Fusion Kitchen wins BC social innovation competition

Nov 28, 2012

Sonam Swarup and Chantelle Buffie, founders of Fusion Kitchen, and winners of community engagement competition, BC Ideas

A Beedie School of Business student social enterprise start-up has been selected as one of three university project winners in new province-wide community engagement competition, BC Ideas.

The start-up, Fusion Kitchen, was chosen in the BC Ideas University Solutions Investment category, for putting forth an idea which creates positive social impact in BC communities. Fusion Kitchen employs immigrant women to lead cooking classes, in the process sharing their food and cultures, while learning transferable skills for the Canadian job market.

The brainchild of SFU Beedie School of Business undergrad Chantelle Buffie and SFU communications student Sonam Swarup, Fusion Kitchen will now benefit from $4667 in funding donated by SFU, UBC, and the University of Victoria.

“Fusion Kitchen’s long-term overall vision is really to decrease the barriers these women face in getting employment and integrating into Canada,” said Buffie. “We do try to teach them skills they don’t necessarily have, but it’s also about connecting them with people outside their communities.”

Fusion Kitchen is just one of a number of social innovation projects at SFU’s Beedie School of Business which has benefited from the school’s recently launched Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator program. The program helps entrepreneurially-minded students develop projects to address society’s social, environmental and economic challenges.

BC Ideas was launched in May this year with input and support from 25 community-based partners, including businesses, not-for-profit organizations, universities and government.

The competition today awarded a total of more than $270,000 to the top social innovations, as part of a province-wide effort to engage communities in finding innovative solutions to address pressing social challenges and build a stronger BC.

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.

“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.”

For more information visit www.changemakers.com/bcideas

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