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Conversations with Alberta Social Enterprises: Recap of a Haskayne Webinar

On May 28th, 2020, four amazing panelists from social enterprises around Alberta shared how they are finding opportunities to survive and serve as small-medium sized businesses during this unprecedented time of COVID-19. The panelists included:

  • Audra Stevenson– Co-Founder of Fresh Angles Inc. & VP Strategy & Fund Development, Leftovers Foundation;
  • Desirée Bombenon– Community Builder, Social Entrepreneur, CEO & Chief Disruption Officer, SureCall;
  • Shannon Neuman– Director of Wow, Righteous Gelato (formerly Fiasco Gelato); and
  • Claire Theaker-Brown– Director & Founder, Unbelts.

Conversations with Social Enterprises webinar was hosted and moderated by Alya Jinah, Experiential Learning Specialist at the Trico Foundation Social Entrepreneurship Centre. The Trico Foundation Social Entrepreneurship Centre at the Haskayne School of Business was established through the support of Wayne and Eleanor Chiu’s family foundation, the Trico Charitable Foundation. This new centre will support a thriving community, build social enterprise education, support curriculum development and fuel teaching excellence. As there is growing recognition of the possibilities offered by social enterprises, Haskayne graduate students and our community will have the unique opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a growing movement to do well by doing good.


Here are some key takeaways from the webinar:

  • ‘co-opetition’ – the idea of working together with those you typically compete with – is one key theme coming out of COVID-19
  • the idea of pivoting (really building on talents/skills/resources) to meet a need – e.g. producing masks
  • our value system drives change
  • doing well by doing good should be a program at Haskayne!
  • “we didn’t come this far just to come this far”
  • understanding our connections to humanity
  • how can organizations and ventures incorporate other revenue streams to access the gaps in funding?
  • what can students do to support their own communities and start their own social enterprises? Answer: just take the first step
  • practice being resourceful on your own, for example being productive working from home
  • the real leaders and disruptors are going to set up during this time
  • a renewed focus on culture and getting to the root of things
  • the value of being coachable and getting your feet wet still holds very true
  • always put your values first. For example: working with a supply chain that provides a living wage – it is always worth it to spend the extra dollars
  • now more than ever it is important to communicate clearly and effectively: hone in and let your communication shine
  • be a problem solver
  • sparking new ideas for social enterprise: work outside of your comfort zone
  • trust your instincts
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