Tristan Oliff Photography

On Monday 12 March 2018, at Parliament Hill, 14 young leaders of the ACSE, Second Edition programme presented their social enterprise projects, which addressed at least one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Fourteenth excellent pitches were made, four subject matter experts with experience in social enterprise in Canada and the UK provided feedback and delivered working sessions for the ACSE participants.

These exceptional social enterprises from across Canada underwent scrutiny by a panel of social enterprise experts from Canada and the UK, in disciplines that drew from academia, philanthropy and small business. The Top prize, The Youth Innovation Award and $2,500 in funding was awarded to Rebecca Dunphy of Sydney, Nova Scotia for her start up "Rampage”, a social enterprise that will manufacture portable and affordable accessibility ramps out of end-of-life tires and other waste rubber, increasing accessibility in our communities, reducing the amount of waste within landfills and creating job opportunities for indigenous people. Halifax-based Fergus Dearden The Blueprint Loyalty Program and Ajax based, Farrah Seucharan Inclusive Space Services Canada shared the award for Most Promising Young Innovator also presented at the Youth Innovation Summit Awards Ceremony. 

This year, the Active Citizens Social Enterprise team (ACSE) also awarded Montreal-based Milton Calderon (MealCare) with the Public’s Choice Award, which gives one young innovator the recognition of an audience within and beyond Canada as well as $1,000 in start-up funding. Milton garnered the most votes in online video competition using the Public’s Choice scoring system, consisting of a social media score determined by the number of votes extracted directly from the Public’s Choice Award site between February 27th and March 8th. 

The ACSE participants from across Canada  returned to their communities to develop their proposed projects throughout 2018, with the support of peer or business mentors.

Click here to learn about all the participants and their projects!

Who was at this year's Youth Innovation Summit?



Neil McLean: Neil has been the Chief Executive of Social Enterprise Academy for 10 years. During this time, the Academy has become the largest Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) Centre in Scotland, annually supporting around 1,200 people from across Scotland to develop their leadership and entrepreneurship skills. In 2011 The Academy was awarded the highest rating ever of any organisation in Scotland’s third sector by Her Majesty’s Inspector of Education (HMIE). The following year, Neil won Ernst & Young’s prestigious Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Social Enterprise category. 

Neil’s early career was in the private sector for 15 years where he cofounded and was Managing Director of an IT consulting firm based in Brighton. On selling his stake in his IT business, Neil embarked upon an MBA at Stirling University where he developed the idea for a social enterprise he founded in 2004. Neil served on the board of Impact Arts, Scotland’s largest arts-based social enterprise and has recently chaired a group to create the Social Enterprise Strategy for Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city.

Andrew Chunilall: As Chief Executive Officer at Community Foundations of Canada, Andrew works closely with the CFC’s management team and Board, leading the organization’s day-to-day operations, and implementing its strategic and operating plans. Andrew additionally works as a dedicated national finance and regulatory resource for community foundations across Canada. Active in the non-profit community, Andrew serves as the Chair of the Board of Community Living London and Treasurer of Art for AIDS International. Andrew has a background education in economics and commerce, and obtained his chartered accountant designation in 2002. He started his professional career at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as a manager in the Assurance and Advisory Group, where he provided professional services to some of the firm’s top-tier clients in the London area.



Dr Mike Calvert: Mike is Senior Lecturer in the Academic Development Directorate, York St John University. After nine years in secondary teaching, he worked at the University of York for 4 years and at Sheffield University for 13 years training teachers of Modern Languages (French and Spanish) and running a Masters programme in Leadership and Management before going to YSJ as Head of Department for Children, Young People and Education.

Since 2007, Mike has been working extensively on capacity building programmes in Africa funded by the British Council (Kenya), Rockefeller Foundation (Rwanda) and DfID (Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia). He has made over 40 trips to Africa over ten years and continues to support staff development there. He also set up a micro-finance project in Nairobi over 5 years ago for a small group of women and is mentor to two students on the efac programme (Education for All Children). His areas of interest and expertise lie in mentoring, citizenship, pastoral care, social innovation and managing change.

Catalina Quiroz (PHD Candidate): Catalina has been coordinating and working for over 25 years in educational projects focusing on capacity building, organisational change, participatory decision-making processes and ethical leadership at the Institute of Cultural Affairs. Currently, she is a Visiting Scholar Social & Solidarity Economy and a member of the Social Innovation Development Group at York St. John University. She is also co-leading, with organisations from Spain, Sweden, and Turkey, an Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership project called: Cross-border intercultural and societal entrepreneurs. Its aim is to enhance the teaching experience of adult educators working with migrants and refugees from Horn of Africa, MAGREB, and the Middle East to become social entrepreneurs within their host communities and re-builders of their communities of origin. As part of her Ph.D. studies with the Spanish Open University, UNED, she is researching the role of the social and solidarity economy as a potential economic model to achieve the sustainable development goals of the Agenda 2030. In the last 10 years, she has been leading Erasmus transnational collaborative and multidisciplinary teams. Her work has been focused on innovation in teaching methodologies for formal and non-formal education. She is interested in the implementation of value-based competences for adult educators working in the fields of social and solidarity economy, interculturality, and anti-discrimination. This work has been supported and backed by Erasmus+ funding and the Commonwealth Education Hub.

Amanda Johnston: Amanda is the head of Networking and Membership in Social Enterprise Northern Ireland and has extensive experience of the sector both in Ireland and beyond. Amanda was responsible to a large extent for setting up the organisation and for growing its influence and its membership which now runs into hundreds of enterprises. Amanda has considerable experience working with government bodies and promoting the sector far and wide to elicit support and resources to ensure sustainability going forward. Amanda has considerable experience in the marketing and promotion of social enterprises and has initiated a number of platforms and marketplaces for Northern Irish initiatives, including connecting the sector across other sectors in meaningful partnerships and collaborations. Amanda has also developed and organised a range of seminars, training and networking events on relevant topics for member organisations, such as how not to go broke and financial awareness. Amanda also helped to draft the Social Value Act Motion subsequently signed off by the NI Assembly All Party Working Group on Social Enterprise. Amanda also leads on social media strategy and is constantly aware of and responsive to developments within the sector.


Jonathan Wade: Jonathan is a consultant (Social Delta Consulting) in small business development, social marketing, social procurement, social finance, and social entrepreneurship. He has worked for more than 25 years in the non-profit sector as a staff member, board member and volunteer in the fields of international development, environmental sustainability, recreation and culture, human rights, crisis intervention, poverty alleviation, and integration of new Canadians and others who have been under-represented in our communities. Jonathan holds leading roles in networks and agencies supporting social enterprise in Ottawa and across the country, including the Ottawa-based Centre for Innovative Social Enterprise Development (CSED), the Social Enterprise Council of Canada, the Canadian Community Economic Development Network, the Ontario Social Enterprise Roundtable, the Impact Academy at HUB Ottawa, and others. He is an Innoweave social enterprise coach and is currently the Social Enterprise Expert in Residence at HUB Ottawa. All of these endeavors support social entrepreneurs in various disciplines design, launch and grow their businesses. Jonathan is also a musician, having played drums and penned lyrics for independent bands for over 30 years and is a board member at Folkrum, a non-profit organization launching a community music and performance venue in Ottawa as a social enterprise.

Josh Snider: Josh currently helps lead the Innoweave Program at The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation to help non-profit leaders clarify and better achieve their intended impact and theory of change. He delivers workshops to deepen the understanding and application of practical social innovation tools, including social enterprise, scaling, and collective impact. He also regularly assess and adjudicates applications for funding, coaching, training, and other support, as well as review incoming reporting from grantees. 

For a number of years, Josh successfully led and scaled the IMPACT! Youth Sustainability Leadership Program and related programming for university/college/CÉGEP students and recent grads across Canada. Through IMPACT!, he created comprehensive programming to deepen young changemakers’ understanding of sustainability and social entrepreneurship, enhance their confidence as leaders, and empower them with the skills, tools, network, mentorship, funding, and other supports needed to successfully develop and scale meaningful campus groups, sustainability projects, and social enterprises.

Josh is very engaged in the community in Ottawa and has experience launching several of the kinds of initiatives that ACSE hopes to inspire. Josh has been volunteering with Ecology Ottawa for a decade and has served on their Steering Committee for 3 years. During this time, Josh founded and led the Great Glebe GREEN Garage Sale, helping to raise over $80,000 since 2008, divert countless tonnes of waste from landfill, and engage hundreds of volunteers and community supporters. Josh also played a catalyzing role in the development and leadership of Depave Paradise Ottawa, bringing community members together to remove pavement by hand, liberate the soil, allow rainwater to permeate the ground, create new public spaces, and re-green our city.

Jesse Cressman-Dickinson: Jesse has a background in community management and stakeholder relations. She is currently the Community Development Manager for Shopify in Ottawa. She gets excited about new models of philanthropy, experimenting with and designing new formats for public engagement, creating quality public spaces for people of all ages and abilities and working with a diversity of stakeholders to address civic issues.

Nancy Wasserman: Nancy is the Principal of Sleeping Lion Consulting, Inc, an Ottawa-based firm providing management consulting on social finance and social enterprise development. Her passion for the field is rooted in helping organizations find revenue generation opportunities so they can deliver more impact. Nancy has more than 30 years of leadership in community finance and business development, with a focus on initiatives that must meet multiple bottom lines. She has worked with dozens of NGOS, business and governments in both Canada and the US that are focused on social investment, community economic development, housing, agriculture, offender re-entry or workforce development. Prior to forming Sleeping Lion, Nancy was the founding Executive Director of the Vermont Community Loan Fund, a nonprofit community development financial institution that reinvests funds from private investors in social housing, charities, community facilities and small businesses. She has also been employed as: Deputy Policy Director of Vermont Energy Investment Corporation and Chief of Special Audits and Reviews for the Vermont State Auditor. Nancy and Andy Robinson are the co-authors of The Board Member's Easier Than You Think Guide to Nonprofit Finances. She has a Masters in Community Economic Development from New Hampshire College, and an undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College.

Monica Jako: As Director of Community Engagement and Social Innovation at Ryerson University, Monica excels at advancing forward-thinking initiatives, building productive partnerships and leading dynamic teams through her diverse experiences in the higher education, non-profit and government sectors. The role of director of community engagement alongside the role of director of social engagement is unique. It recognizes the intersection between social innovation and community engagement which share a common goal of creating social impact locally and globally. Monica’s wide-ranging career accomplishments include leading efforts to promote relevant and innovative learning through social enterprise at Ryerson University, providing strategic direction on the staging of the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, and helping to improve the affordable housing system in British Columbia. A major part of Monica’s role involves engaging key stakeholders to develop interdisciplinary, cross-faculty and community-based partnerships for impact. As well, she has developed, launched and grown the SocialVentures Zone. Monica is on the Board of the City Building institute and is an Ashoka Change Leader. Monica holds a master in business leadership from Royal Roads University in British Columbia, a masters certificate in Corporate Social Responsibility from the University of Toronto and a bachelor of political science and art history from Queen’s University in Ontario.


See also