Building a better world and starting a company are not mutually exclusive. In fact, it’s businesses that tend to have the most innovative ideas for a better world. And that’s exactly what Google set out to discover with their Impact Challenge. The Challenge started with hundreds of applications from nonprofit innovators across Canada until the projects were narrowed down to 10 exceptional organizations. Growing North, a project that got its start at Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management, was one of the winning finalists.
About Growing North
Growing North began three years ago as a student group project through Enactus Ryerson—a co-curricular opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience in the area of social enterprise. It came about when Stefany Nieto (’16 Marketing) and Ben Canning (Entrepreneurship) started researching the issues that faced Canadians. They discovered that almost 70 percent of the people living in Nunavut didn’t have access to enough fresh and nutritious food.
Growing North aims to eliminate food insecurity in communities across Canada by improving accessibility in six ways:
- Greenhouse: The organization will construct a geodesic greenhouse in the community of Naujaat, Nunavut in order to offer low-cost, locally grown produce to the community.
- Sustainability: The organization focuses on long-term sustainability by developing green jobs, collaborating with the community, and ensuring their efforts are social, environmental, and economic.
- Education: By partnering with the local high school, Growing North will educate the community on horticulture, environment, and nutrition.
- Community Development: Growing North will continuously adapt to the social and economic needs of the community.
- Food Security: The organization uses the five A’s of food security in everything they do: Availability, Accessibility, Adequacy, Acceptability, and Agency.
- Strategic Partnerships: Growing North will continue to collaborate with a variety of different stakeholders to ensure operational and long-term success.
Google.org Impact Challenge
The Impact Challenge, funded by Google.org, awarded a total of $5 million to ten organizations. Five winning teams received a $750,000 grants, and five additional finalists received $250,000 each. The goal of the Challenge was to support Canadian nonprofit innovators using technology to tackle the world’s biggest social problems.
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