Evergreen Brickworks: Social innovation made in Toronto

I was reading Neil McEvoy’s blog recently on “unlocking mass-scale social innovation” and was pleased that he pointed out that “as a newcomer to Toronto it has been heartening to see how much appetite and expertise there is here for Social Innovation”.  He’s right, the momentum is almost overwhelming.

In our social innovation program at MaRS (SiG@MaRS), we are trying to do our part.  We provide programs and services that advise, convene, and accelerate social innovation. What does this mean to you?

Advise

If you are a social entrepreneur (interested in not only making money but achieving a social or environmental impact) we have a full range of advisory services available to help.  This program is fully integrated into the other MaRS advisory services program and you can apply online within the Working with MaRS section on this site.

Convene

Geoff Cape will present at this Wednesday’s Entrepreneurship 101.  Geoff is one of Canada’s leading social entrepreneurs and he will speak about his journey in developing Evergreen.  The event kicks off at 5:30 p.m. and admission is free.  It’s a great story and I hope you can join us.

We are also getting ready to launch the Series on Aging – Social Innovators as Champions of Change.  This event will run on December 3 and will feature SiG’s own Vickie Cammack and her powerful social innovation Tyze.

We are also very pleased to announce that Judy Steed will join us. She’s the 2008 Atkinson Fellow who spent a year documenting the most pressing implications of our aging society.  This hands-on workshop will profile innovations in aging and will explore the role of innovation in readying attendees to best meet the needs of our aging population.

The admission for this day long event is only $49.95 and we would appreciate you spreading the word to anyone who is interested in the issues associated with aging in our society – and unless you know of some innovation I don’t, aging is impacting us all.

Accelerate

We are exploring how to finance social purpose work, beyond grants and donations, in Canada.  To this end, we have put together a very  impressive Social Finance Task Force, chaired by our own CEO, Ilse Treurnicht.  Details can be found on SocialFinance.ca, a  program incubated by MaRS and SiG.  The report of the task force will be launched on November 30, 2010 at MaRS at 5:30 p.m.  This event is also free but we need you to register — so far the uptake has been incredible.

So Neil, welcome to Toronto and thanks for pointing out that “social innovation” is the leading tag on our MaRS site.  We must have been too busy doing a few other things to notice. (Editor’s note: I noticed!)

Allyson Hewitt

Allyson is the JW McConnell Family Foundation Senior Fellow, Social Innovation at MaRS, where she has been leading the SiG@MaRS program; advising social entrepreneurs; building the social innovation ecosystem; and incubating successful programs such as the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing, the MaRS Solutions Lab and Studio Y. See more…