Cooking up community in the kitchen

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 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.”

Thrive Accelerator program kicks off

Thrive Accelerator Program has started

The new Thrive Accelerator program officially kicked off March 14th with 10 great businesses wanting to grow their triple bottom line. This program supports small businesses with big hearts to create social change using the power of their business. In 4 months of weekly classes, participants delve deep into financials, marketing, strategic planning, defining and measuring social impact. Participants are matched with a business coach for 6 months, which allows for intense growth. At the end of 6 months, participants walk away with a strong plan on where they are going with their business, details on how they will get there, and tools to take those steps.

These 10 businesses make up the inaugural cohort of Thrive Accelerator:

Alberta Apparel:

Forage and Farm:

Go Green Mattress:

Highland Beef:

Lavish Bakery:


Sustainable Tourism Management Consultant


Tiga Design:

The Thrive Accelerator cohort is collaborating with the RBC Social Accelerator offered by Innovate Calgary through a monthly networking engagement. This is a group specifically for existing businesses who are looking to be more mission and purpose driven in their business. Participants from both programs expand their network and deepen relationships with others passionate about making real change.

The next Thrive Accelerator program will start in October 2017 supporting entrepreneurs to grow their impact and develop their business skills. 

Take action

  • Buy local and support businesses in the current Thrive Accelerator that are doing good in our community.
  • Join other entrepreneurs to network and engage. Contact for dates and location.
  • Email for more information about Thrive Accelerator.

Local action for food security

How would you like to be part of a start-up, social-enterprise to develop and implement a grocery co-operative for seniors situated in the East Village at 5th St SE and 8th Ave? We have at present an opportunity to secure a space in the Golden Age Club. Because, we have a serious interest from the seniors themselves to assist through volunteering at their own store and other expressed interest from locals in our community, we can anticipate even further cost savings passed on directly to seniors. We are centrally located within one block of 800 seniors and anticipate incorporating a shuttle service to another 400. Seniors have specific nutritional needs and together we can address this injustice.

My name is Robert, I am a senior and I live in a Calgary Housing unit in East Village. I am entrepreneurial by nature and seriously empathetic at heart with a significant amount of experience dating back to 1985 in envisioning, developing and implementing programs such as this one to give our seniors a hand up. They deserve better!

This project is meant to be self-sustaining and our intent is to have an open door policy.

If your heart is longing be a part of this or you have questions I would love to hear from you. Please contact for more information.


Philip Lozano, CED Coordinator with Thrive connected with Robert through Nancy Dyck, the City of Calgary Community Social Worker for East Village. “What impressed me most about Robert was his emphasis on having this grocery store be sustainable, his desire for it to be financially self-sustaining and that it truly be grounded in the interests of his neighbours who are struggling to obtain affordable, good quality food,” says Philip. “The East Village is a food desert, many residents take the train and travel as far as the Sunnyside Safeway or the Wal-Mart at Marlboro to purchase their groceries. Those with mobility issues are even more limited in the winter time.”

“It’s obvious Robert is passionate about his community and his fellow seniors. Although Robert has lots of entrepreneurial experience, he is interested in connecting with other like-minded folks who want to help him make this idea a reality. This is where the Thrive community and people like you come in! Hit me up with an email, let’s grab a coffee with Robert and talk about possibilities!”

EconoUs Call for Proposals Now Open

EconoUs is an annual conference powered by the Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDNET). Thrive has partnered with CCEDNet to bring EconoUs to Calgary this September 13, 14, 15.


As we face economic disparity, growing inequality, and environmental crises, Canadians are looking for alternatives. More and more community leaders across the country are using innovative business models, new investment tools and technology to build a strong and resilient economy that prioritizes people and planet. EconoUs2017 will share the ways in which we are shifting from an economy focused on “ME” to an economy that is by and for “US”. All of Us.


Submissions are now open for workshop proposals. As one of the hosting partners, Thrive is reaching out to our community. If you are working on an innovative solution that creates shared prosperity for all, and have an idea of how to share that story in an interactive way that creates space for reflection and dialogue, then we want to hear from you.

Workshops should fall under at least one of the three conference themes:

  • Thriving communities – enhancing the wellbeing of a community by working alongside the people who live in it through inclusive initiatives like gender and race equality, social housing, and poverty reduction.
  • Good jobs – creating sustainable livelihoods by paying a fair wage, and providing a safe, healthy work environment with room to grow a career. Good jobs explore innovative ways to address the shifting nature of work and employment to ensure a pathway to a secure, adequate income for everyone who wants to work.
  • Doing business differently – finding new ways to work that improve the social, economic, and environmental well-being of the community. The triple bottom line.


Preference will be given to joint proposals submitted by more than one organization, cooperative or social enterprise. We invite you to get creative with tours, panel presentations, group discussions or even performance art. The sky’s the limit!


The deadline for proposals is February 28, 2017.


EconoUs2017 is presented in partnership with REAP, Calgary Economic Development, The Calgary Regional Partnership, Mount Royal University’s Institute for Community Prosperity and Momentum. The conference provides an incredible opportunity for our community to share what’s working and explore solutions that create good jobs and build strong and resilient local economies. We look forward to receiving your submission!



  1. Check out the EconoUs2017 website for more information.
  2. Click here to submit your workshop proposal before February 28, 2017.
  3. Want to be a sponsor or exhibitor? Click here.

Grow Your Business with Thrive Accelerator

Grow Your Business with Thrive Accelerator

What does growing your business and creating social impact have in common? The new Thrive Accelerator!!!

There are very few businesses in Calgary who are satisfied with their profitability. Not too many businesses are ok with where they are at right now. Part of it is the nature of being an entrepreneur, in that we also strive for more and to be better. Thrive Accelerator can help.

Social entrepreneurship or social businesses are quite popular right now, and Calgary is seeing a rise in the amount of businesses identifying themselves as a social business. That means, businesses that are looking to create social impact with their business. Thrive Accelerator can help.

The new Thrive Accelerator is here to help your business starting March 14th in Calgary. In this FREE 6 month program, you will attend classes once a week (Tuesdays from 6-8:30pm), as well as receive one-on-one weekly business coaching. We cover topics on strategic planning, financial management, marketing and sales, as well as defining your social impact and measuring success.

One of the highlights from the last Accelerator was the support participants got from each other. Each week there was time devoted for one participating business to share their successes and struggles, giving space for participants to provide each other feedback and suggestions on how they could grow their business.

So not only are you receiving classroom education from experts in the field, access to a business coach, but a peer network that will last beyond the program duration.

We accept business that have been in operation for at least one year and are operating in Calgary. You do not need to identify yourself as a social business, but be willing to incorporate a social impact goal into your business. Our Accelerator is perfect for the business that is making around $100-200,000 per year and wants to grow. You will be expected to do some work that is directly related to growing your business. Your business doesn’t grow by just learning, you have to do it.

To apply, contact Chas by email or call her at 403-204-2670. Did you hear, IT’S FREE!

Join this exciting new program. Together we are building a thriving, resilient and inclusive  local economy for all.

BluPlanet Recycling

If you are a resident in Calgary, you’ve likely heard about the fairly comprehensive overhaul that the City of Calgary has been doing with Waste and Recycling management. Since February 2016, multi-family buildings are required to provide residents with recycling services, and starting November 1, 2017, food and yard waste services will also become mandatory for the same types of residential buildings.

Landlords and building owners will have the option to decide between service providers, so long as they meet the requirements set forth by the City. With only seven months until the new bylaw comes into effect, it’s a great time to begin considering which company can provide the best service. BluPlanet Recycling, a candidate for the Local Economy Leader Award in REAP’s 2016 Be Local awards, can handle both your waste diversion needs while also being a champion for the environment and the Calgary community.

If you’re looking for a provider that knows the City requirements inside and out, BluPlanet has been instrumental in creating these new bylaws, participating in the process for the last seven years. Their consistent participation has helped create the comprehensive waste management legislation that the City of Calgary is now introducing.

In 2016, they set out to change their business model from being a single service recycling company to offering other waste solutions, including organics. They have specifically designed their services to meet the needs of multi-family residences, by adding garbage collection in order to provide comprehensive waste management. They aim to not just meet City requirements but go above and beyond, achieving the highest waste diversion rates possible. In 2016, they had a goal to divert 2,500 tonnes of materials from Calgary landfills and began offering recycling services for large-volume cardboard, electronics, and fluorescent bulbs, among many other materials.

During a REAP event that they learned about Certified B Corporations. Intrigued by the concept, they did their research and started the process, becoming the fourth business in Canada to become a register Benefit Corporation. This means that while they are a for-profit business, they have a third party measuring their impact and their commitment to the environment and community, holding themselves to highest standards for social and environmental sustainability. Through this, they maintain a triple bottom line policy, considering how they work towards bettering their community and the environment, alongside their financial wellbeing.

BluPlanet demonstrates their commitment to the environment in a number of ways: they are a VCC living wage leader that pays all employees a salary with health benefits and insurance, they are an ABCRC Community Champion, they sit on the Recycling Council of Alberta, and they offer pricing incentives for their fellow REAP members and not-for-profits.

The deadline for compliance with the new bylaws is fast approaching! Contact BluPlanet today – early adopters can beat the Fall 2017 rush and may also qualify for discounts.

Take Action

Follow BluPlanet on Twitter, Facebook, or hit them up on their website.

If you are a landlord or owner of a multi-family property, contact BluPlanet to learn more about discounts for early sign up.

If you are a Calgary resident in a multi-family property, get in touch with your landlord and let them know how they can benefit from early signup with BluPlanet Recycling.

Learn more about Calgary’s Waste Diversion Resources.