural shifts. Upon moving to Canada in 2006, she joined Whistler’s environmental charity AWARE as a volunteer and in 2013 became the groups first Executive Director. Familiar with working with different stakeholder groups and vested interests, Claire believes in finding the common ground amongst stakeholders as a path to moving forwards. ecoACTIVE was born from a desire to connect people with nature in a meaningful and impactful way that is good for both people and planet.

Positive Paddle (Lambrecht Surfboards) – To teach First Nation youth and teens to build and sell wooden stand up paddle boards.

“With Positive Paddle we want to travel to First Nation communities in the sea to sky corridor, and teach local youths and teens to build wooden stand up paddle boards. The use of wood and the building of a water faring vessel tie directly into the culture of most First Nation communities. We have observed through experience the enormous amount of self-confidence and self-empowerment associated with building and creating boards. The sense of accomplishment associated with this project can be something most young people have never experienced. This positive experience can be a catalyst that sets a path of continued learning, confidence and hope.”



The SVC 2015 program was generously supported by Squamish Savings and Community Futures Howe Sound. The SVC is a new program 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