Growing Thrive’s Impact: reflections from 2017

As we turn the page on 2017, Thrive reflects on relationships that were fostered, projects that were advanced and new seeds that were nurtured over the past year. When asked what our team members were most proud of in 2017, the response was unanimous, ‘seeing Thrive’s new approach come to life.’ Having spent much of 2016 re-envisioning how Thrive is contributing to poverty reduction in Calgary, 2017 marked the first full year Thrive partnered with community residents, business owners and local economy leaders to advance our vision of a thriving, inclusive and resilient economy for all. Highlights include:


  • emergeHUB on International Avenue opened it’s doors in August offering co-working space that serves as a connection point, resource provider and connector to aspiring and existing entrepreneurs in the area. emergeMARKET, an outdoor vendor market complimented emergeINCUBATOR, a shipping container re-purposed to provide businesses with a physical location to trial run a store front retail space along the avenue. Read more here. More recently, the launch of Fuse33, a maker’s space on International Avenue adds to the growing place-based activity that’s supporting community inclusion amongst business owners on the strip.
  • Northern Hills Connect is a community-driven initiative dedicated to creating and fostering sustainable social enterprises that strengthen social cohesion in the communities of Country Hills, Country Hills Village, Coventry Hills, Harvest Hills and Panorama Hills. In early September, Northern Hills Connect held a social enterprise pitch competition that had 8 residents pitch ideas to their neighbours, with $2500 in prize winnings. Vivo, a community hub and recreation centre in the area, is pursuing funding to hire a coordinator to support social entrepreneurship activity in their community. Discover more about Northern Hills Connect here.
  • Local Investing YYC is an investment cooperative that provides patient capital to entrepreneurs generating social, environmental and financial returns. Members of the cooperative purchase RRSP and TFSA eligible shares, receive an annual dividend and benefit from a 30% tax credit. Regulations that will enable the tax credit are anticipated to be announced by the Government of Alberta in early 2018. Read more here.


  • Thrive Accelerator was introduced early spring offering business training to existing, locally-owned businesses, seeking to grow their social impact in community while strengthening their financial sustainability. Two cohorts, made up of 23 businesses, were accepted into the program this year. Discover who participated in the spring cohort and fall cohort of Thrive Accelerator. We are deeply inspired by the commitment of these local businesses to tackle complex social issues through a business lens.


  • EconoUs2017, the national community economic development conference, brought together 395 community leaders from across the country to Calgary, September 13 – 15. This 3 day gathering celebrated the heart and soul of local economies through local tours, workshops, dynamic keynotes, local food and beverage, local arts and zero waste. An estimated 4300 new connections were made, with a potential economic impact of more than $1 million. Over 92% of community leaders left with renewed enthusiasm for their own community change efforts. Read more here.

This coming year, Thrive will continue partnering with extraordinary change makers in Calgary to advance place-based initiatives that build thriving communities, support businesses that are creating change locally and foster solutions to a more inclusive and diversified economy. 2018 is about growing our impact. This includes building out resources and tools on our website, launching a new program this spring for early ideation businesses to explore their feasibility while growing their social value and partnering with our friends at Social Enterprise Fund to co-host Hollyhock’s Social Venture Institute this fall.