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B.C. Communities share top social innovations through online competition

Vancouver, B.C. (November 28, 2012): Province-wide competition, BC Ideas, successfully engaged communities, not-for-profit organizations and people across British Columbia to find innovative solutions to address pressing social challenges. Today, the competition awarded a total of more than $270,000 to the top social innovations, as part of a province-wide effort to engage communities in building a stronger B.C.

“BC Ideas offers an effective way for government to engage individuals, businesses, not-for-profit organizations and others to collaborate in making B.C. communities stronger,” said Gordon Hogg, Parliamentary Secretary for Non-Profit Partnerships to the Minister of Social Development. “With the success of this competition, British Columbia is leading the way in identifying, showcasing and supporting social innovations.”

BC Ideas was launched in May with input and support from 25 community-based partners, including businesses, not-for-profit organizations, universities and government. The Province of British Columbia provided the initial investment to develop the competition. LIFT Philanthropy Partners led the coordination and development of the project, which is hosted on the Ashoka Changemakers online platform.

“BC Ideas brought together organizations and communities from across the province that are committed to fostering social innovation as an effective solution to address B.C.’s most pressing social challenges,” explained Bruce Dewar, chief executive officer, LIFT Philanthropy Partners. “These partners were integral to the success of the competition and will continue to contribute to an enduring culture of social innovation in B.C.”

In total, BC Ideas attracted 466 entries from 82 communities. The winning entries include three innovations selected by British Columbians via online voting, which will each receive $15,000. The three people’s choice investments are:

Along with the people’s choice awards, 14 partners provided additional investments for innovations that addressed a variety of issues, including homelessness, literacy, skills development, health, and community inclusion for people with disabilities. These investments will help the entrants further develop or implement their efforts to build healthier, stronger B.C. communities.

“The community response exceeded all our expectations. We were inspired by hundreds of new ideas, as well as both early-stage and established innovations, from dozens of sectors, which demonstrates the incredible wealth of social innovation in B.C.,” said Delyse Sylvester, senior advisor, Ashoka. “We are excited to see how this growing community will leverage each other’s insights and inspire more B.C. residents to care and to act as changemakers.”

In addition to the competition, the BC Ideas online platform encourages collaboration and information-sharing between entrants, investors, experts and others. Innovators can showcase the progress of their projects, and list the skills, resources and support they need for success. The website also offers articles featuring leading social innovators and entrepreneurs from across Canada. While the competition has ended, the online platform will continue as a tool for innovators and investors to connect and collaborate.

BC Ideas was one of 11 recommendations from the B.C. Social Innovation Council as an effective way to engage British Columbians to find innovation solutions to address social challenges facing their communities.

For more information:
Join: BC Ideas on Facebook
Follow: #BCideas on Twitter

Media Contact:
Nicole Mezzarobba Ford
Manager, Communications and Corporate Response
LIFT Philanthropy Partners

For more information on the funding recipients, please view the backgrounder.