When peace and innovation meet: Start-ups that are working for peace in Waterloo Region

Friday, November 3, 2017

Poster for Peace Incubator ShowcaseDemine Robotics is building a robot to defuse landmines in Cambodia. EPOCH has developed an app that connects refugees with community members to support their integration process. Marlena Books makes meaningful reading material accessible to a marginalized group in society – those living with Alzheimer’s, dementia and other cognitive disorders. Meet the founders of these social ventures and learn more about their journeys. The Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement (CPA) is hosting a Peace Incubator Showcase on November 7 at 7:30 pm at Kindred Credit Union’s Uptown Waterloo branch. Six ventures from the CPA’s Epp Peace Incubator will be presenting and connecting with guests.

Come learn, be inspired, and find a way to get involved in the Innovative approaches to peacebuilding that are happening at the CPA.

THE RIPPLE EFFECT EDUCATION (TREE) builds peace in Waterloo Region by equipping students to understand themselves as global citizens while sharing strategies to approach conflict in healthy ways. TREE has joined classrooms throughout Waterloo Region and plays a transformational role in how students resolve conflict. TREE is doing the critical work of equipping young people with understandings and skills to work through conflict in a constructive way. Founder and director Katie Gingerich joined the Epp Peace Incubator in 2015.

MARLENA BOOKS supports the dignity of individuals with cognitive disorders by providing meaningful leisure in the form of books.  Marlena Books has been featured in the Globe and Mail, CTV Kitchener, and CBC KW. The books offer marginalized people the numerous social and mental benefits that reading has to offer. Rachel Thompson was inspired to create Marlena Books through interactions with her grandmother.

DEMINE ROBOTICS is using robotic technology to rid the world of landmines. Born and raised in Cambodia, the threat of landmines was ever-present in Richard Yim’s childhood. This daily reality inspired Richard to seek a solution to the global landmine problem during his studies at the University of Waterloo.  This summer, Richard returned to Cambodia to create partnerships with landmine clearing organizations. Richard joined the Epp Peace Incubator program in May 2016.

GROWING HOPE FARM is a not-for-profit organic farm growing food and nurturing at-risk youth by providing job training and volunteer opportunities. A recent grant has given them resources to increase their capacity for peace advancement by expanding their farm, which will provide more opportunities to welcome and engage youth in the Region of Waterloo. Growing Hope Farm was recently featured on CTV KW and they currently host six groups of volunteers each week.  Sarah Martin-Mills is the founder of this peace-producing farm.

WORLDVUZE explores diverse perspectives from students around the world by providing an online space for students to safely share and dialogue about questions posted by experts, nonprofit organizations, and classes. WorldVuze helps students to be global citizens engaged through technology and to open their minds to new viewpoints. WorldVuze facilitates discussions with thousands of elementary, middle, and secondary students in 466 classrooms as close as the Waterloo Region and as far as Sierra Leone. Julia Coburn is the executive director of WorldVuze.

EPOCH is a skills and services marketplace that connects refugees and community members through a mobile platform, and partners them with agencies working to help support and integrate newcomers in the Waterloo Region. Jade Choy and Keith Choy created EPOCH to address a critical need within refugee resettlement work. EPOCH overcame daunting odds to compete in the 2017 Hult Prize Global Finals held at the United Nations in New York City. The Hult journey started with a University of Waterloo student competition last fall, and included a victory at the London, UK Regional Finals in March.

Attend the Peace Incubator Showcase on November 7 at 7:30  to meet the founders of these innovative initiatives and learn about the Epp Peace Incubator’s recent program growth. The Incubator is a beehive of entrepreneurial and collaborative engagement for peace-related start-ups. These social enterprises are supported through seed funding, mentorship, and a space to call home.  

The Peace Incubator Showcase
November 7, 7:30 pm
Kindred Credit Union Uptown Waterloo branch
53 Bridgeport Rd. E Waterloo


Interviews with members of these start-ups may be arranged through:

Michelle Jackett
Coordinator, Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement
519-885-0220 x24221


Jennifer Konkle
Marketing and Communications Manager
Conrad Grebel University College
519-885-0220 x24229