Innovation to what end? Innovation can boost the economy and improve quality of life, but it can also cause havoc and damage the environment, produce waste and negatively impact people. With the growing popularity of social enterprise, we explore why more tech entrepreneurs are reaching for a triple bottom line.
Sarah Doyle, Director of Policy and Research at the Brookfield Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship will lead a discussion about the choice to start a tech career with social impact as the primary goal and the personal mission to create positive change. The panel will discuss the difficult process of building momentum, the need for resilience and the satisfaction that comes with success in a social enterprise.
Panelists at three-stages of the startup evolution and all graduates of the Shad Canada program.
Stage 1: Student/Concept
Engineering student, McMaster University
Together with his Shad program team, Saad developed a technology that turns roof shingles white when it’s warm outside to reflect sunlight and keep homes cool. In the winter, the shingles turn black to attract the sun’s heat and keep homes warm. The solution was shelved after the R&D stage. Saad is currently working on EverTread, a wheelchair attachment device.
Stage 2: Beta
Epoch is a platform, currently in beta, that encourages volunteerism and addresses refugee transition into new communities. Developed by University of Waterloo grads, Epoch is deployed ay Shopify, Miovision, Deloitte and North and was a finalist for a $1-million in seed funding at New York’s Hult Prize Challenge. Epoch works on a “time credit” system, where a newcomer who provides an hour of their time helping someone in the community is then entitled to one hour of a service they need.
Stage 3: Success
Product Manager, thredUP
thredUP is an online marketplace for clothing resale whose mission is to “inspire a new generation of consumers to think secondhand first”. Jen leads product strategy, discover and delivery for thredUP mobile and notification platforms. Previously, Jen launched several organizations in North America, worked on natural resource development issues at the World Bank and received a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology. She obtained her
About Shad Canada
Shad is a STEAM and entrepreneurship program for students in grade 10 and 11. Shad’s program attracts students with high aptitudes for risk taking, curiosity, excellence and resilience, and prepares them to take on social and economic challenges. The month-long program includes a real-world design challenge that asks students to work on non-elitist issues such as climate change, water management and waste.
More than 60% of Shads go on to build startups in ICT, digital media, clean tech, life sciences and engineering. 80% of Shads invest or advise startups. There are 17,000 Shad program graduates.