Okanagan Changemakers announced the top social enterprises in the Okanagan Valley as voted by the audience at ChangeUP.
ChangeUP, presented by Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union, is a pitch competition for organizations that are making a social or environmental impact through their services or products. The six organizations pitching ranged from nonprofits to charities and for-profits business.
First prize was awarded to Soil Mate, an app that connects consumers with local farmers and dining options across North America.
Soil Mate founder and CEO Matt Gomez says he was driven to create the app because he’s scared of what he would feed his children. Not only is it difficult to find and buy local products, but the average age of our farmers is 55. Soil Mate aims to change this problem by making it easy for people to find local food and drink options while helping farmers increase their sales, encouraging a younger generation of farmers to enter the market.
“It’s nice to be recognized,” said Gomez, upon winning the $2,000 cash prize and $5,000 in in-kind services from KPMG.
“This allows us to keep going. We are small team and we’re not doing this for the money.”
Drew Geldart, Marketing Business Partner at Valley First, was quick to commend the participants and the event.
“Tonight, ChangeUP shone a bright light on the incredible calibre of the Okanagan’s entrepreneurial social sector”, said Geldart. “Every one of the 400-strong crowd was filled with pride and inspiration as they witnessed our future community leaders demonstrate positive social change in action.”
Clubhouse Childcare won second place for its Clubhouse Farm, which provides education and child care on a farm designed for kids.
Enactus took third place. The student-led venture empowers students to create positive community change through entrepreneurial programs that meet the needs of the Okanagan. In total, the evening saw more than $15,000 in cash and in-kind services awarded.