In recognition of commitment to innovation and entrepreneurial success.
Rachel Thompson turned a big idea into an award winning social profit business. As she was nearing the completion of her science degree in Applied Health Studies she entered the 2015 Big Ideas Challenge and won a term in St. Paul’s GreenHouse.
While she was with GreenHouse, Rachel launched a social venture called Marlena Books (a portmanteau of her grandmothers’ given names Marilyn and Helena). Because of her own families’ experience, Rachel had recognized a gap and intended to find an innovative solution to help adults with dementia get more enjoyment and cognitive stimulation from leisure reading.
Four years later, Rachel and Marlena Books have raised over $300,000 in cash and in-kind support by winning multiple pitch competitions including Velocity’s $25K and the 2018 AGE-WELL National Impact Challenge.
Today, Rachel leads a growing social venture which researches and publishes books and other adaptive leisure reading materials for dementia patients. Marlena books feature mature content modified to meet the needs of individuals living with Alzheimer’s and dementia and are sold in bulk to long-term care facilities across Canada and directly to customers via their website and app.
Rachel’s story garners widespread media attention and she uses that platform to promote the value of the GreenHouse social impact incubator. Rachel was recognized by her faculty with the 2018 Young Alumni Award for Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo.