There is a trajectory of change occurring in post-secondary institutions regarding social innovation and entrepreneurship. At Bow Valley College (BVC), we recognize that learners don’t just want a job, they want to make a difference while making a living. How can we help them achieve these aspirations? We are changing the environment in which students learn by exposing them to social innovation and entrepreneurial initiatives that are supported by BVC and the local community. Encouraging learners to develop new social enterprises is a two-step process that involves engaging and enabling the learners.  This entire month of September 2016 has been dedicated as Social Innovation month (partnered with BeakerheadBusiness Link, and Reap) to foster the first step in engaging our learners. Social Innovation month runs every Wednesday in September 2016 in our Marketplace where local businesses showcase innovative ideas that have been brought to market in the areas of renewable energy, manufacturing, art, fashion, design, technology and health & wellness.

Ignite Your Imagination

Inspiration awakens us and transports us from limitations to possibility and motivation. Creativity starts with inspiration and helping our learners open their minds to new possibilities is the first step to social innovation. Our Social Innovation month is just one yearly event that promotes this engagement. Our Social Innovation leadership and guest speakers like W. Brett Wilson are some of our Social Innovation’s passionate supporters throughout the year. Learners are also encouraged and supported to attend and participate in events with the local community and partners such as Beakerhead Creative SocietyVivaCity Community Challenge, REAP eventsTech Rev, and several others. We are confident our learners will leave with a vision of building a life of greater purpose.

From Business Idea to Business Success

Committed to leading our learners to take the next step towards a social enterprise, our annual VentureQuest Business Idea Competition gives learners the opportunity to develop a business plan, build pitching skills, and compete for prizes to launch their new business. Launched in 2014, participants to date have received more than $90,000 (cash and in-kind services) with successful business ventures currently operating in Calgary. BVC also provides an opportunity for guidance through various networks for problem solving, information sharing, skill building, and network building. And, with a full-time, on-campus Entrepreneur-in-Residence, learners have access to a significant resource.

BVC, along with our funders Repsol and RBC, will continue to bring forward initiatives and services to engage and enable our learners in transforming their innovative ideas into viable businesses. Wanting to see a more effective, efficient and sustainable world around them, students are the new generators of social innovation. 

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