In 2016, we launched the Cx Academy to create a support system for social entrepreneurs on university and college campuses in the Greater Toronto Area. Students and community members learned about and explored social innovation and social entrepreneurship, connected and collaborated with other social entrepreneurs and plugged into Canada’s thriving startup and innovation ecosystem.
Cx believes that student social entrepreneurs are incredibly important catalysts – people who are committed to having a positive impact in the world. Our goal was to reach out to support students who were already on their journey, as well as those curious about exploring social entrepreneurship.
Cx Academy funded the following offerings through campus “pods”:
- genIMPACT Events – Dynamic and action-oriented events tailored to spark and stimulate the social innovator within every student. Default programs included Social Innovation 101 and Social Entrepreneurship 101 but were customizable to meet the participants’ needs.
- CoPilot Fellowship – A five-day retreat, led by a social innovation expert, and held over two weekends in Toronto. Here students learned how to think like social innovators and apply their learnings to a project. Post-retreat support and other events were also included.
- Financial Literacy Toolkit – It’s a web-based tool with in-person support that walks student entrepreneurs through “all of the stuff you’re afraid of” related to financial literacy and investment readiness.
- Social Impact Measurement Tool – A web-based tool for social entrepreneurs to collect important information from their stakeholders and validate their business model or plan.
- Newsletter – Helped social entrepreneurs, Pods, and other catalysts stay connected throughout the Cx Academy.
The program’s success encouraged us to reach out and expand across Ontario and Canada. Our current focus is through the Northern Lights Collaborative with Indigenous youth in Northern Ontario.