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Real World Social Innovation | IGHEI

Real World Social Innovation


The mission of Potluck Café Society is to transform lives by creating jobs and providing healthy food for people living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES).

Potluck was founded in 2001 to help end the cycle of poverty in the Downtown Eastside community and address the needs of its most nutritionally vulnerable residents through solutions that promote employment and nutrition. Potluck works to create an inclusive and healthy neighborhood through grassroots community economic development.

As a non-profit social enterprise and registered charity, Potluck Café Society operates Potluck Café & Catering to create jobs for neighborhood residents with barriers to traditional employment and earn revenue to support its community programs. Fundraising, donations and grants comprise the balance of our funding needs.

Potluck is widely regarded as a social enterprise leader in Vancouver and abroad, and has received a number of awards for its many achievements and success.


The Core Neighbourhood Youth Co-op (CNYC) is a grassroots organization committed to providing a safe space for inner city and marginalized youth in Saskatoon. We focus on helping youth develop life and employment skills through hands-on programming and offer curriculum approved classes, taught by an accredited teacher, for students to earn high school credits. We promote the values of community, cooperation, sustainability, environmentalism, gratitude, accountability and leadership in an empowering and respectful atmosphere.

Eva’s Place

Eva’s Place, Eva’s Satellite, and Eva’s Phoenix provide safe space and support for 123 homeless youth aged 16-24 every night. Each facility is designed to help youth with their unique circumstances transition out of homelessness and on to independent living.

Eva’s staff work with each homeless youth to develop a personalized action plan. This plan is designed to empower each young person to achieve both short and long-term personal and career goals. This intake, assessment and screening process considers the whole person: mental, physical and aspirational.


ZooShare is developing North America’s 1st zoo-based biogas plant. We will recycle manure from the Toronto Zoo and local food waste into renewable power for the Ontario grid. This process will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 10,000 tonnes of C02 each year, and will return valuable nutrients to the soil in the form of a high-quality fertilizer. Our project will be located across the street from the Toronto Zoo. The ZooShare mission is to be a catalyst, through education and investment, in the growth of community-owned biogas plants. We will grow the biogas industry across North America, and in doing so, teach others about the value of waste and the importance of conservation. Our business model also creates investment opportunities that keep energy dollars in the local economy.

Twenty-One Toys

Twenty One Toys is a young social enterprise that works out of the Centre for Social Innovation in Toronto, Ontario. They design and produce toys and workshops that teach key 21st century skills, such as innovation, creativity, collaboration, and complex problem solving by breaking them down into core skills such as Empathy, Failure and Communication. Their first toy, the Empathy Toy, is already in hundreds of homes, schools, and offices in 31 countries thanks to forward thinking educators, a handful of awards and their Kickstarter Campaign that let them manufacture their first batch of Empathy Toys.


HireUp is a social enterprise that connects youth who have barriers to employment to meaningful work. HireUp uses technology to connect employer, community organizations and vulnerable youth.