Application Number: 5
INITIATIVE: What is the title of your initiative?
RATIONALE: Why was this initiative developed? Briefly describe your vision for this initiative: what changes would you like to see in your community, in the college/university, and for the student experience?
CommunityBUILD will catalyze a social innovation ecosystem in York Region by bringing together social entrepreneurs with resources and supports that will spark creative solutions having an impact on issues identified by York Region such as youth employment and food security (2015 focus areas). It is a partnership of Seneca College, York University, ventureLAB and United Way Toronto and York Region (UWTYR).
GOVERNANCE AND PARTNERSHIPS: Who will oversee and manage the initiative? How does it connect with other local, regional, or national projects or networks?
The administrative lead for CommunityBUILD is ventureLAB, York Region’s Regional Innovation Centre that provides business acceleration services to entrepreneurs. ventureLAB is part of the provincially funded Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs. CommunityBUILD Steering Committee: Jeremy Laurin, President & CEO, ventureLAB David Phipps, ExecDir, Research & Innovation Services, York University Chris Dudley, Director of Seneca HELIX, Seneca College Janice Chu, Director, Programs, Grants and Capacity Building, UWTYR We are connected to the national ResearchImpact (www.researchimpact.ca) network of universities and the national United Way movement. We will also be joined by the York Region District School Board (YRDSB) to connect on campus entrepreneurship to over 121,000 students.
OVERVIEW OF ACTIVITIES: Briefly describe the activities of the initiative: when did it start, what organizations and departments are participating? Give a few examples of what participants will be doing.
CommunityBUILD partners collaborated on a Mash Up competition in February 2015. Formal programming launched Feb 18, 2016 with information events on B Corps, Social Investing, Crowd Funding and Disruptive Innovation. Academic and administrative departments of York and Seneca are building on existing collaborations. Seneca’s Division of VP Academic is collaborating with York’s Division of VP Research & Innovation. York Lunch YU (governed by Deans from five Faculties) and Seneca HELIX collaborate through the On Campus Entrepreneurship Accelerator Program. Geoff Kistruck (Ron Binns Chair in Entrepreneurship, Schulich School of Business) will partner his Social Entrepreneurship courses ENTR 4800 (undergrad) and 6655 (graduate) with CommunityBUILD to provide research to the social ventures and opportunities for students to study real world social enterprise examples. The CommunityBUILD Pipeline: At the heart of CommunityBUILD is a pipeline that social entrepreneurs will join that will support their journey from very early ideation to venture-launch. The pipeline has two stages: 1) Social DesignLAB and 2) Launch Pad. Funding is sought for the Social DesignLAB Social DesignLAB – The Ideation Stage The DesignLab is a catalyst to generate and then incubate strong ideas that address a serious social issue in York Region. The process starts with a DesignJam event followed by a six month mentored incubator. The DesignJam brings a diverse collection of community members including YRDSB youth together with experts from the partners for two days of intense, collaborative work. Teams will work collaboratively to better understand a single social problem identified by community (via UWTYR) and to find gaps that will provide opportunities for innovative solutions to be sketched out. The strongest ideas selected from the DesignJam enter the Incubator. It provides up to six months of supports and mentoring for the further development and testing of ideas generated out of the DesignJam.
STRATEGIC LEARNING: What will success look like both in the short-term and the long-term? How are you assessing results? What will you do with this information, and with whom are you sharing lessons?
Short term goals 1) create a culture of supports for social enterprise that is grounded in community and accelerated by established entrepreneurial supports; 2) identify and nurture promising ventures to near launch. 3) Catalyze innovative ideas by engaging the community to think differently concerning an issue of importance to York Region Long term success: 1) a sustainable interconnected system of supports for social enterprise in York Region; 2) brand York Region as a source of social venture talent by investment ready ventures CommunityBUILD is a collective impact organization and will use the tools of collective impact evaluation (http://bit.ly/1j43l6Z) to demonstrate progress towards this goal. CommunityBUILD will evaluate against the five collective impact pillars: Common Agenda; Backbone Infrastructure; Mutually Reinforcing Activities; Shared Measurement; and, Continuous Communication. Lessons will be shared via social media and events using established relationships with: Community Campus Collaborations Initiative; Community Knowledge Exchange; Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs; ResearchImpact; Canadian Knowledge Mobilization Forum; Canadian Knowledge and Transfer Community of Practice, RECODE Network, ENACTUS Clubs.
Would you consider your initiative to be a social enterprise?
Does the proposed initiative have potential to be applied elsewhere in Canada? If yes, please explain.
Many communities in Canada have the elements of CommunityBUILD: a university, a college, a United Way, a school board and some form of business/enterprise development support. The CommunityBUILD model is theoretically scalable to other communities; however, the challenge is not the content nor the delivery but developing the partnership. CommunityBUILD will be building on a long standing successful partnerships between these four institutions. Both Seneca and York University have a long standing partnership with UWTYR. York University has had a knowledge mobilization partnership with UWTYR for 10 years. Seneca and York have been founding members of ventureLAB since its inception in 2010 and have senior executives on ventureLAB’s Board of Directors. Seneca and York are partners in the recently announced York Seneca campus in York Region .(http://yfile.news.yorku.ca/2015/05/20/province-says-yes-to-york-new-york-u-markham-campus-on-the-way). York U Faculty of Education has partnered with YRDSB for decades on research under the auspices of VPRI since 1999. Seneca and York are currently collaborating with YRDSB to integrate students into entrepreneurship programming.
1. APPROACH: Which departments are involved in this initiative? How will they work with community organizations, social enterprise, local government and within post-secondary institutions (i.e. with professors, administration and students)?
The primary unit working with CommunityBUILD is the Division of VP Research & Innovation including York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit as the connector between York researchers and community partners. Over the last ten years, the Knowledge Mobilization Unit has worked with over 300 faculty members from all ten York Faculties, 160 students and 260 non-academic partner organizations to address over 400 opportunities for collaboration. The primary unit working with CommunityBUILD is the Applied Research and Innovation Division and Seneca HELIX. These two departments will coordinate activities through the Office of the VP Academic which connects to all 1,000 staff and 26,000 full time students. All four partners will build on existing programs and relationships to reach out and engage and leverage the strengths of their respective community organizations, social enterprise, local government, and other post-secondary partners.
2. INFLUENCING POST-SECONDARY INSTITUTIONS: Will research or teaching within the post secondary institution you are a part of or working with be changed as a result of this initiative? How will the administration staff, faculty, and students be involved and recognized for their accomplishments within the college/ university?
In addition to the Steering Committee members, Geraldine Lyn-Piluso (Research Co-ordinator) and Kate Collins (Project Coordinator, HELIX) will represent Seneca while Nilay Goyal (Entrepreneurship Manager) and Michael Johnny (Manager, Knowledge Mobilization) from York University will participate on the working group. Seneca’s HELIX (which has a focus on Social Innovation through RECODE funding), the Applied Research and Innovation department will connect students and faculty from key academic programs including: Non-Profit Leadership and Management Graduate Certificate and Entrepreneurship and Small Business Advanced Diploma. This initiative will also engage students and faculty in all areas of the college to increase their understanding of social entrepreneurship and encourage them to get involved in the development of Canada’s social economy. Two of York’s academic programs will be engaged in CommunityBUILD. 1) Geoff Kistruck has two courses (see above) that will run in fall 2016 that will coincide with the CommunityBUILD Design Jam. His students are required to undertake a consulting project. These students will have the opportunity to work with social venture owners and with the CommunityBUILD founding partners to consult to the projects. 2) The Bergeron Entrepreneurs in Science and Technology (http://lassonde.yorku.ca/bergeron-entrepreneurs-science-technology-best) program integrates curricular and experiential activities for Lassonde and York University students to develop business skills and understand what it takes to launch a technology start-up enterprise. BEST catalyzes the translation of technological innovation to market success, by combining the disciplines of business and law, into the student experience at Lassonde through partnerships with the Schulich School of Business and Osgoode Hall Law School. In addition to Kistruck’s students, Krista Jensen, PhD Student, Faculty of Education, studying knowledge exchange/on line intermediaries will participate in CommunityBUILD activities and provide support for social media.
IMPACT: What will you be able to accomplish now that you could not before the collaboration? In what way will your organization work differently as a result of this initiative?
The collaboration will allow us to achieve one of the strategic objectives of the Board and management of ventureLAB. That objective is to expand our client-focus to include social entrepreneurs with both sustainable businesses and social impact. VentureLAB has many years of experience with innovation and mentoring for traditional entrepreneurs from the sectors of ITC, CleanTech and Healthcare. It has all of the expertise, skills and networks that are important to foster successful social entrepreneurs and drive sustainable social innovation. We will be more effective in achieving the Board’s objectives as a collaborative. Secondly, the expertise and networks ventureLAB will access through communityBUILD will allow ventureLAB to expand its offerings to all of its clients. Roughly 20% of ventures self-identify as being mission-driven in their businesses but to-date we have been unable to support the mission-side of their ventures adequately. Now ventureLAB will be able to attract more clients while achieving an important objective of the Board to increase the reach and size of our client-community. Finally, communityBUILD will allow ventureLAB to dig itself more deeply into the communities of York Region and to build a more diverse client-base. These are two of the fundamental strategic objectives of the organization. This will occur through accessing our collaborators’ networks and new communities of entrepreneurs, their customers and clients.
Dr David Phipps
Phone Number: 416-736-5813
Ms Heather Crosbie
Phone Number: 905-248-2727
Ms Krista Jensen
Dr Geoff Kistruck
Other relevant information/comments
Janice Chu Director, Programs, Grants and Capacity Building firstname.lastname@example.org United Way Toronto & York Region 80F Centurian Drive Suite 200 Markham ON L3R 8C1 Tel 905 474 9974 EXT 843 Chris Dudley Chair, School of Business Management and Centre for Human Resources Faculty of Business Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology 416-491-5050 x22386 416-491-7059 (fax)