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Panelists: Katie Gibson, Community Finance Solutions, MaRS; Lars Boggild, Finance for Good; Austen Hughes, Natural Forces; Levi Lawrence, Real Food Connections
Facilitator: Kristy O'Leary, Scout & Burrow
Creating Pools of Social Capital
1:45-2:45. Day 1
Core to building a thriving ecosystem for social innovators and entrepreneurs is the ability to create pools of social capital. Hear how communities from across Canada are successfully creating new sources of social capital from the CEDIF model in Nova Scotia and PEI to the communities supported by the MaRS Discovery District's Community Finance Solutions program.
Levi Lawrence, founder of Real Food Connections, is a cook at heart, a passionate entrepreneur with and a total self confessed food geek.
With 8 years in the food and beverage industry as well as an undergraduate business degree from the University of New Brunswick he has been working to transform our local food industry in NB since 2010.
Real Food Connections is currently a local food grocery business representing over 130 small and medium scale food producers in Southern NB. They have a grocery store, a web store and offer wholesale distribution to other retailers, restaurants and institutions. Their main priorities are Traceability, Accountability and improving the food culture and agriculture in NB.
While Levi is the lead entrepreneur for Real Food Connections, his wife Kim and parents Catherine and Bev are full partners and lend structure and practicality to his big ideas.
Austen Hughes is the Operations Vice President for Natural Forces, one of the most successful renewable energy companies in the Maritimes; and is the President and Director of each company within the Wind4All “family” of CEDIFs.
His roles within both Natural Forces and Wind4All have allowed Austen to facilitate the deployment of numerous community-owned wind energy projects in Nova Scotia. Combined, the Wind4All CEDIF’s have raised almost $14 million from over 1,000 Nova Scotian investors – who collectively are proud owners of five Nova Scotian wind farms.
Lars is a Vice President for Finance for Good (FFG), a Canadian Social Impact Bond intermediary and Social Finance technical assistance provider. He leads FFG’s business development and manages major social finance projects from the Eastern Canada office in Toronto. Lars has been a frequent advisor on social finance topics and is invited as an expert presenter to organizations such as the Province of Ontario, the House of Commons, and the Institute for Public Administration of Canada as well as institutions such UofT & Dalhousie University.
Prior to FFG, Lars managed a diverse set of teams to develop and implement socially responsible and impact investment strategies for an institutional investor. Some of his favourite experiences include working on strategy in multilateral organizations such as the British Council and UNFCCC, where he focussed on financing renewable energy projects, and co-founding the Halifax Tool Library.
Lars holds a Graduate Diploma in Social Innovation from the University of Waterloo & a BA in Sustainability and Political Science from Dalhousie University, where he was awarded the University Medal in Environment, Sustainability, and Society. He’s always interested in how we can build more equitable and resilient communities, so feel free to get in touch! @FinanceforGood @lboggild
Katie leads the Community Finance Solutions initiative at the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing. Community Finance Solutions is a consulting and referral service supporting initiatives creating new impact investing funds and financial products across Canada.
Before joining MaRS, Katie ran a consulting business in Asia. She has been involved in social change work for over 15 years, including serving as the Deputy Director of an advocacy organisation and on the board of a number of community groups. She has also practiced law and clerked at the Supreme Court of Canada. Katie studied Anthropology at Harvard University and received her Law degree and an M.B.A. from McGill University.
Wanting to make a difference in the world, Kristy studied politics. Wanting to contextualize the world for others, she studied art. In 2013 she founded Scout & Burrow, now she helps organizations lead change by crafting dynamic corporate social responsibility initiatives. Scout & Burrow assists their clients in assessing their value across the capital spectrum, communicating social benefits and expanding their markets.
She is a master connector, introducing ideas and people, and people to ideas, to create positive social change.