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From students to start-ups to scale, prizes advance Canada as a leader in social entrepreneurship

NOTE: This article was originally published as a news release.


Prizes of $270,000 celebrate all stages of social enterprises across Canada

CALGARY, ABNov. 22, 2021 /CNW/ – Prizes have the power to incentivize and the Trico Charitable Foundation has delivered $270,000 to social enterprises in Canada to help advance their work in using business models to solve social problems. Social enterprises across the early, middle and advanced stages were celebrated at the Pivot on Purpose Summit delivered in collaboration with the Haskayne School of Business.

2021 Recipients of the Social EnterPrize, What’s Next YYC, & NU awards. (Victoria Ross (aGRO Systems Inc.), Chloë Ryan (Acrylic Robotics), Diana Frost (Colouring It Forward), BE Alink (Alinker Inventions Inc.), Suzanne Siemens & Madeleine Shaw (Aisle International), Sue Crawford (ENABLE), and Peter Cornelisse & Lucas Godkin (Hydro House). (CNW Group/Trico Charitable Foundation)


Student recipients of the first-ever Pivot on Purpose social enterprise case competition. (CNW Group/Trico Charitable Foundation)
“There is so much activity in Canada that is pushing our understanding of the power of business models to solve social problems. It was thrilling in one fell swoop to shine a light on that activity, fund it, and engage the community in how we take this momentum to the next level,” says Dan Overall, Executive Director of the Trico Charitable Foundation.

Social EnterPrize – Recognizing advanced-stage ventures

National in scope, the Social EnterPrize targets advanced-stage social enterprises that exhibit excellence and advance our understanding of how business models can solve social problems, particularly social problems that marginalize populations Aisle International and Alinker Inventions Inc., both from British Columbia, took home the $100,000 jury prize and $25,000 audience choice, respectively.

What’s Next YYC – Nurturing the local scene

The What’s Next YYC prizes celebrate excellence in middle-stage ventures that are established but are still developing their social enterprise. These prizes are unique in that a key qualification is applicants must have already won an award or completed a support program such as an incubator or accelerator. As such, not only does What’s Next YYC celebrate best practices in middle-stage social enterprises, it identifies and celebrates the ecosystem supporting these ventures. Three prizes of $25,000 were awarded to aGRO Systems Inc.Colouring It Forward, and ENABLE.

Early-stage ventures get a $10,000 boost

The NU National Student Awards for Outstanding Social Entrepreneurship advance education and celebrate excellence in early-stage ventures led by student social entrepreneurs. One jury prize of $25,000 was awarded to Peter Cornelisse and Lucas Godkin of Hydro House, two students from the University of Waterloo, Ontario. The $10,000 audience choice went to Chloë Ryan of Acrylic Robotics (Quebec). Chloë attends McGill University and the University of Toronto.

Viewers get to be funders – POPular Choice Awards

In an effort to democratize the funding process, participants at the Pivot on Purpose Summit were able to be funders by voting for POPular choice recipients in each of these award categories.

The following prizes were handed at the virtual Pivot on Purpose Summit (POP), held Thursday, November 18, 2021 to Saturday November 20, 2021.

The Social EnterPrize (Advanced Social Enterprises):

$100,000 Jury Prize: Aisle International (British Columbia)

Menstrual health may seem like an unexpected point of inspiration for a social enterprise, but Vancouver-based Aisle saw a powerful opportunity to impact not only sustainability but also social justice. Founded in 1993, Aisle set out to create a world class collection of washable pads, period underwear, and menstrual cups, but they didn’t stop there – it became their mission to fight period poverty and create menstrual equality for people of all sizes and genders. Thanks to their efforts, over 30,000 individuals have been supported with product donations, and over 250 million disposable pads and tampons have been diverted from landfills and waterways.

$25,000 POPular Choice: Alinker Inventions Inc. (British Columbia)

Challenging assumptions about people with disabilities and building an inclusive community, Alinker is devoted to designing, building, and marketing durable walking-bicycles and accessories for people with mobility challenges who want to maintain an active life.

What’s Next YYC (Middle-Stage Social Enterprises):

$25,000 Jury Prize: aGRO Systems Inc. (Alberta)

aGRO is an engine managing the inputs and outputs of the agriculture industry to generate sustainable closed-looped systems within Canadian food and beverage production. It is their aim to reduce rural poverty of farm families with affordable livestock feeds, increase access to healthy foods through better connecting farm to table, and reduce emissions through diverting wastes from the landfills.

$25,000 Jury Prize: Colouring It Forward (Alberta)

Colouring It Forward is a social enterprise including a not-for-profit organization called CIF Reconciliation Society and a business called Colouring It Forward Inc. The purpose of the social enterprise is to advance education on indigenous issues, art, language and culture through a grassroots approach. It works with elders and artists to share their stories and teachings to help people to connect with Indigenous art and wisdom.

$25,000 POPular Choice: ENABLE (Alberta)

ENABLE brings people together, creating meaningful matches between families with disability and reliable, vetted support workers. It is their belief that the right fit makes all the difference, and by matching people based on shared interests, it fosters strong, long-lasting connections. ENABLE has formed over 100 connections and to date, their support workers have provided nearly 20,000 hours of support.

NU National Student Award for Outstanding Social Entrepreneurship (Early Stage Social Entrepreneurs/Students):

Jury Prize of $25,000: Peter Cornelisse & Lucas Godkin*, Hydro House (Ontario)

Peter and Lucas are engineering students at the University of Waterloo, working on sustainable energy solutions. Hydro House has begun development of a 100% self-sufficient, off-grid, renewable energy generation and storage system. It is a reliable and affordable alternative to fossil fuel generators. Hydro House plans to offer several system sizes intended to service remote communities, cottages, and single-family residences. Their systems will provide all Canadians access to sustainable, green energy, regardless of their location.

* If two students apply having co-founded a venture and they make it to the finals, they share any award.

POPular Choice of $10,000: Chloë Ryan, Acrylic Robotics (Quebec)

Representing a team of students from McGill University and the University of Toronto, Chloë Ryan and Acrylic Robotics are working to make fine art accessible to the general public. Their technology lets artists make limited-edition painted replicas of original pieces, allowing artists to scale and generate orders of magnitude more profit per design. This frees artists from the constraints of the traditional gallery system and allows them to make a living through selling their work at accessible prices.

Pivot on Purpose Student Case Competition (Students)

The subject of the case was SmartICE (Newfoundland), a community-based Work Integrated Social Enterprise (WISE) offering climate change adaptation tools and services that integrate Inuit knowledge of sea ice with monitoring technology. Their information contributes to more informed decisions for safer sea ice travel and supports community economic development such as outfitting and fisheries. By augmenting local knowledge and supporting traditional sea ice use, SmartICE also promotes Inuit culture, intergenerational learning, and community wellbeing.

First place prize of $5,000Team of Meg Steeves and Maddy From, both from the University of Calgary.

Second place prize of $3,000Team of Justin GillespieJennifer MooseJas Gill, Tahbit Dewan, all from the University of Manitoba.

Third place prize of $2,000Team of Niki Kearl, (Northern Alberta Institute of Technology – NAIT), Charlotte Wray, (University of Alberta), Kris Smylie, (NAIT), and David Desjarlais, (NAIT).


About Pivot on Purpose Summit (POP):

The Pivot on Purpose Summit (POP) is the next step in a movement to reimagine the power of business models to solve social problems. POP is held in collaboration with the Trico Foundation Social Entrepreneurship Centre at the Haskayne School of Business, the Trico Charitable Foundation (TCF) and the NU Community Board. Established in 2008, TCF seeks to close gaps in society by provoking innovation and building capacity in social entrepreneurship. Created by TCF, the NU Community Board is facilitated by young Canadian leaders for young Canadian leaders. Through the use of grants and awards, NU’s goal is to support emerging social impact leaders in the work of closing gaps in society.

The Trico Foundation Social Entrepreneurship Centre at the Haskayne School of Business was established through the generous support of Wayne and Eleanor Chiu’s family foundation, the Trico Charitable Foundation.

SOURCE Trico Charitable Foundation

For further information: Media inquiries: Daniel Overall, Executive Director, Trico Charitable Foundation, Phone: (403) 483-0996, Email:

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