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Accelerate from Anywhere

Engineer working on machine

Are you looking to grow your entrepreneurial or intrapreneurial competencies to create positive impact and prepare for a fast-changing job market? 

As the world looks to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, now is the time for the entrepreneurially-minded to step up to address pressing social and environmental challenges, and to develop the 21st century skills needed to succeed.

CSI has teamed up with Alterna Savings to bring you Social Entrepreneurship 101: an 8-week, part-time online program that covers the foundations of social entrepreneurship, from making sure you’ve identified the right problem, to developing a solution, to turning your idea into a sustainable business model. If you’re ready to roll up your sleeves, invest in your personal and professional growth, and turn your idea into impact, this is the right course for you! 


Develop a network of fellow change-makers through a series of 8 weekly 3-hour sessions. Our highly-engaging sessions meet virtually on Zoom and communicate in our Slack workspace to build a community of practice for our learning journey together. Each session includes activities, tools, case studies, breakout rooms, and cohort-wide discussions. Additionally, this course asks participants to complete 2-4 hours of Action Work outside of our live-sessions to begin putting your ideas into practice. 

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participants reported that SE101 has been more impactful than other entrepreneurship programs they have taken

When and Where

Classes begin September 2021
Online: Zoom Classroom and Slack workspace

What You’ll Learn

Social Entrepreneurship 101 is an 8-week program delivered in two phases:

Phase 1 (Weeks 1-4): Explore your purpose as a social entrepreneur. Discover your problem space. Map opportunities for impact.

Together, we’ll begin with some of the big questions you may be asking yourself, such as:

  • I see so many urgent problems to solve. Which should I focus on specifically, and why?
  • There are so many things to do to get started. How do I prioritize?
  • What skills, knowledge, connections, and experience can I leverage to make an impact?
  • How do I move from idea to action?

Phase 2 (Weeks 4-8): Discover stakeholders. Build your business and financial models. Understand how to measure your impact. Explore funding options.

Questions answered during this phase include:

  • I have developed a clear idea of the impact that I want my enterprise to generate. How do I design my business to reach this impact?
  • How can I generate sustainable revenue (and profit) from my social enterprise?
  • What resources am I going to need to start my enterprise?
  • What funding models and options should I explore?

By the end of the 8 weeks, you’ll gain experience, confidence, and practice with core competencies in social entrepreneurship such as critical thinking, systems thinking, active listening, storytelling, decision-making, and business modelling.

What’s Included

In addition to the 8-week Social Entrepreneurship 101 online curriculum, participants will also gain access to online CSI community perks:
  • Invitations to ongoing CSI additional learning online workshops
  • Access to a SE101 community wide #Slack channel
  • Access to valuable tools, guides and worksheets for your future use

Who you’ll meet

You will connect with a cohort of changemakers who are similarly driven and committed to making an impact. SE 101 is open to everyone interested in making the world better through entrepreneurial thinking and approaches.

Social Entrepreneurship 101 was developed in partnership with experienced social entrepreneurs, coaches, facilitators, and educators, and based on the learnings from over 10 years of training social enterprises.

If you want to learn the fundamentals of creating a social enterprise, and ensure you make the right decisions and set the right priorities this course is for you!

The program was developed in partnership with experienced social entrepreneurs, coaches, facilitators, and educators, and based on the learnings of over a decade of training social enterprises.

You will feel more capable of driving your social enterprise idea forward with increased confidence. Come to connect with your peers and learn the building blocks of creating a viable social enterprise


Together, we’ll help answer some of the questions you may be asking yourself, such as:

  • I see so many problems. Which should I focus on specifically, and why?
  • Do I have the right skills and enough knowledge to do this?
  • How do I move from idea to action?
  • There are so many things to do to get started, how do I prioritize?


  • Topic: What are my motivations for wanting to start a social enterprise?
  • Outcomes: I understand why starting my own social enterprise is a good fit for me.


  • Topic: What problem am I passionate about finding a solution to and why?
  • Outcomes: I have a framework to help me learn more about the ecosystem in which my problem exists.


  • Topic: Why are the current solutions to this problem not working?
  • Outcomes: I have learned techniques to help me connect with those affected by the problem so that I deeply understand what is not working and why.


  • Topic: Identifying opportunities for impact (new solutions)
  • Outcomes: I know (or am closer to knowing) where I can start to focus the efforts of my enterprise and with whom so that I can generate real impact.


Together, we’ll help answer some of the questions you may be asking yourself, such as:

  • I have developed a clear idea of the impact that I want my enterprise to generate, how do I design my enterprise to reach this impact?
  • How can I generate sustainable revenue (and profit) from my social enterprise?
  • How do I move from idea to action, what areas of my enterprise should I focus on building first?
  • What resources am I going to need to start my enterprise?
  • What funding models should I explore?


  • Topic: What is the vision and impact goals for my enterprise and who are its stakeholders?
  • Outcomes: I have a first draft of my enterprise’s compelling vision statement and I know all of the stakeholders that I will need to engage with in order to start testing my ideas.


  • Topic: What is a business model?
  • Outcomes: I can start to get creative in imagining how my enterprise could deliver and generate value in order to achieve impact.


  • Topic: What resources will I need to start my enterprise?
  • Outcomes: I can do a basic financial model to determine what I will need in the short term to get my enterprise off the ground.


  • Topic: How could I get my enterprise funded, what options are available and what should I focus on doing next?
  • Outcomes: I understand some of the funding options available and have a clear idea of what I should focus on next in order to get my enterprise off the ground.

Core Entrepreneurial Competencies You’ll Learn

You will leave this training with some core entrepreneurial competencies that will support you in building an inclusive, meaningful and impact-driven enterprise. These include:

  • Critical thinking (the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgment)
  • Systems thinking (understanding the numerous factors that contribute to a problem you are wanting to solve)
  • Decision making (selecting the best course of action that will bring about authentic impact).
  • Listening (giving one’s attention in order to learn new things without bias or judgment)
  • Storytelling (crafting and telling stories to better understand the impact that you want to generate)
  • Business Modelling (how to design an enterprise)

Tools and Guides You’ll Use

Some of the tools and guides we will be using include: Impact Gaps Canvas, Flourishing Business Model Canvas, Research Plan Template, Research Findings Template, Theory of Change, Evaluating Opportunities Worksheet, Enterprise Golden Circle.

We are offering this program at the significantly reduced rate of $100+pay what you can (PWYC)*, discounted from $450. We are also offering five fully-funded scholarships. These scholarships are intended to unlock access, opportunity, and impact for program participants who may face financial constraints to their involvement. All applicants (CSI Members, Non-CSI members, DECAs and PECAs) are eligible to apply. Find details below!
Pricing table for January 2021 Social Entrepreneurship 101 cohort
COVID-19 Considerate Pricing Option 1: $100. Thanks to our sponsor, we’re offering this program at the greatly reduced rate of $100 + Pay What You Can. Regular course price and value at: $450 Option 2: +pwyc. If you are able to pay more than $100, the difference will go towards subsidizing spots for others who may not be able to afford it. Thanks for helping to pay it forward. Option 3: Scholarship. We’re offering five, fully-funded scholarships. Please see details below and apply if you could otherwise not afford to participate.
*Why PWYC? If you are able to pay more for this course than the $100 minimum, your contribution will help others access the program for whom the cost would otherwise be prohibitive. Thanks for helping pay it forward!


In an effort to reduce financial barriers to SE 101 program participation, we are delighted to offer five fully-funded participant scholarships sponsored by Alterna Savings and Credit Union. All applicants (CSI Members, Non-CSI members, DECAs and PECAs) are eligible to apply.  Please note that scholarship recipients are expected to attend all 8 Social Entrepreneurship 101 Sessions (other than in extenuating circumstances). Scholarship recipients are also expected to complete all course surveys and commit to a post program interview for Alterna’s internal reporting use.

Our course curriculum and learning outcomes are available in the Program Overview tab!

Once you complete your Eventbrite registration, we will send you a compilation of ‘Pre-Course Work’ materials that will help you prepare for the 8 weeks of course work to come. Make sure to take the time to complete the work and invest in your journey ahead. Pre-Course Work will include a personal and professional values evaluation, a written reflection of your story of self and entrepreneurial motivations, and pre-course research topics on Social Entrepreneurship.

No, it is not required that you have a clear business idea to participate in SE 101. In fact, many participants use the first 4 weeks of the program to further research and discover the full breadth of their business ideas and potential solutions within the current landscape.

You will need to dedicate on average approximately 3 hours outside of class per week towards completing the work for the following class.

It is important that you show up on-time and ready to engage with the material, facilitator and other participants, having already completed your out of class work.

As a perk to this course, you will receive a complimentary day pass to work from CSI Annex for the remainder of your workday. You’re also invited to connect with CSI members and community at Salad Club on Wednesdays after class. Use this time to get to know your fellow classmates and colleagues and further develop your network.

This 8-week course is dedicated to sharing the tools of how to build a successful social enterprise. Upon completion of SE101, you will have developed working models of your social enterprise that will help you to understand how to structure your business for success!

There is a wonderful amount of research and modelling that must be done prior to completing your first business plan. Once you complete SE 101, you will have the foundational pieces to begin putting together a successful business plan!

The Centre for Social Innovation is a community, catalyst, and launch pad for social entrepreneurship and innovation. Accessing the entrepreneurial experience of facilitators, guest speakers, and the community at large offers a more meaningful opportunity for networking and deeper learning. SE101 also uniquely focuses both on personal and professional development.

You will need a laptop/ computer and access to an internet connection to be able to download and read through weekly materials. It is suggested that you keep a detailed journal to track your weekly progress and enterprise research. Come to class prepared to capture information shared through worksheets and slide shows. Please also bring pen, scratch paper, and post-it notes for your in-class time.

This course offers the most value to entrepreneurs who are in the “Ideation” and “Discovery” phases of their businesses.

Ideation: Entrepreneur with an idea, initial market and technology exploration

Discovery: Value proposition established, testing ideas, proof of concept achieved, identifying customers

This course is extremely useful to individuals wishing to learn more about what it means to be a social entrepreneur. You will learn how to holistically understand the roles and driving motivations of a thriving social enterprise and what it means to generate meaningful entrepreneurial impact.

Many successful social entrepreneurs begin as socially and environmentally aware citizens who are passionate and in search of meaningful solutions to the communities they are a member of or intending to generate solutions for. This is a great opportunity to gain access to incredible tools and learnings towards those outcomes!

Yes, it can be. If you are a part of a company where you want to generate impact for meaningful change, even within your own corporate culture, this is a great place to begin. SE101 gives you the opportunity to develop your storytelling skills, research abilities, and systems thinking approaches to understand and address complex challenges.

Get in touch with the SE 101 course facilitator, Peggy Sue Deaven, at PeggySue[at]​

“Ever wondered how to turn your professional and academic experience, personal values and ideas of social change and impact into action? This course is the place to start! You’ll be inspired and encouraged into action!” – Astrid Arumae – Réseau d’Entraide Covid-19 Help Hub – Montréal, QC

“Amazing course that allows all users to feel supported and comfortable sharing and encourages individual and group learning of self and business. You are thoroughly guided along a well lit path and emerge a stronger and more confident entrepreneur on the other side. Complete with resources and learning tools and a network of like minded business people that become friends.” – Tim O’Hara – Hulpr – Kingston, ON

Social Entrepreneurship 101 has laid the groundwork for ongoing self development in an optimistic and promising realm. It has helped me begin to build the muscle of financial thinking and offered a vocabulary that honors both my values and my needs.” – Siddan Chandra – Kidocracy – Toronto, ON

“My experience in the SE101 course was awesome! I was able not only to learn new things but also to get outside of my comfort zone. This course allowed me to understand how to transform ideas into feasible projects. I would recommend this course to any person that is looking forward to building connections or that is also starting a new project and would like to share their ideas with others. This course was one of my highlights of the year 2020 amids the COVID-19 pandemic! This was an opportunity for me to get outside of Ecuador and learn with an international cohort from my house!” – Mateo Tobar – LAB-XXI – Ecuador

“Social Enterprise 101 is about more than the nuts and bolts of building your social enterprise – don’t be surprised if you find yourself (pleasantly) challenged to do a lot of looking inside yourself, understanding your story and seeing how that is a major lever to achieving your dreams.” – Lee Weiler – Edmonton, AB

“Social entrepreneurs are going to be essential to help author a new social contract and reset the economy. If you’re looking to make your mark on the universe, using business as a tool, SE 101 is a great place to start.” – Michael Szego – Third Party – Toronto, ON

“As SE 101’s instructor, Peggy’s consistent energy during weekly classes and proactive effort to keep attendees engaged was commendable! In terms of various topics covered, I felt that storytelling exercises sprinkled through the 8 weeks was a solid way to help build/hone this critical business skill. Other than that, my favorite course topics based on coverage and discussions were – Desk Research, Discovery Interviews, Gaps Canvas, Enterprise Golden Circle, FBCanvas, Business Models, and Financial Models. Behind-the-scenes, Peggy was always available to address queries, offer follow-up discussions and reviews, and go above and beyond my making introductions to other entrepreneurs (or aspiring ones) in the same ecosystem and creating a Slack channel specifically for the ecosystem I plan to be in. Keep up the good work!” – Vishal Asthana – Toronto, ON (CSI DECA)

“SE101 strikes a thoughtful balance between the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of social entrepreneurship. The deep knowledge of the facilitator and the thoughtful support and engagement with the other participants was invaluable. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in social entrepreneurship.” – Ashley Goff – Raising Giants – Edmonton, AB

“I started with a vague idea and throughout the SE101 course, it got more focussed and clear. I don’t know whether I’ll see my idea grow into a real social enterprise or a charity, but I’m committed to it becoming SOMETHING. It made me aware of opportunities for connection and collaboration with others that I probably wouldn’t have noticed. It gave me the confidence to talk about my idea in a short and snappy elevator pitch, and articulate a connection to my deepest values. I felt honoured to be with so many passionate, dedicated and visionary people developing their own ideas to make the world a better place.” – Edelweiss D’Andrea – Occupational Therapist – Ottawa, ON

“Ògo Tàwa Inc., would not have the successes that attract strategic alliances, partners, influencers, and funders towards our organization today without the help of Social Entrepreneurship 101, CSI staff, and my fellow Social Entrepreneurship 101 comrades. The Social Entrepreneurship 101 course is a game changer, a venture booster, the essential preparation and nurturing environment for any intelligent-minded, ambitious social entrepreneur. It is best in class. Take it from me, a Harvard trained professional, this course is of Ivy-League standard, with leadership training skills, hands-on interactive learning, and competitive edge to propel social entrepreneurs towards exponential business successes that solve society’s pressing problems while ferreting out rewarding financial resources. Overcome your business woes with this course! Guidance from Peggy Sue Deaven the CSI program facilitator is like having access to a business super-power! I really have been more impactful with her guidance.” – Khalidah Bello – Ògo Tàwa Inc. – Toronto, ON

Alterna is guided by a commitment to support the well-being of their members, employees and communities. They promote community economic development through micro-lending initiatives, financially literacy training, charitable activities and by continually strive to be transparent at every level of their operation. We are grateful to have their sponsorship for CSI’s Social Entrepreneurship 101 Program!

Gonzalo Duarte speaking to SE101 students at CSI Annex

Roll up your sleeves, invest in your growth, and turn your idea into impact

Part of the CSI Educates Initiative

At CSI, we equip people, organizations, and systems with the skills, knowledge, and networks to evolve their leadership skills and entrepreneurial competencies. Learn more about our approach here

Climate Ventures

Door to the Climate Ventures space in CSI Spadina

Proving Climate Solutions Are possible

Located in the CSI Spadina in downtown Toronto, Climate Ventures is a unique space dedicated to climate entrepreneurs, innovators, leaders, and their teams.

Climate Ventures is not just about the climate and carbon emissions, it’s fundamentally about our profound relationship to the earth, air, and water. Our vision is to turn the climate crisis into an opportunity for human transformation. Climate Ventures members are collaborating to build the low-carbon economy that puts people and planet first. 

Climate Ventures Coworking Membership

With coworking packages to fit your needs, you’ll get:

  • 24/7 access to office space
  • networking + advisory services
  • goal-oriented peer circles and online groups (in GHG quantification, business modelling, pitching, and other areas)
  • introductions to funders and investors
  • exclusive events and programs
  • member rates on meeting rooms and event spaces
  • free coffee and tea
  • high-speed internet
  • photocopiers and printers
  • mailboxes
  • option to join shared health and dental plan

You’ll gain immediate access to Climate Ventures members, advisors, community of 2,500 social entrepreneurs and innovators, exclusive programs, and networking and training opportunities.

Part of the CSI Accelerates Initiative

At CSI, we support entrepreneurs with solutions that drive change through acceleration and incubation. Learn more about our approach here.

Earth Tech

Two people taking photos of the Arctic

Earth Tech is a six-month accelerator for climate or freshwater technology solutions that will positively impact communities and ecosystems across Canada.

We know that Canada’s freshwater ecosystems are threatened across many indicators, and that our country is warming at twice the global average, while we continue to have some of the highest per capita greenhouse gas emissions in the world.

The good news is that we still have time to stop and reverse global warming, and, in the process, give rise to the next economy – one that is just, carbon neutral, circular, and regenerative.

Urgent action is needed to ensure a flourishing future for people and our planet.

Earth Tech helps ventures validate their solutions, advance their Technology Readiness Levels, become financially sustainable, and create meaningful impact.

Earth Tech will run once a year from 2020–2022, supporting up to 55 startups and nonprofits advancing freshwater and climate solutions to our greatest environmental challenges.

During our previous climate programs, participating early-stage ventures earned and raised over $22M and supported 260 jobs. We support Earth Tech ventures with:

Entrepreneurs-in-Residence: Bi-weekly one-to-one time with top, seasoned Entrepreneurs-in-Residence for outcomes-based coaching.

Advisors: Office hours with dozens of advisors — including from RBC, Bullfrog Power, VCIB, and WWF-Canada — with varied expertise and networks.

Workspace: Free workspace at Climate Ventures in downtown Toronto, and access to the Centre for Social Innovation’s facilities, amenities and vibrant community.

Workshops: Customized, just-in-time learning provided through group workshops on topics like investment readiness, impact measurement, and product development.

Connections: Access to our network of networks, and ongoing connections to the talent, services and opportunities that can make all the difference.

Mastermind Groups: Monthly group sessions facilitated by the Entrepreneurs-in-Residence for peer-peer learning and support.

Increased Profile: Increased profile through marketing, storytelling, media relations, and events.

Pitch Night: Pitch Night where our ventures pitch to potential investors, funders and partners, in order to wrap the program and kickstart future opportunities.

Part of the CSI Accelerates Initiative

At CSI, we support entrepreneurs with solutions that drive change through acceleration and incubation. Learn more about our approach here.

Agents of Change 2018-2019: Climate Solutions

An accelerator for early-stage social enterprises with promising products, services, and technologies that can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Social entrepreneurs are turning the climate crisis into an opportunity to build the more resilient, clean, and low-carbon economy of the future.

Over two years, the Centre for Social Innovation is supporting 38 enterprises working on climate change solutions. Meet our second cohort!


We supported these climate change-fighting enterprises with:


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.


Take part in an enterprise bootcamp, workshops, monthly progress reviews and peer circles.


Free workspace for 12 months.


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.

Past cohorts of Agents of Change have seen impressive growth over a one-year period such as a 461% increase in revenues, and 214% increase in paid staff in Agents of Change: City Builders, and a 195% increase in revenues, and a 97% increase in the number of people impacted in Agents of Change: Community Health.

The 2017 cohort of startups have made incredible progress, such as securing investments, growing their revenues, hiring new staff, winning awards, and most importantly, towards reducing carbon emissions.

Ripple Farms Testimonial: Brandon Hebor and Steven Bourne, the founders of Ripple Farms, build vertical farms with integrated aquaponics systems using shipping containers. “The Centre for Social Innovation’s Agents of Change accelerator has been an invaluable experience in our start-up journey and continued growth. We became revenue positive during the program and were able to secure large sums of money to scale further. I truly believe that Ripple Farms wouldn’t be where it is today if it wasn’t for the AoC accelerator,” said Steven.

Green Story Testimonial: Akhil is the co-founder of Green Story, a marketing and analytics platform that helps green companies connect with customers by showcasing their positive environmental and social impact. “The Agents of Change program has helped Green Story grow. In addition to the amazing community and space at CSI, the program has provided technical help, connections, and business coaching and insights that have helped me expand my company,” he said. Peggy Sue Collection Testimonial: Peggy Sue Deaven,, founder of Peggy Sue Collection, is building systems for sustainable fashion. “As a CSI Agent of Change, we’ve seen some enormous successes, including winning Design Forward - Canada’s Sustainable Fashion Award and the Design Exchange’s Designer of the Year Award, launching our Fashion for All line, and keeping 6,325 lbs of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. Everything we’ve accomplished this year sets us up well for our five year plan when we will multiply that number by 10,” said Peggy Sue.

SWTCH Testimonial: Carter Li & Laura Bryson of SWTCH are creating an online marketplace for residential electric vehicle (EV) charging. “Early on, we were provided an opportunity to practice our pitching skills and later refine our business model with the support of more seasoned entrepreneurs. For us, the most beneficial elements of the program were access to experienced advisors in relevant industries and relationship-building opportunities with other entrepreneurs facing similar challenges in growing their impact,” said Laura.

Part of the CSI Accelerates Initiative

At CSI, we support entrepreneurs with solutions that drive change through acceleration and incubation. Learn more about our approach here.

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Agents of Change 2017-2018: Climate Solutions


Social entrepreneurs are turning the climate crisis into an opportunity to build the more resilient, clean, and low-carbon economy of the future.

Over two years, the Centre for Social Innovation is supporting 38 enterprises working on climate change solutions. Please note that applications are now closed, but you can still join Climate Ventures, our incubator for climate entrepreneurs, innovators, and advocates.

After a rigorous selection process, 20 enterprises joined our first cohort for Agents of Change: Climate Solutions. Over 12 months their revenues grew by 120% to $1.4M, they created 14 new full-time equivalent jobs, increased volunteers by 55% to 160, and attained greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions of 640 TC02e while being on track to achieve thousands more. Read this blog post for more updates.

Gregory Bonser (LinkedIn) & Albert Ler (LinkedIn)

Alert Energy helps building owners save energy and water.

Headshot of Mary-Kate Gilbertson
Mary-Kate Gilbertson (LinkedIn) & Larry Sault

Anwaatin supports reconciliation working alongside Indigenous Stewardship Warriors. We provide technical support to Indigenous communities.

Headshot of Colin Campbell
Colin Campbell (LinkedIn)

Better Current is a renewable technology company launching the world’s first smart solar charger for home use to efficiently charge devices from the sun every day.

Headshot of Kathy Porter
Kathy Porter (LinkedIn) & Jacqui Gingras

Imagine Getting Paid to Cycle! CO2Velo sells locally based carbon offset credits to emitters. We use the funds from carbon offset sales to provide financial incentives for people to cycle.

Headshot of Leor Rotchild


Leor Rotchild (LinkedIn)

DIG (aka Do It Green) is a registered B Corp delivering environmental programming for large special events including zero-waste management, clean power and potable water solutions.

Photo of Emmay Mah and Vince Schutt
Emmay Mah (LinkedIn) & Vince Schutt (LinkedIn)

Enviromentum mitigates climate change impacts by helping people to adopt environmentally responsible behaviours. Through applied behavioural change science, we empower people and organisations to lead a low carbon cultural transition.

Headshot of Anahita Belanger
Anahita Belanger (LinkedIn)

Farm Fund invests in modern restorative agriculture to improve the lives of farmers, feed the world and reverse climate change.

Photo of Kelly Drennan and Sarah Peel
Kelly Drennan (LinkedIn) & Sarah Peel LinkedIn)

FTA advances fashion sustainability through education, awareness and collaboration. Our Fashion Impacts Challenge introduces youth to the sharing economy with school-wide swaps, and also helps them prevent GHG-producing textile waste.

Headshot of Michael Smith
Michael Smith (LinkedIn) & Mark Juhasz

Future of Protein provides leaders with business intelligence on sustainable livestock production. We are examining sustainable animal feeds and developing a new tool to help leaders reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Photo of Luna Yu and Kaitlyn Chow
Luna Yu (LinkedIn) & Kaitlyn Chow (LinkedIn)

Genecis aims to rid the world of food waste and up-cycle it into products of value.

Photo of Paul Mero and Natasa Zupancic
Paul Mero (LinkedIn) & Natasa Zupancic (LinkedIn)

Junction Geo is a pilot project showcasing a new approach to bringing geoexchange heating and cooling to homes in older urban areas.

Photo of Akhil Sivanandan and Navodit Babel
Akhil Sivanandan (LinkedIn) & Navodit Babel (LinkedIn)

Green Story is a marketing and analytics platform that helps green companies connect with customers by showcasing their positive environmental and social impact.

Photo of Jessica Machado and Sarah Brigel
Jessica Machado & Sarah Brigel (LinkedIn)

Microbe Hub aims to reduce a community’s carbon footprint by using composting as a method of diverting organic waste and as a platform for science literacy programming.

Headshot of Carolyn Young
Carolyn Young (LinkedIn) & Laura Northey (LinkedIn)

The Organic Council of Ontario is the voice for organics in Ontario. We represent organic farmers and businesses and help them to grow Ontario organics from field to plate.

Headshot of Peggy Sue Deaven
Peggy Sue Deaven (LinkedIn) & Emily Neill (LinkedIn)

Peggy Sue Collection Inc. is a clothing company founded upon the beliefs of revitalizing the North American fiberscape with a transparent and traceable Supply Chain of Farmers, Mills and Makers.

Photo of Jessica Correa
Jessica Correa (LinkedIn)

Random Acts of Green™ is a social enterprise that offers social media advertising services. We advertise for our clients utilizing our engaging and empowering brand to showcase environmental initiatives.

Photo of Brandon Hebor and Steven Bourne
Brandon Hebor (LinkedIn) & Steven Bourne (LinkedIn)

Ripple is a social enterprise working to combat food insecurity throughout Canada. Focusing on vertical farming techniques, Ripple operates out of Canada’s first Urban Farming Unit at the Evergreen Brickworks.

Photo of Nima Tahami and Mohsen Mohsenpour
Nima Tahami (LinkedIn) & Mohsen Mohsenpour

ShiftRide is a peer-to-peer car sharing platform, allowing people to rent cars from car owners nearby.

Photo of Carter Li and Laura Bryson
Carter Li (LinkedIn) & Laura Bryson (LinkedIn)

SWTCH is an online marketplace for residential electric vehicle (EV) charging. By enabling residential EV charging, SWTCH aims to improve EV charging accessibility and promote the mainstream adoption of EVs.

Headshot of Daniel Adirim
Daniel Adirim (LinkedIn)

Groundswell Grid Energy is a geoexchange utility dedicated to making it easy for building owners to switch to a less expensive, safer and lower carbon space heating and cooling technology.

If you have any questions about the Agents of Change or other CSI acceleration programs and services, please contact Barnabe Geis, Director of Programs, at barnabe[at]

Part of the CSI Accelerates Initiative

At CSI, we support entrepreneurs with solutions that drive change through acceleration and incubation. Learn more about our approach here.

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CleanTech Fellowship

The 2017 Global Cleantech Innovation Index ranked Canada’s cleantech sector fourth in the world in this market expected to be worth $2.5 trillion by 2022.

To help build on this success, CSI launched a one-year fellowship for entrepreneurs leading discovery to efficiency-stage cleantech startups reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Ontario.

Our Fellows were supported with:

One-to-one coaching with Entrepreneur in Residence, consultations with expert advisors, and workshops. 

Connections to our advisory committee, our portfolio of climate ventures, our 2,500 members, and acceleration partners.

Free membership at Climate Ventures, and workspace for up to two people for 12 months.

Access to microloans, pitching at Demo Night, and introductions to funders, investors, and partners.

Over 12 months the Cleantech Fellows achieved…
  • $17.4M raised & earned during program, an increase of 481%
  • 95 jobs supported, an increase of 86%
  • 641 tCO2e in direct emissions reductions through pilots

Part of the CSI Accelerates Initiative

At CSI, we support entrepreneurs with solutions that drive change through acceleration and incubation. Learn more about our approach here.

Logo for CSI Principle - CSI Accelerates

Agents of Change: City Builders

People networking at the Agents of Change City Builders Grad Event

Engaged and active citizens make great cities

These are types of people who insist on rolling up their sleeves to make their city a better place. We teamed up with 15 outstanding partners to create 2015 Agents of Change: City Builders program, giving these dreamers, doers and innovators a helping hand.

Over 12 months, the selected startups in the Toronto cohort achieved a 461% increase in revenues, and 214% increase in paid staff.

Headshot of Azeeza for Women Agent of Change

Azeeza for Women is a social enterprise designed to address the issue of violence against women through health and fitness training.

Photo of founders of Building Roots

Building Roots is an emergent initiative of Food Forward, a grassroots non-profit organization, where Torontonians meet to create a better City through food.

Headshot of Marc Soberano, Founder of Building Up

Building Up is a non-profit social enterprise that will install energy and water efficient retrofits in low income housing, while training and employing the marginalized residents of these buildings to carry out the work.

Headshot of Farah N. Mawani, Founder of Farahway Global

Building Roads Together/Farahway Global reduces mental health disparities and promotes inclusion and empowerment by building capacity for people to lead peer walking groups.

Headshot of Darryl Brown, Founder of The Drop Distribution

The Drop Distribution is a cargo cycle fleet operating year-round bringing the best of the city to consumer’s door stoops.

Photo of Lucas Simon Medina (Founder and Executive Director) and Chad A. Craig (Administrative Director)

Five/Fourteen is a social service agency providing services and support to lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, queer and otherwise gender-non-conforming youth and young adults in and from foster care in Ontario.

Headshot of Jason Logan

Toronto Needs a Creative Director is a project to establish an office of Creative Direction within Toronto’s City Hall.

Photo of the Shape My City team

Shape My City brings the power of networks to people, ideas, projects, and organizations, helping to build a better Toronto.

Headshot of Luke Anderson, Founder of StopGap Foundation

StopGap Foundation is helping communities discover the benefit of barrier free spaces and providing support to create them through their Community Ramp Project outside storefronts across Toronto.

Photo of the Storefront Theatre team

The Storefront Theatre is a performance space in the Bloorcourt area in Toronto, born out of a vacant storefront and converted into a thriving theatre venue.

Photo of Techsdale team

Techsdale is helping Rexdale youth learn web, app and game design and development, in order to maximize their capacity for creative self-expression, their employability and their sense of agency.


Our Agents are making lasting impacts on their communities. See for yourself.

StopGap Foundation

Building Up

Part of the CSI Accelerates Initiative

At CSI, we support entrepreneurs with solutions that drive change through acceleration and incubation. Learn more about our approach here.

Agents of Change: Youth

Tree branches and roots growing along the brick wall outside CSI Annex. Photo credit: Sammy Tangir.

We’re in the business of helping people who are making the world a better place

The 2011, 2012 and 2013 Agents of Change: Youth programs provided space and support to young people aged 19-30 with a promising social venture to help them turn their ideas into real impact, and prepare them for early stage investment.

Over three years, supported over 60 young entrepreneurs and their ventures.

Andre Vashist is an advocate of neighbourhood renewal projects and believes in community-based planning as a framework for effective community development. Andre has been a senior executive at University of Toronto at Scarborough’ s Student Union, represented MADD Canada as a national youth spokesperson, and managed a federally funded program for newcomer youth in Toronto for the YMCA of Greater Toronto. Inspired by the work of United Way’s Action for Neighbourhood Change initiative, Andre created Butterfly Communities to serve neighbourhoods not identified as a priority by the city and that had the desire to improve their quality of life.
Antonius Clarke is a resident of Jane and Finch. Growing up in this community, he was faced with many challenges and oppression, issues within the education system, over policing and poverty. He used his experiences to affect change among other youth and families. He became known as the Inner city ambassador, as he spoke up about the importance of giving youth a platform to share their stories, and recognizing the value and importance in respecting the lived experience of individuals. Antonius believes that power lives within and is a champion for developing local leaders and supporting resident development and involvement in all processes.
Balu Kanagalingam has shown an enduring commitment to bringing out the talents and spirit of kids from underserved communities. He has taken an active leadership role on the Youth Advisory Board of Arts for Children and \was largely responsible for the success of the Big Bam Boom Youth Arts Festival at Harbourfront. While pursuing his studies at Ryerson, Balu has been working as an outreach artist with Arts for Children and Youth and, at the same time, taking an active role in putting together this year’ s Big Bam Boom.
Chiara Camponeschi’s approach to social innovation and social change blends elements of empowered participatory governance with the latest collaborative tools and theories. Her work is pushing for a more nuanced understanding of (urban) sustainability, and promotes a vision of interconnected local communities that are interactive, livable and resilient. Chiara is also really passionate about co-design (of services, policies, projects), and works to raise awareness on the potential of what she calls  place-based creative problem-solving” (PBCPS) Her latest project, The Enabling City, is a Creative Commons publication that showcases the best in PBCPS initiatives worldwide and has been listed in Shareable Magazine’s “World’s Top 10 Gov 2.0 Initiatives”.
Chris Wong noticed a gap in Toronto’s landscaping businesses, specifically that food crops were excluded from gardening services. Out of this need, he started Young Urban Farmers, a service that sets-up vegetable gardens. After a year of positive feedback, he took urban food production one step further. The goal for Young Urban Farmers CSA, a registered non-profit, is to grow food secure communities through a backyard CSA program, informative weekly newsletters, and educational workshops. He is also a member of the Toronto Food Policy Council and the Toronto Youth Food Policy Council, both of which work to shape policy around food issues in Toronto.
D’Andre Wilson has been a part of the National Society of Black Engineers for 4 years and would like to expand her work to teach leadership and STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) and also Entrepreneurial concepts to black youth. D’andre hopes to hold workshops, which she is currently developing a curriculum for with the help of the University of Toronto Engineering Outreach Office, and to hold competitions that will get youth engaged.
Darren Brown is a passionate and energetic individual. For the better part of the past decade he has dedicated himself to bettering the lives of the youth with whom he works . Through his experience organizing many outreach programs in and around the Greater Toronto Area, Darren has genuinely touched the lives of many young people.
David Berkal — I consider myself an activist, an entrepreneur, a storyteller, and an educator. I’m currently the Executive Director of Operation Groundswell, a nonprofit volunteer travel company. Now in its 5th year, OG will run 14 programs, sending 150 young adults all over the globe and raising over $150,000 towards community projects and microcredit financing, all while being a 100% financially self-sufficient social enterprise. I am also the founder of Canadian Roots, which runs exchanges and field schools for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth across the country. I recently completed my undergraduate at UofT specializing in Peace and Conflict Studies and was selected for the Next 36 Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute.
Francis Atta — I go to George Brown College, entering my third year in the Child and Youth Worker program. Growing up in the Jane and Finch community has been a blessing to me. From all the wrong choices that I have made in my life, I have learned how to become stronger and teach others how to do the same. I started an organization called K.E.Y.S which stands for Knowledge & Effort Yields Success. It is a Motivational Speaking Company and also provides workshops that inspires and encourages people of all ages to never give up no matter what the outcome.
Grace Poon started grayspoon 3 years ago. She spends her days helping non-profits, start-ups and social businesses develop and strengthen their business brand identity. Her clients range from start-up business owners to large non-profit corporations to small community based operations in developing nations. Last year, Grace ran away with her passion, chopped off 14″ of hair and launched The Hair Dare, a movement where girls (and guys) cut their hair to raise funds, awareness and hair for children who suffer from conditions like cancer treatments, burns and alopecia.
Jajube Mandiela — I am an emerging actor in stage, screen, and voice, as well as a young student pursuing a degree in Philosophy and Cinema Studies. I love my performance work but felt I was missing a tangible, positive impact on making the world a better place to live in, hence why I became the lead member of the reConnexion Artists Collective. We are a project-run group who connect Toronto’s youth with the professional live performance community. We are theatre practitioners (actors, arts educators, etc.) with core, project, and associate members. Our most successful, Trips2Shows project, takes youth accompanied by artist-facilitators to live performance events. While our newest project, Uth Connexions, endeavours to create a youth network in Western Toronto neighbourhoods so youth can have the power to program art training and creating activities in their own communities rather than through third parties. Simultaneously, we are launching the reConnexion Artists growth spurt: a project aimed at creating a stronger connection between arts organizations and youth social service providers. Our goal: when youth connect to one they have access to all.
Jayar La Fontaine — After completing graduate level work in philosophy at McMaster University, I relocated to Toronto and began working in community-based neuro-rehab settings. I now work with publically funded acquired brain injury (ABI) organizations to improve services, build partnerships with other areas of healthcare and social services, and empower ABI survivors and their caregivers. I am working with Jane McGonigal’s start-up Social Chocolate to bring clinical trials and beta testing of her rehab-based alternate reality game “SuperBetter” to brain injury clinics in Ontario. In September, I’ll be returning to school part-time in OCADU’s new Master of Design in Strategic Foresight and Innovation.
Jayme Turney — I am a 25 year old York Political Science/Political Economy Masters student and Toronto Public Space Committee campaigner (since 2008). The TPSC was founded by Dave Meslin about 10 years ago and is currently under transition and revitalization, which I am leading and managing. The new organization, Toronto Public Space Initiative, will continue TPSC advocacy work to promote and protect public spaces and outdoor visual environments from commercialization, as well as to promote a public ‘right to the city’ in these areas and in the decision making processes around them; in other words, to further democratize the urban.
Jonathan Moneta — Jonathan Moneta is developing energy managment systems that address the rising cost of energy and the changing ways we pay for it. He is experienced in the wireless Smart Energy space and was formerly the Director of Business Development for MMB Research. Jonathan was also Chair of the Young Social Entrepreneurs of Canada’s (YSEC) re:Vision 2010 conference.
Joshua Liu — I am a third year medical student at the University of Toronto. When I was 15, I created SMARTS – Youth Science Canada’s national youth science network. This year we have redeveloped SMARTS as the premier online social network for youth interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Presently, I am the co-lead of a project at UHN’s Centre for Innovation in Complex Care to map out the current state of avoidable hospitalization for complex patients in Ontario. I am also working with Toronto Western Hospital’s family health team to develop their Homebound Seniors Program.
Lauren Spring — I am a stage and screen actress and international improvisor. I obtained my BFA (in Theatre and Development) from Concordia University in 2005 and completed graduate studies in physical theatre and clown Paris, France at L’ecole de Theatre Jacques LeCoq and with Philippe Gaulier. I am currently completing my Masters in International Development at York University. I have been teaching theatre and improvisation-based workshops for children, teenagers and adults for more than a decade throughout North America and abroad and along with my partner, Thomas Gallezot, recently started up a company- the Extant Jesters – which specializes in skills training and event animation. We work with a wide variety of groups ranging from grade 2 students at Regent Park public school to top executives in bank towers- and everything in between. My current project is on the relationship between humour and resilience in the lives of those who have experienced torture or trauma and as part of it I have been facilitating improv workshops with refugees at the Canadian Centre for Victimes of Torture, exploring the ways in which the improv principle of “Yes and” (acceptance and advancement) can be applied to their everyday lives.
Liam O’Doherty — I am an organizer, activist and improviser who likes to swim, garden and ride bikes. I stay up late and get things done. My currently projects include: a global youth engagement mapping project with TakingITGlobal, Greenshades an environmental entertainment group and a collaborative advice platform for consumer information.
Nadia Hamilton — As a sibling to a young adult with autism, I have been cognizant my entire life of the challenges faced by those impacted by this and other disorders. I have spent a lifetime advocating for my brother and the autistic community which is, I feel, an extended network of brothers and sisters. This year, I’m focusing my efforts in starting a for-profit organization that caters to adults with autism. Nadia was the winner of CSI’s Project Wildfire and earned $25,000 for her project to improve the lives of adults with autism.
Nathan Duncan is the founder and CTO of eevig the give back initiative. He has contributed many years into social innovation and began his journey at the age of 14 when he opened his own media design firm onmedia just to build a social project he was passionate about IAP Sports. Nathan has now turned his eyes to the future… through a rough economy and with a growth in the social consumer market he has now targeted a new project, which is eevig the give back initiative. Eevig acquires quality corporate redundant assets such as chairs, desks, stationary supplies and IT equipment from some of the world’s most recognizable brands and managea the connection from corporations to social initiatives across the globe.
Paige Lawson — I am the founder and director of The DREAM Project, a locally based organization from London Ontario that provides education alternatives, resources, support and awareness for mental health and mental illness. Founded in 2008, DREAM has become a recognized support system within the Thames Valley and Catholic District School Boards, serving over 30 highschools and youth groups. I was recognized as a 2010 Top 20 Under Twenty Award Recipient for my work, and have recently expanded my work to Hamilton where I am currently studying Television Broadcasting and Communications Media.
Samantha Banks holds a Diploma in Fundraising and Volunteer Management from Humber College and has a BFA in Contemporary Dance from Concordia University. Sam was elected Vice President Special Events for the Fine Arts Student Alliance, where she organized orientation for 5,000 students and acted as a Fine Arts Councilor for the Concordia Student Union. She served as president for a campus, city-wide and international youth movement, and was responsible for implementing leadership development and social justice programming. Sam has attended conferences throughout the world that focused on interfaith and peace in the Middle East. She was selected for fellowships with the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee and Canadian Israel Experience- Birthright. Sam was Social Chair for Students Take Action Now for Darfur and fundraised for Doctors Without Borders.

Part of the CSI Accelerates Initiative

At CSI, we support entrepreneurs with solutions that drive change through acceleration and incubation. Learn more about our approach here.

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