media release

Social innovators split SFU prize money

May 29, 2014

Naomi Devine, SFU Community Economic Development, 778.676.7041,   
Dixon Tam, SFU media relations, 778.782.8742,

Four Simon Fraser University students have been chosen to share a $25,000 prize in the Social Innovation Challenge hosted by the school’s Community Economic Development (CED) program.

“This program is about giving skilled professionals the edge they need to implement socially innovative and economically progressive programs and services in their communities,” says Nicole Chaland, the program’s director.

“Our students are champions for local, living economies who work in social enterprise, non-profits, business associations, credit unions and municipal government. They all share a passion for hastening in the transition to a new economy—one that values people, places and the planet, and we show them how to do that.”

The challenge provided students with a ‘living laboratory’ experience that gave them the skills and experience to rapidly prototype a project idea from start to finish. The CED program aims to sharpen the students’ skills and turn them into social innovators with the tools and experience to take their world-changing ideas and make them a reality.

This year’s finalists:

  • Courtney Hare (Calgary)—Hare of Momentum pitched a matched savings program for entrepreneurs that encourages them to save $70 per month for a year that will be matched 3:1. At the end of the 12 months, they would have $3,360 in start-up capital.
  • Carolyn Davis (Calgary)—Davis pitched for support to launch Calgary’s first tool lending library. Her proposed library already had 50 subscribers and over 300 supporters.
  • Lauren Warbeck (Vancouver)—Warbeck of OUR Community Bikes proposed converting their free bikes for people who experience systemic exclusion to a more robust program that reaches more users.
  • Lindsay Lunhau (Calgary)—Lunhau pitched a co-operative to help people age in place. Members are seniors who own their home and will be provided access to renovation services that will both ‘seniorize’ their home and also build a secondary suite.

SFU created the challenge because of a significant decline in funding for good ideas that would spur innovation in the field of economic development to grow local living economies. The Dragonfly Fund of Tides Canada donated the prize money.

Forty students from the Vancouver and Calgary cohort are wrapping up the program’s 2013-2014 session at Vancouver’s Dodson Conference Centre this week.

For more information about CED, prospective students should visit the program’s website.

Simon Fraser University is consistently ranked among Canada's top comprehensive universities and is one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 125,000 alumni in 130 countries.


  • Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.

<p><a href="/content/sfu/sfunews/comment_guidelines.html?keepThis=true&amp;TB_iframe=true&amp;height=700&amp;width=700" class="thickbox">Comment Guidelines</a><br>