Beedie partners with Emily Carr to tackle sustainability through entrepreneurship

Sep 08, 2014
Beedie School of Business Dean Daniel Shapiro was the platFORM students' first customer at their pop-up shop.

Beedie School of Business Dean Daniel Shapiro was the platFORM students’ first customer at their pop-up shop.

This summer, undergraduates at SFU’s Beedie School of Business and Emily Carr University showcased and sold sustainable products of their own design in the culmination of the interdisciplinary entrepreneurship platFORM program.

The platFORM program is a partnership between Emily Carr’s Faculty of Design and Dynamic Media, the Social + Interactive Media (SIM) Centre at Emily Carr, and the Beedie School of Business. Participating students were tasked with utilizing their respective skill sets in interdisciplinary teams to create sustainable products with sustainable business models to address real world issues.

The collaborative nature of the platFORM program sees business students – who possess entrepreneurial skills but do not necessarily know how to make quality products – paired with design students, who can create beautiful products, but may not have the skills to create business opportunities or run design firms.

After creating their products, the 17 participating students displayed and sold their products for one week at the Chinatown Experiment, a store front for pop-up shops in Vancouver’s downtown east side.

Supervised by program organizers Lisa Papania and Sarah Lubik, of the Beedie School of Business, and Emily Carr’s Maia Rowen and Andreas Eiken, the five student teams conducted market research, developed products and business plans, and launched their ventures within six weeks.

The final products included an app to combat social isolation; a convenient travel drying system allowing backpackers to save both money and energy; a ‘first aid kit’ for clothes to help minimize textile waste; a solution to divert cotton swabs from landfills; and a band for sealing food containers to encourage people to bring food from home and reduce take out food container waste.

The launch event held on August 15 saw the store packed with members of the public, students, and leaders from both schools, including Emily Carr President Ron Burnett and Beedie School of Business dean Daniel Shapiro, who was the first customer to purchase one of the student products.

“There is a need to engage students in developing innovative solutions in consideration of local and broader social and environmental issues,” says Papania, who developed platFORM along with Rowan and Eiken after two years of collaboration on innovation and design projects related to Vancouver’s greenest city goals. “This is especially needed to help reduce and divert waste in order to help uplift local communities.”

For more information on the platFORM program, click here.

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