By: Sydney Thompson
EPICentre and Libro Credit Union partnered together to develop a Social Impact Initiative which aims to cultivate a social enterprise ecosystem in our region that supports entrepreneurs looking to run a for-profit business that directly addresses a social, cultural or environmental issue.
Apart of our Social Impact Initiative is the Libro-EPIC Social Innovators Program. This 16-week accelerator program will support social entrepreneurs by providing mentorship, workshops, funding and dedicated office space. In order to qualify for the social innovator’s program, participants must first pitch their idea to a panel of judges.
On September 19th, 2019, EPICentre hosted its inaugural Libro-EPIC Social Enterprise Pitch Competition that welcomed seven entrepreneurs to pitch their idea. Only four out of the seven social entrepreneurs would be accepted into the program, which awards participants up to $8,000. Tension was high as the room was completely filled with students, professors, friends and family eager to see the presentations.
Each social entrepreneur was judged on their social enterprise business model, market research, social impact, feasibility, and program-fit. Our judging panel consisted of four business professionals from the community: Carolyn Vsetula, Libro Credit Union, Kent Walker, Odette School of Business, Clement Panzavolta, Conseil de la Coopération de l’Ontario, and Sydney Thompson, EPICentre.
The four social entrepreneurs who successfully completed their pitch and will be participating in the Libro-Epic Social Innovators Program are:
- Ola Ahmed, Kindness Café
- Matt Steckle & Mohamed Almoayad, West-End Farm Cooperative
- Alley Biniraz, Grown Lady
- Adrian Deschamps & Shane Trowbridge & Jordan Bonneau, Half Step Away Music Centre
We’d like to congratulate all of the social entrepreneurs who pitched their idea at the social enterprise competition. And thank you to Libro Credit Union for their continued support of this program. Please stay tuned for more exciting updates on our Libro-EPIC 2019 Social Innovators cohort.