UBC’s inaugural Social Enterprise Conference, held on March 28th, 2015 by the UBC Social Enterprise Club, left many inspired and empowered to think about the future in a brighter light. This annual conference aims to inspire and empower students to create a positive impact by pursuing their passions and utilizing good business. By connecting students with thought leaders who have created immense change as well as other UBC students who have started their own social venture, this conference allows UBC students to explore their passions and values and how these can translate into positive change through their future careers.
Watch our Conference Highlights video!
Scroll down for some more highlights of the conference!
The idea behind Change Heroes is simple – rather than asking people to contribute to a cause in person, which is not scalable, users can send personal, face-to-face videos to trusted friends on the Change Heroes website. For example, sending a video to 33 friends asking for $3.33 everyday for 3 months raised $10,000, enough to build an entire school in Kenya and educate 1000 children. When appealing to millennials to donate money, they want it online so their friends can see what happens with it. Justifying the cost of donations by comparing it to a coffee and comparing the time span of 3 months to the grand span of a lifetime can generate impact so quickly on this innovative platform.
“The worlds biggest problems are also the most profitable,” highlighted UBC Social Enterprise Club’s founder, co-founder of Yunus and Youth, and the 2015 Rhodes Scholar-elect and, Logan Graham. Social Enterprise, the idea that Logan deemed “sexy,” was the topic of his inspirational speech and he certainly got the audience’s attention. Although Logan highlighted the growing potential of Social Enterprise he also set out some pitfalls or “curses” as he called them: passion, being different, apathy. His wish? For every business to improve lives and be a force for good.
“The second someone says I can’t do it, that’s the first thing I do.” Kinsey Powell’s mindset was definitely relatable to many of the social entrepreneurs in the audience. Kinsey founded “rebelleution”, an ethically sourced clothing line that despite initially low profit margins, managed to succeed and surpass competition in the industry. She was definitely right in her belief that “not only can a 21st Century socially focused business be competitive in this market, but it can actually win”.
Zeke Blumenkrans, Co-founder and president of Generocksity left a heart-felt impression on delegates of the conference. After sharing his heartfelt story of working with children at Canuck Place, he then inspired us with his story of creating Generocksity, a concert fundraising event. Zeke left us with the inspiring words of encouragement, “Make a plethora of mistakes and do something new!”
“Born in South America and raised to hustle like a lion,” states Hamza’s biography, and we truly understood what this meant when Hamza opened and closed with an inspirational rap. “What if I told you that you could be trillionaires of thought and action,” rapped Hamza, and his words literally got the crowd to bounce to their feet!
The Fireside Chat
“If social enterprise is the answer… then what is the question?” opened Brent Lin, a Social Enterprise Club alumni, as he led SEC’s first Fireside Chat. Brent, a led a thought-invoking discussion on a life with values with David Cameron, Co-Founder and Head of innovation at the Next Big Thing and Shaun Frankson, Co-Founder, VP and Digital Strategist of the Plastic Bank.
“Entrepreneurship is not a career… it’s a way of thinking”
“The most important takeaway from his talk is that we should be fearless when it comes to decision-making: Do not hold back your ideas, but instead implement them,” said UBC Student and SEConference attendee.
Ashli Akins – Social Enterprise, International Human Rights, And Environmental Justice In Marginalized Communities + Innovation Jam
- Mosqoy & The Q’ente Textile Revitalization Society
- Solving the problem of how to preserve the indigenous culture in the Peruvian Andes while also being economically stable
Kevin Starke – How to Launch Your Own Social Venture + Innovation Jam
Kevin Starke, Cofounder of Gridbid and How to Build A Profitable Social Venture spoke about his experience as a Social Entrepreneur and led a workshop of how to become a great social entrepreneur.
The Innovation Jam began with a question: “How do you create the most positive social impact for people in Vancouver?” Students came up with incredible ideas including:
- The Ed Token: a token that gives homeless people a chance to gain an education by creating a redeemable token for a class along with mentorship and a snack.
- The Garage: A platform where other people will sell your things that you need to get rid of before moving back home to another country or the like. This would give an opportunity to employee homeless people on the downtown Eastside