Resilient Fund, Collabetition Launch at B.C. Innovation Summit

Resilient Fund, Collabetition Launch at B.C. Innovation Summit

Province needs to be the incubator for social innovation in North America, says Christy Clark

VANCOUVER - Two new programs announced at the Non-Profit Partnerships Summit aim to put British Columbia on the map as North America’s leading catalyst for social innovation.

Held Nov. 25, the first-time summit convened leading thinkers and leaders from the nonprofit, volunteer and business sectors to explore new ways of working together to drive social innovation.

B.C. Premier Christy Clark gave the conference keynote, noting it’s a tough time to be in government with a greying population and rising costs.

Social innovation, which involves working with the private, volunteer and nonprofit sectors to create new solutions to social and environmental challenges, is the best way forward, and B.C. must lead the way, she says.

“British Columbia needs to be the incubator for social innovation in North America,” Clark told the more than 350 participants. “That has to be our goal. We have to be the place where every jurisdiction in North America comes to see what we’ve achieved.”

To ensure B.C.’s social innovators have every incentive possible to scale up great ideas and services, Clark introduced the Resilient Capital program, developed by the Vancouver Foundation and Vancity, Canada’s largest credit union.

The unique, high-impact investment program will help build resilient communities by making up to $15 million in patient capital available for qualifying social enterprises.

Clark says the program began with a $2.2-million grant from the province to the Vancouver Foundation in 2008 to support social enterprise.

Clark also announced a new initiative to encourage community-led innovation in partnership with the Advisory Council for Social Entrepreneurship, Ashoka Changemakers, LIFT Philanthropy Partners, Telus and the UBC Sauder School of Business.

Called a “collabetition,” the collaborative competition will launch in 2012 and harness social media to encourage British Columbians to submit their own solutions to social problems. Winners will be rewarded with the resources to improve, perfect and spread their innovation around the province and beyond.

LIFT Philanthropy Partners is contributing $350,000 toward the collabetition with the province contributing $30,000 toward prizing.

“We have the technology to do this, we have the people to do it, we have the appetite to do it. And now for the first time we are going to have the money and the program and a way to do it,” says Clark, adding social innovation changes the relationship between government and individuals.

“We need British Columbians to start to see government not as an organization that does something to them. We need citizens to see government as an organization where we are doing something for each other,” she says. “Because that’s what government is supposed to be. It’s supposed to be the expression of our collective will to care for each other.”

The one-day event was the first time the public and private sectors have gathered to discuss a made-in-B.C. model for social innovation.

To continue the conversation and invite more people to contribute ideas that will allow the province to collectively address complex social challenges, the B.C. Advisory Council on Social Entrepreneurship has developed a website and discussion paper at

Click here to read a crowd-sourced social media account of the Non-Profit Partnerships Summit.

— More to Come

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Camille Jensen

Camille Jensen is an employee share ownership consultant with ESOP Builders, Canada’s largest provider of employee share ownership plans (ESOPs) for small- and medium-sized enterprises.

Prior to joining ESOP Builders, Camille was a generative journalist and team member at Axiom News. She credits her time at Axiom as fundamental to her understanding that business is one of the best opportunities to make a difference in the world.

Camille is a B.C. Partner for Social Impact and volunteer with Okanagan Changemakers.

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