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GreenHouse social innovators speak at global conference

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

GreenHouse innovators at the conference

Above: Trishala Pillai, Elle Crevits, Benny Hua, Rachel Thompson, and Richard Yim

Five social innovators from St. Paul’s GreenHouse had the opportunity to speak at the premier global social entrepreneurship conference last week – the Ashoka U Exchange, hosted by Tulane University in New Orleans this year.

They presented at a panel called ‘Best Practices for Supporting Social Innovators,’ co-led by GreenHouse Director Tania Del Matto, Paul Heidebrecht, Director of UWaterloo’s MSCU Centre for Peace Advancement, and others.

“The novel element of our session was hearing directly from young social entrepreneurs who have experienced incubation programs,” says Del Matto. “Rather than speaking about their startups, they shared their unique entrepreneurial journeys.”

She says the session was packed, and the energy in the room was palpable. "Participants huddled around each student to listen to their stories, so the engagement was great. We heard nothing but good things about how folks enjoyed the session afterwards, so we were all really pleased."

GreenHouse, in partnership with Applied Health Sciences, Ryerson, and the University of Southampton in the U.K., was also a Cordes Innovation Award semi-finalist; these Ashoka awards recognize high impact and highly replicable education innovations.

Del Matto says the group was one of 20 semi-finalists asked to submit more information about international collaboration and student engagement in social entrepreneurship at higher ed campuses, but were ultimately not selected for one of the six awards.