2018 Agents of Change: Climate Solutions


The climate change crisis presents us with the opportunity to build the more resilient, clean and low-carbon economy of the future, bringing with it new innovations, outlooks, jobs, products, skills, manufacturing and technologies.

Over two years, the Centre for Social Innovation is supporting a select number of enterprises working on climate change solutions. Meet our new cohort of 18 startups!


We’re supporting these climate change-fighting enterprises with:

Business and Impact Experts

Top-rated, seasoned coaches to accelerate their growth and amplify their impact.


Personalized support to help them develop and track impact metrics, including GHG reductions.


Advisory services from senior leaders, connection to our 2,500 members, and pitching to investors and partners on Demo Night.


An enterprise bootcamp, workshops, monthly progress reviews and peer circles.


Free workspace for 12 months, and membership in CSI’s emerging climate space at 192 Spadina Ave.


Over $20,000 in cash awards, access to microloans, and connections to funders and investors.


Recognition as an Agent of Change, and promotional support to increase their reach.


All the benefits of membership at CSI, including access to exclusive programs, member socials, discounts, and events.



Our first cohort of early-stage enterprises grew their revenues by 120% to $1.4M, created 14 new full-time equivalent jobs, increased volunteers by 55% to 160, and attained greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions of 640 TC02e. After a rigorous selection process, 18 new enterprises have joined our second cohort of Agents of Change: Climate Solutions.

Affecting Change Inc
Sandra Lester (LinkedIn)

Affecting Change Inc. are an award-winning high performance building consultancy, and their mission is to mitigate the ecological impact of the built environment. Their new software will help architects create high performance facilities.

Biopolynet Inc
Mostafa Aghaei (LinkedIn) & Arian Shahnazari

Biopolynet is a cleantech company specialized in developing innovative bioproducts. Our environmentally-friendly BioNanoCoil is a validated solution for the treatment and recovery of tailings in oil sands mining, which are responsible for 10% of oil sands GHG emissions.

Boreal Wool
Jennifer Osborn (LinkedIn) & Tim Fisher

Boreal Wool is committed to making quality products using Canadian wool that are functional, innovative, and carbon neutral. We aim to provide fair prices and wages for all.

Brave Soles
Christal Earle (LinkedIn) & Florence Levasseur

Brave Soles are handmade shoes with recycled tire soles. We are female owned, ethically produced and globally inspired.

Feedback Inc
Benjamin Walters (LinkedIn) & Josh Walters

Feedback is a mobile platform that allows customers to access great food for less, while reducing food waste. Feedback does this by offering time specific promotions, rewarding customers for eating at off-peak times.

Free Geek Toronto
Ryan Fukunaga (LinkedIn)

Free Geek Toronto is making our city a place where everyone has access to affordable technology and the internet, and where electronic waste is disposed of responsibly, safely, and ethically.

Samia Syed & Zoey Wen (LinkedIn)

FreshRents is an online platform that brings together communities of designers, businesses, and individuals to list, rent, or buy fashion both affordably and sustainably.

Gaia Verde Algae
Jordan Worona (LinkedIn)

Gaia Verde Algae’s mission is to accelerate the widespread adoption of sustainable algae growth by bringing a compelling algae farming system to market.

Insight Energy
Aaron Savatti (LinkedIn)

Insight Energy helps building owners by providing insights into their energy consumption through a holistic, analytical approach. Projects and retrofits are implemented internally, guaranteeing energy reduction and overall sustainable development.

Just Be Woodsy
Robert Jarvis (LinkedIn) & Sinéad Wills

Woodsy is creating an intelligent circular system: connecting urban furniture buyers to local woodworkers, woodworkers to local wood, and communities to the urban forest. 

Mary Chong (LinkedIn) & Henry Chong

Revelo creates clean and efficient portable transportation solutions for urban commuting that fold and roll faster, store thinner, ride better. Revelo innovations make life more convenient for modern riders

Shift: action for pension wealth and planet health
Jordy Gold (LinkedIn)

Shift: Action for Pension Wealth and Planet Health supports Canadian pension savers and influencers as they engage with their pension funds to prepare for climate change-related risks and opportunities.

Stewart Slaymaker & Kelly Bray

Modehopper provides shared shuttle services, connecting employees, tenants or customers from transit directly to their destinations. Modehopper creates efficient shuttle programs that improve mobility while minimizing cost and resources.

Sustainability Consultant Network
Pui Leung & Sahra Shojaei (LinkedIn)

SCN offers a groundbreaking Sustainability Consultant Internship program that helps purposeful professionals gain green-job experience by assigning them to real projects that assist local enterprises in reducing their waste and emissions.

The Spent Goods Company
Dihan Chandra (LinkedIn)

The Spent Goods Company transforms lesser-known food waste into value. For instance, used coffee grinds are being transformed into clothing, and brewer’s waste into bricks, animal feed, and mushroom farms.

Tiny Toronto
Soha Babar (LinkedIn) & Sa’ad Ahmed (LinkedIn)

Tiny Toronto facilitates attainable housing. We develop small dwellings in backyards that are legally-permitted and tax-paying. These are detached rent-able living spaces accessory to the main house. The small dwellings will use Passive House principals to reduce energy and water use.

Peter Deitz

UnWrapIt is a marketplace of gifts & gift opening experiences to help you add excitement and joy into your gift giving, especially when giving non-material experiential gifts.

Upper Canada Fibreshed
Becky Porlier & Laura Sharpe

Upper Canada Fibreshed believes that supporting bioregional textile value-chains will change the way we make, purchase and use textiles, envisioning a different culture rooted in environmental regeneration.


These experts are contributing their time and expertise to help our enterprises grow.

Ahmed Badruddin, CEO
WatrHub Inc.
Expertise: Fundraising, Investment, Technology

Ahmed Badruddin is the CEO of WatrHub Inc., a fast-growing Infrastructure Intelligence company that has introduced a novel Water Industry Analytics solution that enables businesses to focus their sales efforts on their most promising water utility prospects. Prior to WatrHub, Ahmed worked in various technology leadership roles at Microsoft.

Bernie Li, CEO
Expertise: Investment, Fundraising

Co-founder of Pure Energies Group, a provider of residential solar solutions across North America. Previously an investor with venture capital funds. Board member of the Centre for Social Innovation.

Chelsea Longaphy, Managing Director
Orthogonal Capital Management
Expertise: Business Model Development, Investment Readiness, Regulatory

Chelsea helps institutional clients implement impact investment strategies. Previously, she worked on CSI’s Community Bond offerings and with the investment research arm of Corporate Knights. She co-chairs the Community Finance Committee of Parkdale People’s Economy and is on the Board of Greenest City. She holds a BCom from McGill University.

Chris Caners, General Manager
Expertise: Behaviour Change, Investment, Product Development, Technology

Chris is a professional engineer with more than a decade of experience in renewable energy, greenhouse gas emissions verification and management, energy efficiency, and environmental sustainability. Prior to joining SolarShare, he worked with ICF (an environmental consultancy), M-KOPA Solar (Kenya) and the University of Toronto Sustainability Office.

Dylan Chochla, Associate
Expertise: Advocacy, Mentoring and Coaching, Research

Dylan is a lawyer at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP where he practices corporate/commercial litigation with a focus on corporate restructurings, creditors’ remedies and directors’ liability. He also has experience with both private and public corporate financings, mergers and acquisitions.

Emmay MahExecutive Director
Expertise: Behaviour Change, Community Engagement, Non-profit management & leadership

Emmay leads Enviromentum, an organization that applies behavioural science to climate change programming. Emmay has worked in the third sector for fifteen years, managing programs in child rights, HIV/AIDS and Indigenous health. She serves on the Board of the Toronto Environmental Alliance and the Toronto Climate Action Network’s Steering Committee.

Joanna Reynolds, Director of Social Enterprise
Centre for Social Innovation
Expertise: Convening, Education and Training, Investment, Product Development

Jo works alongside social entrepreneurs, and business leaders to advance the application of social finance and social entrepreneurship. In her role at CSI, Jo leads social enterprise development across a number of vibrant networks in Ontario and Canada. She is part of the team developing the Impact Dashboard and Soshent.net.

Katie Harper, Director
Project Neutral
Expertise: Behaviour Change, Community Engagement, Public Awareness

Katie Harper is Director of Project Neutral (Tides Canada), which helps residents reduce their household carbon footprint and join the transition to a low-carbon future. Previously, Katie worked in sustainability and engagement at Sears Canada and the David Suzuki Foundation. She holds a M.Sc. in Biology from McGill University.

Lawrence Alvarez, President
Institute for a Resource-Based Economy
Expertise: Advocacy, Community Engagement, Mentoring and Coaching

President of IRBE, and co-founder of the Toronto Tool Library and the Sharing Depot. Lawrence was born and raised in Zimbabwe, and has lived in Botswana, Canada, South Africa and Argentina. His passion lies in travel, exploring human relationships and shared experience, and finding the connections between us.

Mary Pickering, Vice President – Programs and Partnerships
The Atmospheric Fund
Expertise: Collaboration, Policy Change, Urban Climate Action Design and Implementation

Mary Pickering has been with The Atmospheric Fund (TAF) since 2004. As VP Programs and Partnerships, she leads TAF’s multi-sectoral collaboration initiatives and oversees design and implementation of TAF’s grantmaking and urban greenhouse gas reduction programs.

Peggy Sue Deavan-Smiltnieks, Founder
Peggy Sue Collection
Expertise: Arts, Collaboration, Product Development

PS Collection creates North American garments that honor the Farmer, Maker, and Creator. Named “Most Sustainable Canadian Designer” (FTA) and Overall Emerging Designer (TO Design Exchange) in 2017 and “Most Promising New Label” (TFI) in 2016. PSC champions Climate Beneficial Fashion, Organic+Bio-Dynamic Farming Practices, and the Upper Canada Fibreshed.

Rahul Raj, Founder & CMO
Expertise: Behaviour Change, Product Development, Public Awareness

Rahul unlocks the potential of brands to better the world and the bottom line. As the VP of Marketing & E-Commerce, he helped transform ecobee from relative obscurity to the #2 thermostat brand in North America.

Rob Shirkey, Executive Director
Our Horizon
Expertise: Advocacy, Behaviour Change, Policy Change

Robert Shirkey is a Toronto-based lawyer and founder of the campaign to get climate change disclosures (“warning labels”) on gas pumps. He has given lectures on the topic across North America and has been featured in media all over the world. His book can be pre-ordered at www.thebanalityofoil.com

Sandra Odendahl, President & CEO
CMC Research Institutes
Expertise: Collaboration, Investment, Policy Change

Sandra leads CMC Research Institutes, an environmental tech and innovation not-for-profit company, and serves as the Chair of The Atmospheric Fund (TAF). From 2007 to 2016 she led RBC’s Corporate Sustainability, Social Finance, and Social Innovation teams. Sandra has an M.A.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from UofT. She is a licensed P.Eng, and a CFA.

Tara Seucharan, Co-Chair
Toronto Climate Action Network
Expertise: Advocacy, Collaboration, Community Engagement

Tara has been involved in climate justice – especially water issues – for several years. She is the co-chair of TCAN, a network of action-oriented organizations working together to address the threat of climate change. She’s an advocate for horizontally-organized social movements, helping with climate justice people’s assemblies and social forums.

Vince Shutt, Behavoir Change Specialist
Expertise: Behaviour Change, Mentoring and Coaching

Vince is an expert in Motivational Interviewing, and translating knowledge from the behavioural sciences into environmental programming. His focus is to build programming and to collaborate with other environmental groups and entrepreneurs to assist in the integration of evidence-based approaches to achieving pro-environmental behavioural outcomes.

Agents of Change: Climate Solutions is a part of Climate Ventures at CSI. If you have any questions, please contact Barnabe Geis, CSI’s Director of Programs, at Barnabe@socialinnovation.ca.

The Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) is a nonprofit social enterprise, a global pioneer in coworking, a community and catalyst for people and organizations that are changing the world, with four Toronto locations, one in New York City, and an affiliate space in London, ON. The CSI Community is home to over 1,000 nonprofits, charities and social ventures in Toronto that employ over 2,500 people and generate combined annual revenues of around $250 million. CSI members are turning social, environmental, economic and cultural challenges into opportunities to make the world a better place.