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POP-in with Colouring It Forward: Life Since the Social Enterprise Won $25,000

[box] 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. Two jury prizes and one audience choice prize (known as the POPular Choice), each worth $25,000, were handed out. The 2021 recipients were aGRO Systems Inc.Colouring It Forward, and ENABLE.

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. [/box]

What’s Next YYC (WNYYC) 2021 $25,000 jury recipient Colouring It Forward (CIF) is an Indigenous social enterprise designed to create conversation, develop understanding, and foster reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

CIF’s Founder Diana Frost is an Algonquin Métis, an artist, engineer and musician. In the spring of 2016, she woke up from a dream that had showed her the way to help Indigenous people by founding Colouring It Forward.

Since the WNYYC awards in November 2021, CIF has focused on a number of projects. Diana says:

“We are working on 4 new books: a book on Dene values by Dene elder Ted Blondin, a new Saulteaux colouring book, a new Stoney colouring book and possibly a book on Blackfoot culture and issues. Our Equinox Boxes continue to sell out every equinox and solstice. We are currently selling the last of our Equinox Box to coincide with the Summer Solstice. We are collaborating with the City of Calgary, the Calgary Board of Education and Catholic School Board on our 4th annual Pokaiks Orange Shirt Day Commemoration, to take place on Friday September 30th at Fort Calgary.”

The WNYYC award money was used to purchase inventory:

“As we reimburse it [the award money] into our bank account, it will create a float for us towards the new books, orange shirts and jigsaw puzzles.”

Running a social enterprise doesn’t come without its challenges. Diana explains:

“In the beginning of the year, our social media person left us so we are looking to hire someone new. We also ran out of various products simultaneously so we are looking at preventing this from happening.”

Throughout these challenges, Diana persevered and learned the importance of developing partnerships and collaborating with other entrepreneurs:

“It really helped our social media growth to be making a collaborative wellness box with other entrepreneurs. Last year, we also finally got a business line of credit and a business credit card so we are still learning about how to sustainably use these. As always we are so very grateful for the award we received and the support from the other award recipients. Chi meegwetch!”


As part of WNYYC’s mandate to identify and celebrate the ecosystem supporting Calgary’s amazing local social enterprises, here is a list of the supports and awards that have helped CIF: Social Enterprise of the year, Conseil de Developpement Economique de l’Alberta; ATBX, ATB; Bold Digital Leadership, AWE; Indigenous Business Builder Series; and Business Link.


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!


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)


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