Why MBA in CED?

Why MBA in CED?

We’re thrilled Cape Breton University is offering its MBA in Community Economic Development in Calgary starting January 2018.

Fellow YYC changemaker and CBU alumni Roman Katsnelson (KRD Consulting Group) shares how it all went down, for him. We hope his journey in pursuing a post-secondary calling while juggling work and life might be of inspiration to you. 

I could have saved so much time and gas money… If only Cape Breton had offered its MBA in CED program in Calgary five years ago. But I don’t regret driving to Edmonton on alternative weekends for two years.

The program was, for me, a life changing experience. I had been wanting for ages to go back to school for a graduate degree and was always on the lookout for the right fit. From a practical perspective, I needed something I could pursue while continuing to work a full-time job and could emerge from without a lifetime’s worth of debt. From an ethical perspective, I needed something that would be worth sacrificing many (many!) family hours. And from a values perspective, I needed something that would fit me, that would challenge me to grow and enable me to give meaningfully.

I never envisioned myself pursuing an MBA. I was (and remain) a committed communitarian, and I saw much power in Community Development work. Community Economic Development was a mysterious and suspicious beast. I was not at all certain that the program was for me. But reviewing the course literature, I found that I was nodding my head more vigorously with each new entry. I talked with my family and took the plunge.

My doubts and uncertainties were as welcome as my passions and curiosities. Pretty soon I was learning to unpack the social economy from a theoretical and practical perspective. Course readings included J.K. Gibson-Graham, Dewey, Marx, Freire, and Maslow. We learned about worker-reclaimed enterprises in Argentina and their differences from worker-owned cooperatives in Spain and Canada. We learned enough Accounting to understand how “externalities” came to be, and enough ethics to understand why they’re problematic. We examined the tumult that is Social Enterprise and learned how to fit a variety of traditional venture analysis techniques to its unique context. We were invited to initiate change processes in our organizations to understand first-hand that all innovation is social.

And we were invited – required – supported – to conduct an original research project. The breadth of topics in my cohort was astounding – from Rural CED to Sports as Social Capital to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to Cryptocurrency and Community. My research focused on workplace communities – I wanted to learn from deeply human workplaces, understand how they engendered belonging, and understand their effects on non-work lives and communities.

Thanks to my degree, I know how to operationalize my ethics… And have the good fortune to do so via a rewarding consulting practice.

To learn more join George Karaphallis, Dean of Shannon School of Business at Cape Breton University, at the following information sessions:

  • December 4 from 10:00 – 11:00am at Caffe Artigiano 332 6 Ave SW
  • December 4 from 12:00 – 1:00pm OR 5:00 – 6:00pm OR 7:00 – 8:00 pm at SAIT Main Campus, Room AA117, Heritage Hall
  • December 5 from 12:00 – 1:00pm at ATB Entrepreneur Centre 1110 17 Ave SW

Can’t make it to an info session? Email George at mba@cbu.ca for more information.

Co-work & create @emergeHUByyc

We’re so excited to see a community unfolding over at emergeHUB on International Ave! The collaborative space has some exciting offerings in the works from how-to’s in small business accounting and social media marketing to ‘Turning Passion into Profit’ – an entrepreneurship workshop delivered by our very own Erin Melynchuk with Momentum.

Here’s a little lowdown on what’s going down from the co-work space’s maestro Mark Shields.

Us: We hear emergeHUB has a manifesto of sorts? Care to share?

Mark: We like to say innovation through idea generation. Our mission is to create a collaborative space with shared resources that allows ideas to grow. As a project of the International Avenue BRZ, we are founded by businesses, but we are consciously extending our roots into the common soil of creativity.

Us: Ohh, we like. That makes us think of growing food – the soil of creativity.

Mark: Yes, lots of similarities to growing food. Our experience tells us a hub is not formulaic and requires a mixture of design and happenstance. We see that every interaction between people contains a seed, which given the right environment may sprout, take root and reach heights unimaginable at the interactive moment.

Us: The ‘interactive moment’. Love that. So why was the time right, now for emergeHUB on International Ave?

Mark: International Avenue is a natural hub for east Calgary. It is a food hub for culinary explorers. It is a service hub for agencies assisting the vulnerable. It is a business hub for entrepreneurs seeking affordable, high traffic space to base their retail operations. It is a migration hub for people seeking change in their lives. emergeHUB intends to coalesce all this activity. Our location at the heart of International Avenue is a place where people gather, share, exchange, converse and create – a cross-pollination of all the area’s diverse activities.

Us: Mark! How much Trubuch did you drink this morning!? That was awesome. It takes us until at least 2 pm to get that articulate. OK, lastly tell us quickly how folks can get involved?

Mark: Anyone can access emergeHUB through doorways such as our upcoming Change Maker Chat video conversations, Lunch & Learn programs, by visiting emergeMARKET or subscribing to our newsletter – and there is no charge for any of it. For those who do want to make a deeper connection to our community, the co-work space is more than exchanging a fee for service. A paid membership at emergeHUB is an investment in a community that will do its best to return your support in kind.

Check it out…www.emergehub.ca @emergeHUByyc


Develop your leadership potential with Spiral Table

Thrive and Conscious Brands are coming together once again to activate your local economy leadership potential!

If you’re passionate about a sustainable economy where everyone can thrive, come together to connect, collaborate and address unique challenges the Spiral Table Program is for you. Past participants of the program include Black Sheep Mattress Company, Evolved Health, Intrinsi, Sidewalk Citizen Bakery, Sunnyside Natural Market, Yoga Santosha and more…

“Spiral Table has been incredibly valuable in bringing me together
with industry peers and learning the successes and challenges of their business and sustainability initiatives. The facilitators are professional, well organized and able to structure our thoughts and ideas into useful frameworks. Having facilitators gives us greater support for our projects and businesses.” – STEWART BROWN, Founder and CEO, Genuine Health

What is a Spiral Table? You’ll be part of a mastermind (used in the context of good not evil!) group of 5-6 peers and a program that integrates innovative leadership strategies and community-based economic development approaches to help you better effect real change. Areas of exploration include:

– Best Practices in Conscious Business
– Measuring and Monitoring Stakeholder Impact
– Defining TRUE Sustainability
– Building and Practicing Conscious Culture
– Prioritizing People and Planet in Purchasing
– Progressive HR practices that Foster Inclusion and Build Sustainable Livelihoods
– Emotional Intelligence

What is the investment? You must be ready to fully and productively participate with mind, body and spirit over the course of one year through a series of 10-12, 2 hour meetings. You will also need to dedicate a minimum of 1 hour of action between the meetings on improving your leadership and business in the new economy. The annual investment is $135/ month.

Interested in registering or learning more about Spiral Table? Please reach out! Phone: 403-204-2668  or email Barb at Thrive: barbd@momentum.org, or Rob at Conscious Brands: rob@consciousbrands.com

Workshop for Changemakers

We are excited to announce author of An Army of Problem Solvers and social entrepreneur Shaun Loney will be hosting a workshop for changemakers in Calgary September 11-13 at Mount Royal University!

Loney has co-founded and mentored 11 social enterprises, including BUILD Inc, which won the 2011 Scotiabank EcoLiving Green Business of the Year, and the 2013 Manitoba Apprenticeship Employer of the Year. Before co-founding BUILD Inc, he was Director of Energy Policy for the Government of Manitoba and political advisor to Gary Doer’s NDP. Loney is the first prairie Canadian to be awarded an Ashoka Fellowship (2015) and was Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2014.

During the workhop, Loney will dig into the art and science of solving complex problems, especially at the local community scale. Participants will learn about ways to see poverty and other social and environmental challenges as opportunities, how to better understand the motivations and drivers of people, businesses, and governments, and how to support the re-emergence of Indigenous economics.

This two and a half-day event is limited to only 25 registrants, and the cost per ticket is $300. Lunch and morning refreshments are included. For tickets and more information, click here.


Accelerate your business with social purpose

Did you know there’s a free program for established social entrepreneurs who want to grow their business financially while creating social change in YYC? Thrive Accelerator is a 16-week program designed to help you to do business differently and grow your profit and benefit the community.

Does this sound like you?

  • You have a Calgary-based operational business with at least one year of financials
  • You are connected to and have a desire to create social change in your community
  • Your business makes < $200,000/year (we celebrate you making more, but this is our sweet spot to start)
  • You are nice and have an ethical platform (you are a social entrepreneur after all!) and are ready to roll up your sleeves to grow your business

Fall Cohort FULL – next intake spring 2018

The Fall 2017 cohort is full, but we are recruiting for spring 2018.

Thrive Accelerator includes 16 weeks of classes and six months of weekly business coaching (a 3.5-hour commitment per week). You will be learning in a peer environment (class size is 10 participants) and through the guidance of a professional facilitator. Expect to sharpen your business, financial and marketing skills with the aim of growing your socially purposed business.

Ready to take the plunge? Take the first step and register here.  Or for more information connect with Chas Young, our amazing in-house social purpose business expert, and Accelerator ace chasy@momentum.org or 403-204-2670.

Why Thrive Accelerator?

You will accomplish more in less time

Thrive Accelerator is designed to help you get done in six months what would otherwise take much longer, even years to complete. The program brings together the right people and resources in one place at one time. You’ll build relationships with mentors, peers, and become part of an exclusive network that will support you long into the future.

You will focus on the strategic growth of your business

This program is a container for entrepreneurs who see the value in stepping out of the day to day and focusing dedicated time on the strategic growth of their business. With knowledge, tools, and resources at your fingertips, the program is designed to maximize your investment of time.

Register today!

Sept 29 & 30 – Soul of the Next Economy Forum

This great snapshot of the upcoming Soul of the Next Economy Forum was submitted by our friend and Chair of the planning committee for the event Angie Redecopp. She is an associate professor at Ambrose University, and teaches in the business program and development studies minor. Her research focuses on the supply chain and human rights. 

What will you do for the #nexteconomy? 

On September 29 and 30 Ambrose University, Fig Tree Foundation and Vibrant Communities Calgary will host Soul of the Next Economy Forum #SoulForumYYC where the non-profit sector, government, business and educational institutions converge. From the business leaders who host our Executive Roundtable to the social innovators participating in the Lion’s Den Social Innovation Challenge, representatives from all sectors will demonstrate the changing the way we do business and development.

Fueled by innovation, collaboration and corporate social responsibility Soul of the Next Economy Forum will help you:

  • LEARN about local & global social and development issues
  • CONNECT with peers, industry experts and other sectors addressing these issues
  • ENGAGE in sustainable business oriented solutions to these issues

Our gathering begins on Friday, September 29 with the Executive Roundtable involving business leaders from around Calgary moderated by Linda Coady of Enbridge. Then keynote Wayne Visser – writer, speaker, academic, poet, film producer, social entrepreneur, and futurist will present the “Frontiers of Corporate Responsibility”. On Saturday, September 30 Daniela Papi-Thornton of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford will speak to “Tackling Heropreneurship,” or focusing on better understanding problems and existing efforts before starting yet another organization or initiative. Breakout sessions will address Better Business, Local/International Issues, and Collaboration and Engagement and are followed by the Lion’s Den Social Innovation Challenge.

Please visit nexteconomyforum.com to register. Early Bird registration of $99 is available until the end of August and for anyone attending both EconoUs2017 and Soul of the Next Economy Forum you can use promo code NEXTECONOUS for a special discount. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter @SoulForumYYC for updates and news.



July. Calgary. Coolness.

Sharing some amazing sparks of action, we see through our collaborative work in community and a few opportunities this July!

Emerge Co-Work Hub

We are thrilled to announce emergeHub opens in July, yet another exciting initiative of International Ave BRZ.

The co-work hub was unveiled for an early viewing in June and acted as site host for Business Link’s monthly event BizConnections YYC. Very soon the innovative and funky space will serve as the go-to-spot for up to 30 area entrepreneurs through a supportive and collaborative community rooted in a physical space offering work desks and meeting rooms. Thrive in collaboration with the Alberta Community Cooperative Association and Momentum have partnered with International Ave BRZ to be onsite and provide business supports.

For more information check out this great Metro article Co-work incubator space coming to Calgary’s International Avenue. Or if we’ve piqued your interest reach out to Mark Shields via email emerge@internationalavenue.ca or 403-248-7288.

Social Enterprise 201 in the Hills

Community champions from Northern Hills are quite simply blowing our minds with their incredible enthusiasm for creating social and economic impacts. Over the last year we’ve had the opportunity to introduce the community to social enterprise – what it is and how it can be used to make a difference in a neighborhood.

On Tuesday, July 4 we’re following up with Social Enterprise 201 – The (Social) Business Model Canvas. Thrive has partnered with BusinessLink, Vivo and the Northern Hills Community Association to deliver the event.

If you are living in, working in or just loving the communities of Northern Hills, Country Hills, Country Hills Village, Coventry Hills, Harvest Hills and Panorama Hills then please join us! The event is free and you can register here.

CED as verb, not verbiage

It was a national gathering, a meeting of minds (and eating of very large chocolate chip cookies) to discuss building support among funders, policymakers and leading practitioners, and explore opportunities for shared and sustainable prosperity.

Some, like members of the Quebec-based Community Economic Development and Employability Corporation or Kaye Grant representing the Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation and Catherine Scott spearheading the Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy for Canada came from across the country to attend. Others including MLA Annie McKitrick and Martin Garber-Conrad of the Edmonton Community Foundation found six extra hours in the day to roundtrip Alberta’s longest and busiest highway. We with Thrive, well, there really wasn’t any manner of suffering on our part and shucks, we sure were super happy to be invited.

By all accounts, ours included, the seasonably chilly end of April gathering in Calgary hosted by the Canadian CED Network (who recently worked with partners to secure $5.8 million over 5-years for collaborative efforts to strengthen Canada’s social enterprise ecosystem) was worth attending. One part small group discussion exploring the precisely imprecise arena of community economic development (CED), one part chatting it up which we understand resulted in a network win, or two. Nice.

When we connected back with the group for some post session sentiments, we liked how our fellow workshop participant Heather McRae, EdD Dean at MacEwan University’s School of Continuing Education summed up the day-long dialogue.

“Lots of things are happening in the world of CED despite the challenges in defining who we are. Maybe that is what is great about this space – it is fluid and dynamic. Its roots are in a shared belief about community, and this notion makes the space elastic and full of opportunities and challenges.”

Elastic, yeah, that’s good. Stretching, reaching from where you are to where you want to go. Or maybe, as the group of practitioners, academics, not-for- profit representatives and government officials circled in the discussion, contracting our verbiage as we just get on with righting an unfair economy. Godfather of all things good/member of the Social Enterprise Council of Canada David LePage brought it home when he explained that community economic development is not a noun.

“It’s the tools we’re using to build healthy communities and a lens that a certain group uses. But it’s not universal, and must not diminish what we’re trying to achieve –  jobs, food, and housing.”

If you’re hungry like we are for this kind of thing (you know, eating very large cookies and learning from local economy leaders), then there are at least 10 signs you’re someone who should attend EconoUs CCEDNet’s 8th annual national conference in Calgary September 13-15. Thrive is co-hosting the event in partnership with REAP, Calgary Economic Development, the Institute for Community Prosperity at Mount Royal University, Momentum and the Calgary Regional Partnership. For updates on speakers, events and more be sure to check it out on Twitter and Facebook.

MBA in CED coming to Calgary

We’re excited to share that Cape Breton University is bringing its MBA in Community Economic Development (CED) to Calgary. The flexibility to complete a post-graduate degree program in two years on a part-time basis, in our community – bring it!

“The MBA in CED attracts entrepreneurs, people working in the public sector and within community organizations. Learners can take all courses in quality face-to-face classes on select weekends, right in Calgary,” shares George Karaphillis Dean of the Shannon School of Business and Director of the MBA in CED for CBU.

Karaphillis further explained this is very much an up-to-date MBA program, reflective of a new paradigm in the workplace with an emphasis on leadership, economic development, and strategy. Tuition fee for the weekend format in AB, SK, and ON is $2,077 per course, and CBU has an agreement with Simon Fraser University’s CED Certificate program to extend three-course exemptions to their graduates (this reduces the program tuition cost to around $28K).

The program has received approval of Alberta’s Minister of Advanced Education and Technology and consists of 13 core courses, two electives, and an Applied Research Project (ARP). Studies start in January 2018 and Calgary will be the 31st cohort.

Take action

  • Join CBU to learn more on Tuesday, June 6 during these info sessions:
    • 9:00-11:00 am Coffee chat, at Baya Rica café, 204 7A St NE
    • 12:00 pm room S4036, Bow Valley College, 345 6th Avenue SE
    • 5:30 pm room S4035, Bow Valley College, 345 6th Avenue SE
  • Can’t make a session? Contact George at mba@cbu.ca

Local Investing YYC

Imagine the potential of keeping your dollars local by investing in businesses you care about that are doing good right here in YYC. A new impact investment cooperative is doing just that. By providing everyday investors, like you and me, the opportunity to use RRSP and TFSA eligible shares, Local Investing YYC provides entrepreneurs with flexible terms to access capital to expand and grow their impact.

Why does local investing matter? More small businesses = more jobs

Every dollar that stays in the local economy creates a multiplier effect that creates jobs, grows our tax base and builds community prosperity for all. Canadian businesses with 10-20 employees are the most profitable across all businesses in Canada. In fact, most new job creation comes from businesses with 20 employees or less. As an entrepreneurial city, Calgary can grow jobs through investment in local business.

What is the current landscape for local investing?

For entrepreneurs, there is no shortage of demand for affordable capital in Alberta. The Calgary Chamber of Commerce notes that “the inaccessibility of early-stage capital investment is a major impediment to the growth and sustainability of Alberta’s small businesses. Often lacking the resources and administrative capacity to raise capital via debt financing, these businesses rely heavily on equity investments made by angel investors and venture capital firms.”

But currently, local investing in Alberta is costly and complicated and is generally limited to “accredited investors” as defined by securities regulations (e.g. individuals who have considerable assets and income). There is demand from locally-owned businesses to access affordable capital, and a supply of Albertans wanting to invest locally and with social impact.

Last year, Albertans invested more than $5 billion into RRSPs. However, investors lack choice in the market: the size and mission of companies listed in traditional mutual funds and other investment opportunities lacks diversity. For example, 77% of companies in the Toronto Stock Exchange are comprised of companies in the energy, mining or banking sector.

If Albertans moved merely 2% of their RRSPs to a local investment fund, the result would be ~$114 million in local investments.


What is Local Investing YYC?

Local Investing YYC is a community based response to the lack of local investment opportunities in Alberta. As a for profit investment cooperative, Local Investing YYC, removes barriers for entrepreneurs to receive funding, while creating local impact through member investments that are RRSP and TFSA eligible.

“Local Investing YYC offers a solution to investing outside of mainstream channels. I can see the direct impact of my investment in the community,” says Erin Poeta, founding member of Local Investing YYC.

The organization is currently reaching out to local entrepreneurs in need of capital to expand their business and grow their impact. Based on using cooperative principles, Local Investing YYC will work alongside entrepreneurs to determine their need for capital and eligibility for investment. After which, the group will be ready to sell investment shares in the cooperative providing a modest dividend to investors. The initial capital raise will be ~$500,000 investing in 1-2 local businesses.

In five years’ time, Poeta envisions Local Investing YYC having a portfolio of locally invested businesses each with their own tailored financing to suit their needs. Capital raises are routine, supported by a solid membership base. Local Investing YYC is part of a growing number of impact investments nationally, while potentially advising other cities how to start their own fund.


Take action

  • Are you an entrepreneur in need of capital? Submit your request for funding to Local Investing YYC here.
  • Are you interested in learning more about local investment in Alberta? Email info@localinvestingyyc.ca
  • Join the Local Investing YYC team! Email info@localinvestingyyc.ca for current opportunities.

#Socent opportunity

Calling all innovators, entrepreneurs, problem-solvers, disruptors or all-round “outside-the-box” thinkers. Knox Presbyterian Church is looking for you.

“We have a HUGE kitchen facility and are looking for a partner, or partners to help us create impact in the community through the space.”

We can confirm, the space is HUGE (it can comfortably fit 12-14 people working together) and the possibilities endless!

Maybe it’s a community or neighborhood hub that co-locates services and supports connection, belonging and inclusion. Or, a business incubator for aspiring entrepreneurs, or a social enterprise that helps to address poverty in the local community.

“Being a cool neighbor means thinking of innovative ways to be in community. Rev. Mark Tremblay and the community at Knox are committed to creating a meaningful sense of belonging and this is an incredible opportunity to build more resilience in the neighborhood,” says our in-house CED Coordinator Philip Lozano. “I’m excited to work alongside Mark and other community leaders to bring this project to life.”

Take action

  • Join Rev Mark, Phil and others in an exploratory discussion on Monday, June 26, 2017, at 7:00 pm. RSVP to philipl@momentum.org


Cooking up community in the kitchen

Knox Presbyterian Church is looking to renovate their 30 year old kitchen and turn it into a hub of activity for the community. The new space will allow:

  • groups of residents to connect over food,
  • people from different backgrounds to share stories and swap recipes,
  • and aspiring entrepreneurs to access kitchen space to see if the catering company they have been dreaming of, can finally take off!

Are you looking to get involved in a local project that creates sustainable impact in Calgary?

If you’re an innovator, entrepreneur, problem-solver, disruptor and just all-round “outside-the-box” thinker, Knox is looking for you!  Knox is looking to turn their current kitchen into the following:

  • Commercial grade kitchen
  • Community hub for connection, belonging and inclusion
  • Business incubator for aspiring entrepreneurs
  • Financially sustainable income generator that addresses poverty in the local community

You will partner alongside Knox Presbyterian Church, an established community leader, and Thrive, Calgary’s main resource for social entrepreneurs, to start a social enterprise that strengthens the community.

An exploratory discussion is being held Monday, June 26, 2017 at 7pm.  Please RSVP to philipl@momentum.org to join the dialogue and be part of the change that makes Calgary even better!


Philip Lozano, CED Coordinator with Thrive has been working with Mark, the Pastor for Knox Presbyterian Church, over the past year and a half to assist their journey to be more engaged in community, create a place of belonging and establish relationships based on reciprocity with their neighbours.

“Mark and Knox Presbyterian Church are incredibly progressive with their thinking,” shared Philip. Mark was drawn to alternative community engagement and organizing tools, such as asset mapping; a tool that Thrive utilizes in addressing poverty reduction using a community economic development approach. In identifying assets both internally in the church and the surrounding communities, the above social enterprise opportunity was identified. “I’m excited to work alongside Mark and other community leaders to bring this project to life.”