Launching the Social Entrepreneur in Residence program
Edmontonians Kori Chilibeck and Matt Moreau founded Earth Group 13 years ago, with the goal of creating a sustainable business that also tackled troubling social issues.
Now, the pair is taking on a new opportunity, as MacEwan’s Social Innovation Institute, in partnership with Roundhouse, named Kori and Matt the first Social Entrepreneurs in Residence in late June.
“This is a new program designed to identify, celebrate and showcase some amazing role models – social entrepreneurs who have had tremendous success,” says Leo Wong, the founding director of the Social Innovation Institute.
Over the one-year residency, Kori and Matt will share advice, encouragement and stories of lessons learned the hard way. “We’ve made a ton of mistakes, so we can at least tell them everything we did wrong, and to avoid those things,” laughs Kori.
The pair has also done a lot of things right. Earth Group sells bottled water and packaged coffee and tea in 700 locations worldwide, donating 100 per cent of their profits to the United Nations World Food Programme. Earth Group has now funded over three million school meals for children in developing countries.
“We just wanted to start a company that could change the world, and that’s what the Social Innovation Institute is all about – allowing people to come in here with any crazy idea they have and helping them develop it into something great. Maybe it will be the next big thing,” says Kori.
During their residency, Kori and Matt will speak at events across campus, and share their experience with the broader Edmonton community. They will hold regular office hours, spending time with Roundhouse members and discussing careers in social entrepreneurship with students and the general public.
They will also focus on a collaborative project with the institute and Roundhouse, which will demonstrate how collaboration can produce a socially innovative solution to a pressing social issue.
“We’re really excited to be a part of this – Roundhouse is an amazing ecosystem,” says Kori. “Stop by and check it out. It’s a really neat spot.”
Roundhouse is an innovative new co-working space at MacEwan University focused on social change. Located in Allard Hall, Roundhouse features offices, meeting rooms, a marketplace for local vendors and several eco-friendly features (including worms to compost your post-lunch garbage). But Roundhouse is more than a unique place to set up shop – it’s designed to be a creative environment for like-minded individuals who want to make our city, and the world, a better place. Check out the space.
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