The Active Citizens team is proud to announce the 3rd Annual Youth Innovation Summit! The Summit connects young social innovators from across the country to social innovation experts and leaders in the public and private sectors, providing them with a platform to showcase their efforts to address the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in their communities.

Click here for a list of this year's participants! 


Chris Martin (UK) is the incoming CEO at Social Enterprise Scotland. Prior to joining SES, the experienced social entrepreneur was Managing Director of Callander Youth Project Trust and launched the Callander Hostel which still welcomes 6,000 overnight guests per year and trains 20 young people in hospitality. Chris has a background in both formal and informal education, has received national acclaim for his work and, as convener of the Callander SEN was responsible for Callander becoming Scotland's first Social Enterprise Town.


Joanna Reynolds (CA) Director of Social Enterprise, National Centre for Social Innovation, works alongside community groups, foundations, social entrepreneurs and business leaders to advance the application of social finance and social entrepreneurship. With roots in community development at West Neighbourhood House (2000-2007) working with youth, newcomers to Canada, and adult literacy, Joanna then jumped into working alongside the visionaries at Social Innovation Generation (2008-2011) to advance social finance in Canada. In this role, she supported the Canadian Task Force on Social Finance, report, "Mobilizing Private Capital for Public Good”(2010) that led to the start of the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing (2011-2015) where she was a founding team member and Associate Director.

In her role at CSI, Joanna leads social enterprise development across a number of vibrant networks in Ontario and Canada. She is part of the team developing the Impact Dashboard and and loves meeting and connecting with social entrepreneurs and others. Joanna grateful to live, learn, and play on the traditional territories of the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee peoples, also known as Kingston, Ontario.

Belinda Bell (UK) is the Programme Director of Cambridge Social Ventures, part of the Cambridge Judge Business School Centre for Social Innovation. Belinda is a social entrepreneur herself, having established a range of social ventures over including those focusing on finance, ageing and young people. She has acted as a mentor, advisor and supporter to many more social entrepreneurs and as such has developed a broad knowledge of business models for social innovation. Belinda has recently completed a professional Doctorate by public works, holds a Masters Degree in Community Enterprise and a Batchelors degree in Social Anthropology.

Nicole Helwig (CA) heads the Centre for Social Enterprise at Memorial University of Newfoundland where she is responsible for setting strategy and direction to fulfill the centre’s mandate to nurture social entrepreneurs, strengthen social enterprise and drive social innovation in Newfoundland and Labrador. Nicole is also program co-ordinator for Memorial’s MBA in social enterprise and entrepreneurship (MBA-SEE), which is the only MBA program in Canada purposefully designed to develop business leaders who are committed to sustainable and social business practices. Nicole’s circuitous career path has provided her with a wealth of experiences and exposure to societal issues around the world. She began her career in the performing arts training under Maxim S. Maartirossian, (former artistic director and ballet master of the Bolshoi Academy, Moscow) and holds a classical ballet pedagogue diploma from the Hungarian Dance Academy. In addition to performing, she gained transformative experience in the non-profit sector working with Canadian Amateur Musicians/Musiciens amateurs du Canada (CAMMAC) and helping to found Ballet Divertimento de Montréal. Her experiences include working with social enterprises and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Southeast Asia; volunteering on the board of a Hungarian foundation; and living the start-up experience with an e-commerce venture in Central Europe. While based in Kuala Lumpur, she was program director at the Malaysian Child Resource Institute, where she was in charge of co-ordinating the Secretariat of Child Rights Coalition Malaysia. Nicole holds a bachelor of arts from McGill University (humanistic studies program) and a master of business administration from the University of Strathclyde (Malaysia International Centre). She is also is also a Social Innovation Fellow at the Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation (Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom). Outside of work and raising her young daughter, she is a member of the board of directors of the Kittiwake Dance Theatre.

Mark Richardson (UK) Director of Social Impact Consulting. Mark is an award-winning social entrepreneur and consultant. He co-founded his first social enterprise when he left university aged 21, providing employment for homeless people in the UK. The success of the venture led to his advising the UK government on social enterprise and homelessness. As Director of Social Enterprise at Bangor University, he launched and managed a Masters in Social Enterprise and is now leading the development of a three million Euro social enterprise accelerator. He has written highly regarded reports on social enterprise and social investment for, among others, Big Society Capital, the National Housing Federation, and Big Lottery. He co-wrote the British Council’s vision paper ‘What Will Social Enterprise Look Like in Europe by 2020’, which continues to spark debate and discussion, and his comprehensive summary of social enterprise in the UK is used by policy makers and practitioners around the world. He also led the British Council’s research into social enterprise and women’s empowerment across six countries, and is part of the IntSEnSE team mapping support for internationalising social enterprise across Europe. He is also leading on the impact measurement of social enterprise programmes in Ghana, Morocco and the UK. Mark has worked directly with over a hundred social enterprises on business planning, sustainability, governance and legal structure, and through his pioneering work on scale and replication is considered a leading authority on social franchising. In 2015 he was made an Honorary Research Fellow at Bangor University.

Zahra Hedges (UK) Board Director of Social Enterprise Scotland. Sarah joined CEIS  in August 2017 after 15 years in management roles in the public, private and third sectors. Her role at CEIS is business development – building relationships in the charity and social enterprise sector, and with private sector clients and public sector bodies.

Before joining CEIS, Zahra managed a social enterprise after founding, developing and, 5 years later, selling a successful retail and wholesale business. Prior to that she operationally managed the rollout of annual appraisals across 7,500 staff at the University of Warwick and spent time working in China supporting a school looking to franchise its business model.

Ysabel Li-Lopez (CA) Director, Sector Development of CSED. Ysabel is an experienced professional with proven results in coaching organizations at all stages of their development. Intrinsically motivated, she has coached over 200 entrepreneurs as a business consultant for both provincial and federal government programs. Currently, she is coaching Canadian social entrepreneurs who are creating a social impact globally. A born entrepreneur, Ysabel started her first business at 17 years old. Her latest entrepreneurial adventure was in the maternity and breastfeeding clothing and was recently sold to a USA company. Ysabel is a 2013 recipient of the City of Ottawa’s Immigrant Entrepreneur Award recognizing local immigrant business owners who have achieved success in their entrepreneurial endeavours and contribute time and support to making a difference in their community.

See also