Tag Archives: CED

Sustainability for Breakfast: Cooperatives and Sustainability

Are you curious about cooperatives? More specifically, how do they grow from the grassroots, contribute to the well-being of their community and become financially viable? There’s more to it than you think!


Join Thrive this Friday, June 24 for an in-depth look into cooperatives and learn how they embed sustainability into their business models. Four local leaders in the cooperative movement will join a panel discussion to look at sustainability using a broader lens, considering environmental, social, and economic sustainability.

The panel, moderated by Sarah Arthurs, founder of NewScoop, will include:

I spoke to Sarah Arthurs about the event and asked why she thinks cooperatives and sustainability are so closely linked.  “The fact they have a dual focus helps them be sustainable. They have a social focus, they came into existence from a social need. They’re not just beholden to a profit agenda,” she explained, “they’re not beholden to stakeholders and shareholders from somewhere else. Their vested interest is built into the community they exist in.”

If you’d like to learn more from Sarah Arthurs and the panel, access great resources, and meet others Calgarians interested in creating sustainable communities, join us on June 24th!

Sustainability for Breakfast is a monthly networking event hosted by REAP, aimed at connecting local change makers and fostering passion for sustainability in Calgary.

Directions and Information

June 24, 2016 from 7:30  – 8:00am

  • Networking and Breakfast 7:30 – 8:00am
  • Panel Discussion 8:00am – 9:00am

Momentum is located at 16, 2936 Radcliffe Drive SE (map).

  • By transit – Take the Blue Line to the Franklin LRT station. Momentum is located 2 blocks from the C-Train line.
  • By bike – Momentums is just off the Bow River Pathway. There are bike racks available in the front of the building.


Take Action

Get your tickets now! Entry is $10/person. Calgary Dollars are accepted.*

Check out other great REAP events and happenings

Learn more about cooperatives in Calgary and Alberta and find fantastic resources at the Alberta Community & Cooperative Association website.

*Limited number of spaces held for individuals paying by Calgary Dollars

, , , , , , ,

Bridgeland Riverside Farmers Market Kicks Off June 23rd







With summer right around the corner, many seasonal Farmer’s Markets in Calgary are gearing up for a great year, and The Bridgeland Riverside Farmer’s Market (BRFM) is certainly no exception. Run by 10 resident volunteers, this local initiative will be making it’s 2016 debut on June 23rd at the Bridgeland-Riverside Hall (917 Centre Ave NE). This year BRFM has introduced extended hours – testament to the success of the 2015 season – and will now be running every Thursday from 3:30 – 7:30 until October 6th.

BRFM Family Fun








The 2015 season was the first year the BRFM had dedicated special events. These included a Launch Market in June, a County Market in August, a Fall Harvest to wrap up their season and a Holiday Event in November that ran for two days. They saw unbelievable success with all these events, especially with the Holiday Market which sold out of vendor spots entirely. This success has allowed them to continue with these fantastic community events, with the Launch Market, Bridgeland Bike Fest, and Fall Harvest all slated for 2016.










Being a community initiative, BRFM is dedicated to gathering feedback from clients in order to meet the needs of the community it serves and continually improve each year. Learning that the special events of 2015 were hugely popular and provided value to both vendors and market-goers, their plan is to not only continue them this season, but expand on them. One such improvement based on feedback is to have more free activities for children, after they were well received in 2015.  They also plan to build upon the inclusion of buskers and bands at every market, so local artists can share their music with the community.










With an underlying commitment to supporting local farmers, producers, and artisans, last year BRFM decided to tackle potential financial barriers that some community members faced, especially  newer business and youths. To address the issue of accessibility, BRFM launched a unique program that was aimed at ensuring the Market is a true community space. The program gives participants access to a table and tent, waiving the fee that vendors would normally pay to have access to a space in the market. Aspiring entrepreneurs and/or youths with small businesses can apply to have one of the “community tables” for one week, giving them valuable exposure and an immediate economic benefit that can help them grow their business. This year the Aspiring Entrepreneur Community Table initiative is being sponsored by Luke’s Drug Mart, Bridgeland Market, and has a partnership with Momentum.

With this continuous dedication to improvement, community-building, and growth, the summer of 2016 is sure to be a fantastic year for The Bridgeland Riverside Farmer’s Market. Join them any Thursday between June 23rd and October 6th from 3:30 – 7:30 for your fill of fresh produce, local music & art, and community connection in our beautiful city.


Take Action

– Mark your calendars for the June 23rd Launch Market (and for the Bridgeland Bike Fest August 11 & Fall Harvest on October 6th!)

– Have a small business? Sign up to be a vendor! Love making music? Sign up to be a busker!

– Check out BRFM on Facebook and learn about all the fantastic vendors lined up for the 2016 season.

– Follow BRFM on Twitter and Instagram for delicious updates.


, , , , ,

Social Innovation with Mountain Munchkin Daycare

**This is a special blog post as part of a series highlighting social entrepreneurship in southern Alberta as part of Simon Fraser University’s CED Certificate program.

Text Version:

Social Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Enterprise

Case Study: Mountain Munchkin Daycare

Prepared by Anita Hofer / Prepared for Brian Martin

Introduction to Mountain Munchkin Daycare

Peter Rawluk is the co-owner of Mountain Munchkin Daycare in Canmore, Alberta. Mountain Munchkin Daycare provides childcare for the children aged 12 months to six years. The philosophy of the day care is that the child is first and foremost! The organization believes that quality child care facilitates the healthy growth and development of the ‘whole’ child. Mountain Munchkin believes that for the child to feel accepted and loved that their program must blend and enhance that child’s family experiences with their experience in the centre, thus family participation is encouraged to enhance the quality of the experience for the child. Therefore they embrace multiculturalism and encourage acceptance that people are all different but the same. Programming includes music sessions, mathematics, Whole Child, Nature/GEO Awareness, reading and community/global consciousness.

As a Doctor of Medicine, Peter has always been interested in health, but this venture is of special interest to him. The first two thousand days of life (roughly the time between birth and kindergarten) are critical to brain development. Young children will develop a broader sense of compassion for those beyond their immediate group if they are involved with meaningful activities and experiences early and often.

The Mountain Munchkins team has made considerable efforts to create these empathy-building and multicultural experiences and activities. Their objective is to impact children so that they will become adults who don’t just “care about others” but “care FOR others” as Peter often says. The team’s efforts could be captured, codified and shared with other early childcare educators for a profit. The team is understandably focused on day-to-day operations and there currently is not a significant investment of time or funding to help them understand how to structure this potential initiative.

Peter is very collaborative, open to learning, and willing to be influenced. He has built strong relationships and Mountain Munchkin has even connected with local organizations but also other daycare providers internationally. Peter has a deep sense of social responsibility and a focused curiosity about the ways children can learn to be better stewards of the earth and each other.

Mountain Munchkin’s Social Enterprise Vehicle

Mountain Munchkin is a private, for-profit venture. Return-on-investment for the co-owners is consistent and predictable. Peter in particular has a focus on “non-financial currency”. The daycare provides a much-need service in Canmore but also influences community through projects that create social good, ignites momentum in the town and builds, explores and tests meaningful empathy-building programming.

Profits are re-invested into mini projects or invested into larger initiatives like the creation of new children’s garden. Many other new projects are funded privately by Peter. Peter was originally the sole owner, but after observing the amount of time and talent shared by the daycare’s director, he gave her a 35% share of the business. Peter does not draw a dividend or salary. Mountain Munchkin has also invested heavily in the personal development of the staff, paying for their academic enrichment by paying tuition fees for addition education as needed.

A dedicated staff person in the organization tracks all things financial. Because Mountain Munchkin Daycare is privately owned and operated, they are not required to produce public reports to the community. Mountain Munchkin embraces the culture of a for-profit venture with a philanthropic spirit and strives to become more self-sustaining.

Analysis of the Social Entrepreneur Ecosystem

A financial resource that was required by Mountain Munchkin to launch was funding from the owner. Because of a unique and emergent situation faced by the previous owner, the daycare was purchased at an opportune time by Peter and his business partner.

Creating or tapping into new revenue streams are an external element that could help Mountain Munchkin Daycare. (See the attached Business Model Canvas for streams already identified.) The dollars from these new revenue streams would help them fund the costly and resource-heavy development of their alternative early childhood education empathy programming that would be codified, packaged, marketed and sold. As well as identifying these new revenue streams, a market of individuals, groups and organizations will need to be found or cultivated to purchase the goods and/or services. Potential ideas for new revenue streams include renting the daycare space when it is empty or offering workshops for parents/caregivers or other childcare providers.

Recommendations for the Organization

The ecosystem in which Mountain Munchkin is embedded is rich in human capital. The organization has thrived in these due to a nurturing culture both in Canmore and within the team. Their ecosystem has meaningful engagement from the staff team, customers (parents), partner organizations that range from local to international, and also greater-Canmore residents. They have consistent, predictable revenues, reliable infrastructure, and policy frameworks that are not overly restraining.

What will be required for their venture to grow financially, and increase in impact is for their empathy programming to be codified, financed and marketed. For this to occur, it is recommended that Mountain Munchkin consider:

  • increasing their own internal capacity in program design or bring in a consultant to help them codify their empathy-building programming
  • investing in consulting expertise from a “serial entrepreneur” to assist with project planning and encouraging testing-and-redevelopment – since their leadership team has limited entrepreneurial experience
  • examine their network for potential partners that can help them extend their marketing and promotion when they are ready to launch. Some partners in community may have reasons to assist them, but these organizations are considerably larger and more bureaucratic so beginning this process early would be wise.

Outside of Mountain Munchkin’s influence are social assumptions that child care organizations should commit to the status quo and should not be innovative, particularly that they shouldn’t be testing child care programming unless in an academic setting, and that they should not make more than a modest profit. To help them overcome these external barriers, it is recommended they search for another entrepreneurial childcare organization that is further along the entrepreneurial path (understanding these organizations could be a challenge to source) and make personal connections for the purposes of sharing experiences and particularly to understand approaches to working through the cultural resistance that they could encounter in their ecosystem.

PDF Version:





Page 4








, , , , ,

2015 Community Economy Leader Award – Muttley Crüe

Muttley Crüe Organics Grooming and Daycare

Each year Thrive takes part in REAP’s Be Local Awards by sponsoring the Community Economy Leader Award. This year we received a number of fantastic submissions, but were truly impressed by Muttley Crüe and their initiatives. Open to all REAP Members, the Community Economy Leader Award recognizes members that are adopting practices to build a resilient community and local economy. They are rooted in Calgary and it shows in how they invest in people and places, are committed to purchasing fellow local businesses, and provide valuable social benefit. Muttley Crüe truly exemplifies all of this and more.

Muttley Crüe

Muttley Crüe Organics Grooming and Daycare

In her video submission for the Community Economy Leader Award, owner Annie Cole said “we try to be as part of our community as possible. One of the biggest things starting Muttley Crüe six years ago was that I didn’t want to be just another building on the block. We want to be part of our community. Our community and this city is what keeps this business and other small business thriving.”

After six years of hard work, Cole and her Crüe have achieved what they set out to do. With a focus on creating partnerships with other local organizations in Calgary, Cole emphasizes that Muttley Crüe relies on “as many local businesses as we possibly can when it comes to products that we use, even what we sell in our retail.” The shampoos and diffusers come from All Things Jill, the cleaners are supplied by Small Planet, and the personalized Muttley Crüe biscuits are made by Bark YYC. Their retail area itself consists of over 60% locally made products.

It isn’t just about their partners in business, though. Muttley Crüe also ensures they are giving back to their community. Partnered with AARCS, the Spay Neuter Task Force, Stardale Women’s Group, and the Veteran’s Food Bank, Cole explained “we have a donation in lieu of a fee for our trial day of boarding.” By allowing new clients to make a minimum $5 donation instead of paying the normal $35 fee, Muttley Crüe is able to support valuable resources and organizations in Calgary and Southern Alberta. Cole is quick to point out that no one has ever left just $5, which led to $2,000 being raised for their chosen charities in just three months.

Muttley Crüe isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. In 2016, they plan to begin an apprenticeship program for First Nations women. Muttley Crüe pays for the cost of the six month grooming course, while paying a living wage to the apprentice so that they’re actually making a living to support themselves and their families while learning a trade.

We’d like to offer a big congratulations to Muttley Crüe and Annie Cole for being Thrive’s Community Economy Leader in 2015. They may be a small business, but they have a mighty impact in their community and city. Through their partnerships, local supply chain, outreach to non-profits, and focus on the environment, Muttley Crüe is paving the way to a sustainable future in Calgary.

Take Action:


, , , , , ,

We’re Hiring!

After almost two years with the network, our CED Coordinator Courtney Hare is moving on to new opportunities. That means – we’re hiring!

Are you interested in systems change and public policy? Are you a skilled facilitator who engages people and invites them to act in making positive change? Do you have a love for community economic development? If so, view the Community Economic Development Coordinator – Job Posting and consider applying!

What is Community Economic Development?

Written By Allison Smith, Thrive

Lately there has been a lot of buzz about Community Economic Development (CED) across Canada. Urban and rural communities across the nation are including CED as a poverty reduction strategy at the Municipal and Provincial level. Some call it Local Economic Development or Neighbourhood Economic Development. Others are engaging in CED and don’t even know it. So what is CED? This post will briefly define CED and its’ outcomes. Continue reading “What is Community Economic Development?” »

A lens for the Alberta Social Policy Framework

Community Economic Development (CED) utilizes the economy and marketplace in innovative ways to improve social conditions. It assists businesses to grow and residents to improve their income. CED appeals to Alberta’s entrepreneurial spirit and builds the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of communities.

CED strategies for social development have been adopted by communities, municipalities, as well as provincial and federal governments across Canada. Thrive recommends that a provincial Social Policy Framework adopt a CED lens. Read Thrive’s full submission to the Alberta Social Policy Framework on the website or here: A CED lens for the Alberta Social Policy Framework.



, , ,

Strong Neighbourhoods & CED

What kind of thinking and action is required to develop stronger neighbourhoods?

We need thinking that is comprehensive, inclusive and guided by possibility. We need action that leverages a neighbourhood’s strengths, is based on residents wishes and that engages all stakeholders.

Join Brendan Reimer, Prairies and Northern Territories Coordinator at the Canadian Community Economic Development Network, as he shares learning and promising practices from the Neighbourhoods Alive! initiative in Manitoba. Learning will focus on:

  • The creation of Neighbourhood Renewal Corporations, which invite all stakeholders to participate in community revitalization planning through a community economic development approach
  • The design and implementation of government policies that guide Neighbourhoods Alive!
  • Local opportunities to transfer this approach to neighbourhood renewal initiatives in Calgary and Alberta

Where: Venu1008 (formerly Le Joie de Vivre) – 1008 14 Street SE

When: September 22, 11:30 am – 1:30 pm

This event is free but registration is required. Register here.

, , ,

Designed with Impact in Mind: Business Practices that Create Economic Opportunity

By Brenna Atnikov

John Young on Aboriginal Affairs from Chris Hsiung on Vimeo. John is an Aboriginal & Stakehold Engagement Consultant.

Community Economic Development requires a ‘team’ approach. For CED to truly gain traction in Calgary, everyone and every sector needs to be playing together. Each sector has a role to play in poverty reduction in our city, because each has unique assets that can be leveraged that contribute to creating a city where people have what they need to live, and to live well.

At Thrive‘s most recent event, we got explore what role business can play.

Continue reading “Designed with Impact in Mind: Business Practices that Create Economic Opportunity” »

Green Pathways to Economic Recovery

By Brenna Atnikov

On September 23, 2009 CBC’s The Current: Work in Progress series highlighted a great example of a town in Ontario taking control of its economic – and therefore social and environmental – future.

The concept of community economic development is never mentioned. Listen carefully though, and you will hear that the values, principles, and boundary spanning approaches inherent in CED comes through loud and clear!

Citizen-led action in Welland, Ontario resulted in innovative approaches to achieve economic growth during the heart of the 2008/2009 global recession. Entrepreneurs saw potential in the re-adaptive use of old factories and warehouses that had been abandoned years before.

Right-click here to download the mp3, and discover two great examples of businesses that offer green collar jobs and hope for the future.

What are your NEXT STEPS?

  • Look for local suppliers that produce goods for local consumption
  • Choose manufacturers who are not only environmentally neutral, but actually contribute to improving environmentally quality through their work
  • Contact Thrive to get involved with Green Collar Jobs workforce development initiatives in Calgary
, , ,
Neighbourhood Revitilization

RiverWalk in East Village

Calgary’s East Village is being transformed. What was once a neglected inner-city neighbourhood is becoming a hub for creativity, recreation and community. RiverWalk officially opened on the August long weekend, is central to the revitalized look of the East Village and means a better quality of life for all Calgarians.

 Learn More
Meaningful Employment

Green Collar Job Initiative

A meaningful job that pays a living wage, helps the environment and strengthens the economy? That’s a green collar job. Thrive and its partners launched the Green Collar Jobs initiative with the release of the report Green Collar Jobs: New Workforce Development Opportunities for Alberta. The report provides a strong foundation from which to stimulate a green economy in our city.

 Learn More
Innovative Social Finance

Community Capital Networks

Passionate about supporting a sustainable local economy, REAP and its partners host a monthly webinar series called Community Capital Networks. If you are interested in unleashing the flow of capital to support a greener local economy, join the conversation to learn about promising practices across North America and to discuss how to bring them to Calgary.

 Learn More
Local Business Development

Enterprising Non-Profits Alberta

With the launch of Enterprising Non-Profits Alberta, Calgarians can expect to shop from more and more socially conscious businesses. ENP-AB is providing grants and technical assistance to non-profit organizations engaged in social enterprise, the kind that brings both financial and social returns.

 Learn More