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Trico Foundation Announces Finalists for Calgary Social Entrepreneurship Awards

$100,000 in Prize Money Includes a $25,000 Audience Choice Award

Ten social enterprises have been selected as 2021 finalists for What’s Next YYC, a biennial award created by the Trico Charitable Foundation in 2019 to celebrate and advance excellence in social entrepreneurship in Calgary.

“Each of these finalists push our understanding of the power of business models to solve social problems. Collectively, their diversity, ingenuity, and momentum confirm Calgary is growing as a hub of social entrepreneurship activity,” says Dan Overall, Executive Director of the Trico Charitable Foundation.

What’s Next YYC features two $25,000 jury prizes, a $25,000 audience choice, and $25,000 the finalists share amongst themselves. The awards will be handed out on Thursday, November 18, 2021, at the virtual Pivot on Purpose Summit (POP).


Photo cred: Kelly Hofer

What’s Next YYC 10 finalists (in alphabetical order):

aGRO Systems Inc.: The engine transforming what is unwanted and discarded into something truly unique and valuable. We specialize in collecting and upcycling organic wastes and byproducts into Farm livestock feeds and inputs. We aim to reduce rural poverty of farm families with our affordable livestock feeds, increase access to healthy foods through better connecting farm to table, and reduce emissions through diverting wastes from the landfills. Our main branch of operations diverts beer byproducts from local Calgary Breweries and repurposes them into carbon-reducing feeds for Albertan sheep, poultry, hog and beef ranchers. Programs & Awards: Catalyze Program & Summer Inc. Internship with Innovate Calgary.

CareFind: At CareFind, it’s our mission to connect families with child care providers. We create a space where families can find their ideal child care solution, and providers can easily find families looking for child care. The CareFind online directory allows parents to choose from over 2,400 licensed daycares, preschools, out of school care, approved dayhomes, and more, all in one place. We are passionate about building a community of child care where families can trust in connecting to quality child care and resources. Programs & Awards: 1st place, RBC Fast Pitch Competition, Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation; Summer Incubator Program at the Inc, Innovate Calgary; 150 Startups, Bow Valley College; 2nd place, Regional and 2nd place, Provincial, Innovation Rodeo, Bow Valley College;  1st place, Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization Year End Pitch Competition, Hunter Hub of Entrepreneurial Thinking; 2nd place, The Pitch Online Startup Competition, Orbiiit. 

Colouring It Forward: 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. We work with elders and artists to share their stories and teachings to help people to connect with Indigenous art and wisdom. Programs & Awards: Social Enterprise of the year, Conseil de Developpement Economique de l’Alberta; ATBX, ATB; Bold Digital Leadership, AWE; Indigenous Business Builder Series, Business Link.

ENABLE: ENABLE breaks down barriers to care for families who have a member with disability. We craft meaningful matches between families with disability and reliable, vetted support workers. We match people based on shared interests. This means our matches build genuine connections that spark long-lasting friendships. With our service, families gain much-needed respite while their family member enjoys recreation, leisure, and skill-building activities in the community with their support worker. People with disability and their families are not the only beneficiaries; ENABLE support workers also benefit. They get paid to have fun, gain practical skills, and build their resume. With competitive wages and a flexible schedule, support work is easily managed alongside other commitments like university classes. We have formed over 100 connections and our support workers have provided nearly 20,000 hours of support. Connect with us to learn how you can ENABLE your community. Programs & Awards: The Summer Incubator Program, University of Calgary; RBC Social Enterprise Accelerator; 150 Startups, Bow Valley College; Mentorship Program, Chic Geek.

Fresh Routes: Fresh Routes is a not-for-profit social enterprise that is focused on creating new, innovative ways of providing healthy and affordable food to as many Canadians as possible—especially those who need it most. Our Mobile Market ensures that everyone has access to affordable, nutritious food, making the healthy choice the easy choice, providing under-served communities with a reliable solution to fresh and affordable food. Programs & Awards: Alberta Nonprofit Innovation Award, Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations; LEAP Centre for Social Impact.

Included by Design: Included by Design is the leading for-profit accessibility and disability inclusion company in Canada. We work collaboratively with businesses to help them move beyond building code accessibility and embed disability inclusion for their employees, customers, and investors. By leveraging our ESG expertise, national residential and commercial building code development work, and propriety internationally recognized accessibility standards, we help future-proof businesses against upcoming legislated accessibility standards. But our work doesn’t stop there. To enable the full benefit of disability inclusion, our clients are provided with Krooshl – a community marketplace that connects them with the 1 in 5 Canadians who identify as living with a disability. Programs & Awards: RBC Social Enterprise Accelerator, Innovate Calgary/Calgary Technologies Inc.; Trico Changemakers Studio, Mount Royal University; Accessible Housing Award, Be Local Award, REAP; Judge’s Choice 2019, What’s Next YYC .

Local Laundry: Local Laundry is in the business of building community. Through 5 brand pillars, Local Laundry creates an impact through the sale of garments for social good. By manufacturing locally in Canada, Local Laundry is able to reduce their carbon footprint, while ensuring their garments are ethically made. This allows customers, who are both individuals and businesses to reduce their own carbon footprint, and increase the impact their supply chain has. These garments for social good are also used in various fundraising campaigns to raise funds and awareness for various causes and charities across the country with an end goal to raise $1M for local charities by 2030. Programs & Awards: JMH Launchpad, Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Mount Royal University; Culbert Family Award for Philanthropy, United Way; Entrepreneurs Choice Award, Startup Canada.

Nicerr: Nicerr is a community mentorship platform that enables experienced professionals to give back – by mentoring people from under-represented communities. We partner with nonprofits, educational institutions and socially-responsible companies to make mentorship accessible to everyone. Features like context-based request and one-click scheduling make it super easy for mentors to connect with the right mentees. We also track mentoring time, and use it to fuel gamification elements such as community badges – to recognize mentors’ community contributions and keep them engaged. Programs & Awards: Accelerate AB 2020, one of the top 8 start-ups in Alberta, the A100; Launch Party 2020, one of the top 15 start-ups in Calgary, Start-up Calgary; Junction, Platform Calgary; The Accelerator.

RetinaLogik: Out of the 2.2 billion people who live with vision impairment, over 1 billion are preventable or treatable with early detection and treatment. Although this problem is most common in developing countries, preventable or treatable conditions cause 75% of cases in Canada. Our social enterprise believes everyone deserves access to quality vision care. We make eye exam technology more intelligent and more accessible. Our life-changing eye exams are smart, portable, and a fraction of the cost. We’re partnering with NGOs and health authorities to deliver it as part of a telehealth community care model and get it to people who need it most. RetinaLogik is 94% cheaper than comparable eye exam equipment, portable, battery-powered, and our added layer of AI detection outperforms existing condition detection techniques. Help us to save vision and promote wellness for millions inside and outside Canada. Programs & Awards: 1st place Worlds Challenge, University of Calgary; 1st place provincially, 3rd place nationally, Global Student Entrepreneur Awards; Student Entrepreneurship Sprint Program, Platform Calgary.

STARS: STARS has been providing life-saving care to Albertans for 36 years. For the last 12 years this has extended to those working in rural or isolated locations – helping them return home to their families at the end of their workday. STARS Vigilant’s sophisticated emergency communications centre provides essential emergency response and safety services for a range of industries across Western Canada. Programs & Awards: Neil J. Armstrong Award; Airbus Helicopters Golden Hour Award; Mark of Excellence, Night Vision Awards.  

About What’s Next YYC:

What’s Next YYC showcases ten exciting Calgary and area based social enterprises that have already won awards or successfully completed a local social enterprise support program. It looks to answer “what’s next?” on the journey for these organizations. These awards celebrate excellence, best practices, high standards, advances in, and/or new knowledge relating to social enterprise in Calgary. As a key qualification is having won an award and/or successfully completed a local social enterprise support program, WNYYC also helps identify and link the resources of the social enterprise support community. 

[box] 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. NU’s goal is to support emerging social impact leaders in the work of closing gaps in society through grants and awards.

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. [/box]

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