2012 - Ivey students learn value of social innovation

Originally published on March 23rd, 2012 by Ivey Public Affairs

Ivey Associate Professor Oana Branzei (centre) with Nolan Andres, founder and CEO of Peaceworks Technology Solutions;  Joyce Sou, Manager of B Corporations and Social Impact Metrics at the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing; and Adam Spence, Founder of the Social Venture Exchange, at the Social Innovation @Ivey forum

Ivey Associate Professor Oana Branzei (centre) with Nolan Andres, founder and CEO of Peaceworks Technology Solutions;  Joyce Sou, Manager of B Corporations and Social Impact Metrics at the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing; and Adam Spence, Founder of the Social Venture Exchange, at the Social Innovation @Ivey forum

Whether it be Mahatma Gandhi, the non-violent leader of Indian nationalism, or Robert Zevin, the investment manager who helped establish socially responsible investing, individuals have been inspiring people toward social entrepreneurship long before the term was coined.

For Nolan Andres, founder and CEO of Peaceworks Technology Solutions, a Waterloo-based technology consulting service that supports non-profit organizations and other community groups, a poor Guatemalan plantation worker who offered his supper to Andres, inspired Andres to marry his ideals with making a living. Peaceworks is a B Corporation, which means it has to meet comprehensive and transparent social and environmental performance standards.

Andres spoke to Ivey students about his experience as a social entrepreneur and what it means to be a B Corporation for the Social Innovation @Ivey forum on March 7. The event was launched by Ivey Associate Professor Oana Branzei  in collaboration with theSocial Enterprise for Sustainable Communities Program in London, Sarnia Community Roundtable, and the Collaborative for Innovative Social Enterprise Development  in Ottawa.

“It doesn’t take a demi-god to make a difference,” said Andres. “What matters is these people (early inspirers of social enterprise, such as Ghandi and Zevin) were touched by the lives of others and forgot they were ordinary. They just acted and they made a difference.”

Joyce Sou, Manager of B Corporations and Social Impact Metrics at the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing, talked about the rise of B corporations and how her organization supports them with licensing and access to investors.

“There is an opportunity to build a new sector of the economy that creates economic opportunity, strengthens communities, restores the environment and alleviates poverty,” said Sou.

The forum also included a panel discussion with experts on community investing; speakers on social investing, social impact and system change; and workshops on social metrics, community funding programs and social enterprise clusters.