By Grace Kabengele, April 30 2021—
The University of Calgary has partnered with United Way Calgary to provide the UCeed program, a social impact fund for Canadians, which closed its applications on April 30. Activated by Innovate Calgary, who is dedicated to bridging the gap between discovery and innovation within the University of Calgary, this social fund will expand the ability for individuals and groups to create social impacts within their community.
United Way is an organization that, “is focused on creating positive change in the areas of poverty, kids and strong communities by investing in social programs and special initiatives,” as stated on the UCalgary website.
The purpose of the UCeed Social Impact Fund is to encourage social enterprises and organizations to create lasting change within the community.
The website also states that, “The UCeed Social Impact Fund accelerates socially-purposed organizations using enterprising models to reach mission-critical milestones. These may include their next round of financing or attraction of management and resources to build value in the companies, and community.”
This fund is unique, as it is supported in partnership with UCalgary and United Way Calgary. University of Calgary president Dr. Ed McCauley noted in an interview with Global News that a key part of the fund is the “tremendous collaboration” between the two organizations.
The university maintains that this partnership facilitates many different social enterprises in the community with the goal of creating lasting change. When asked about the partnership between the university and United Way Calgary, McCauley expressed his support by adding that he hopes to see students and the public in general receive more opportunities for social growth.
“This is a great example of a partnership between two organizations that are dedicated to creating social enterprises to improve the quality of life for Calgarians, and in Alberta, and beyond,” said McCauley.
According to McCauley, two partners hope to use the social impact fund to “help create a fund that will enable them to bridge that gap between the formation of their companies or social enterprises, and attract investments that will enable them to grow, build their ideas, and empower people in the communities.”
“Great ideas exist in our community and the University of Calgary. These funds will help those companies develop their business plans and get them to a point where they can move their idea forward to actual application by attracting new development,” he explains.
Social enterprises may be awarded a wide range of investments, between $30,000 to $300,000.
“The funding is available very substantially because of the fact that one size doesn’t fit all when you are developing these social enterprises,” according to McCauley.