Close this search box.

Six Student Led Social Enterprises to Watch

For the past two years, the NU Community Board has strived to recognize and celebrate outstanding examples of student led social entrepreneurship through our local and national awards. Despite the challenges of the last three years, students continue to create and innovate solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems.

This year’s national awards competition featured six finalists for the awards. The NU Community Board offered two primary prizes: The Board Award ($25,000) and the Audience Vote Award ($25,000). In a surprise turn of events, we also decided to award each finalist who did not receive a primary prize an award of $5,000.


Award Recipients


Bronwyn Bridges (PragmaClin)

Memorial University

Board Award Recipient

PragmaClin Research Inc. is based in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador,
Canada. PragmaClin was co-founded in 2020 by Bronwyn Bridges, a PhD student and
CEO, and Gord Genge, a Parkinson’s patient, and the COO. Both are highly motivated
to find disruptive solutions for managing neurological diseases. The initial product is
a digital assessment solution for Parkinson’s Disease (PD), which affects ten million
people worldwide. PD is one of the world’s fastest growing neurological disorders
with a doubling rate of twenty years. PRIMS (Parkinson’s Remote Interactive
Monitoring System) is an integrated system that monitors, analyzes, and rates the
severity of PD symptoms remotely and objectively following an internationally
recognized standard rating scale. PRIMS will improve accessibility, especially for rural
patients, and the high volume of granular data collected will enable clinicians to
tailor treatment on an individual basis. PRIMS needs validation in a clinical setting in
2023 prior to commercial introduction.


Claire McLoughlin (Friendly Composting)

Thompson Rivers University

Audience Vote Recipient

Friendly Composting is a weekly organic waste pick up and bin cleaning service for residents
and businesses in Kamloops BC. We provide simple and accessible composting solutions by
supplying clean bins each week and ensuring all collected compostables are properly
processed into nutrient-rich soil. The Friendly Composting Community has diverted nearly 1
million pounds of food waste from the landfill since March 2020 which has avoided greenhouse
gas emissions and created nutrient rich soil. Friendly has provided composting solutions for
over 1100 households and 30 businesses in the Kamloops and surrounding areas.


Sean Campbell (Union Co-operative)

University of Waterloo

Finalist Award Recipient

Union Co-operative is working to buy residential & commercial properties in Waterloo Region for permanent affordability through community ownership. The founding members of Union Co-operative incorporated the Co-operative with the goal of improving rental affordability, and other economic, social, and environmental determinants of health in Waterloo Region. reports that the cost of renting a vacant apartment in Waterloo Region has increased
by over 24% in the past year alone. Union Co-operative purchased its first building on October 3rd. The building that includes 58 newly renovated 2 bedroom units and permits are underway to add 3 accessible units, bringing the total number of units to 61. We are working to add cooling and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by retrofitting the property with air source heat pumps. We intend to have a range of rents from $1,000/month to $1,500/months, which is affordable for households earning minimum wage to a living wage.


Karen Farley (NoSUP)

University of Waterloo

Finalist Award Recipient

NoSUP Canada will drive the Canadian food industry to introduce more plastic-free food in
supermarkets by collecting data from green consumers while they shop for food. NoSUP stands for “No Single-Use Plastic”. Our solution will capture green consumer purchasing decisions through a custom mobile app, such as when they choose not to buy a food product packaged in plastic or buy a cheaper food product packaged in plastic. We will sell reports from this data to food retailers, manufacturers, and packaging suppliers to provide evidence of consumer demand for plastic-free food. We are already building a community of green consumers across Canada who petitioned the government to strengthen Canada’s single-use plastic ban and attended our cleanup events in Kitchener and Ottawa. NoSUP Canada was founded in October 2021 by Karen Farley – serial entrepreneur, sustainability researcher and green innovation policy developer – and is based in Waterloo, Ontario.


Arielle Lok & Sang Le (Peko)

McGill University & University of British Columbia

Finalist Award Recipients

Peko is building Canada’s #1 online grocery marketplace that delivers “peculiar” or surplus
groceries at up to 40% off retail prices. We’re on a mission to fight food waste and promote
access to affordable, healthy food. In Canada, $3.1 billion CAD (~8% of all food wasted annually) of produce is rejected every year due to cosmetic reasons alone. Meanwhile, Canada is also experiencing the highest increase in food costs since 2010 (+$695/family). With excess food, nobody is winning. Farmers and distributors lose out on revenue, and people aren’t able to eat otherwise edible food. Since May 31st, 2021, Peko has completed deliveries every Sunday, selling over 11,000 boxes (~$270,000 in sales), rescuing over 175,000lbs of produce, and saving our customers over $600,000+ on their grocery bills.


Samuel Kondratski (Savick)

University of Calgary

Finalist Award Recipient

Sam is an entrepreneur focused on maximizing the positive impacts of the built environment. His work with natural building materials and prefabricated construction techniques is making buildings that are healthy for people and the planet more accessible. He is a second year business student at the University of Calgary and really enjoys being able to learn a concept in the classroom and then testing it out in the real world. His work with carbon storing, straw insulated, wall and roof panels is enabled by numerous mentors and collaborators, as well as a willingness to innovate and validate new concepts in the real world. While many climate solutions are very complex, what he’s trying to do is really simple; get the straw from his local farmers’ fields into high performance buildings. There is lots of work to be done, but the future’s looking positive!


In addition to the awards announcement, the public virtual event featured a panel of three Calgary based social entrepreneurs: Alice Lam (Volleyapp), Dustin Paisley (Local Laundry), and Kylie Woods (Chic Geek). They shared insights into their journeys as business owners, as well as how they made decisions about their business and social impact models.

The NU Community Board would like to thank all the students who applied for the 2022 awards, as well as all the support and insight shared by post-secondary and community educators. Thank you for all the work you are doing.


  • Categories

  • Archives