This blog series by the Trico Charitable Foundation spotlights recipients of three types of awards presented at the November 2021 Pivot on Purpose Summit (POP), delivered in collaboration with The Trico Foundation Social Entrepreneurship Centre at the Haskayne School of Business. Social enterprises across the early, middle and advanced stages were celebrated at POP. The goal of this series is to help inspire, inform, and nurture the ability of social entrepreneurship to close the gaps in Canadian society.
POPular Social EnterPrize Choice, Alinker Inventions Inc., is 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.
BE Alink is a Dutch designer, architect, humanitarian, and inventor of the Alinker. BE explains:
“Medical devices are designed as a technical solution for a ‘body with a problem’. They also emphasize the disability and create a divide between people with and without disabilities. That divide isolates people, and isolation is often experienced as a much bigger burden, than the physical stuff people live with.
That is a justice issue. So, I designed the actual Alinker for who we ARE, not what we HAVE, and it changes everything. We built our company to be the vehicle for change to build healthcare that supports wellness – mobility, community, and healthy food.”
Since the Social EnterPrize awards in November 2021, they have entered phase 2.0:
“We have just started the design process of the Alinker 2.0, the device, as well as redesigning the company into the Alinker 2.0 (no further disclosure on the specifics as it is for an official announcement, other than that we aim to bring manufacturing back to North America).”
At the POP Summit, BE announced that if they won the POPular Choice award money, Alinker would like to partner with their fellow Social EnterPrize finalist and friend AccessNow. This excitingly came to fruition:
“We keep it [the award money] in reserve for the development of the partnership with Mayaan Ziv and her AccessNow app.”
Alinker is persisting through the ongoing effects of the pandemic on supply chains, specifically the bike industry:
“Prices increased, parts are not available, raw products are hard to get hands on, delivery from 4 to 24 months, minimum order quantity went from 150 to 1000 units and at order we pay 30% down of the cost price which increased by more than 30%, so effects on cash flow is an understatement, shipping cost x10 etc.”
The past two years have allowed Alinker to build out their mission further:
“These past 2 years we focused on going deeper and planning the 2.0 strategy. We went deeper in our practices of who we are as a company, building and expanding our community and systemic voice in the sickcare context.”
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.
Stay tuned for POP 2023!