UBC Social Enterprise Conference 2016


SEC Conference photobooth all ready to go for the over 300 participants of the SEC. Credits to CUS Visual Media.

The UBC Social Enterprise Club held their second conference on March 12th, 2016. It was a day of inspiration as students gained exposure to a variety of social enterprises in the community and listened to a wide array of amazing speakers – from students just interested about the social enterprise concept, to those already operating their own social enterprises, this conference had something unique to offer for everyone.


Miki Agrawal changing our perceptions of what can be done for an awesome career. Credits to CUS Visual Media.

The morning started off with Miki Agrawal, the author of bestseller Do Cool Shit, and the CEO of a variety of successful social enterprises from gluten free pizza shop Wild to an alternative to feminine hygiene products, THINX. With her inspiring journey, she showed the audience that careers these days do not need to follow a traditional path, and that it’s always best to follow your heart and go after solving a real problem to find meaningful work.


Three questions every changemaker should ask, presented by Miki Agarwal. Credits to CUS Visual Media.

In another presentation format was the Changemaker series, a group of 5 talks that showcased the work of students working involved in social enterprise while still completing their studies. Carly Sotas, a student author and President of the UBC chapter of Pencils of Promise, was one of such presenters. She told us the story of how she overcame her fears and continued to stay driven by the purpose of her work for the social good. Other presenters included Marissa Willcox, who presented on the idea of making better consumer decisions by “buying social” and making a tangible difference through the community.


Carly Sotas presenting on lessons learned starting something new with her book, Illusion. Credits to CUS Visual Media.

An exciting and interactive aspect of the day were the workshops. I participated in ReFabDar, a project headed by the World Bank which used recylced plastic as the product for 3D printers. In groups of 6, we addressed the issue of the well-being of the trash pickers, and asked provocative “How Might We” questions to frame solutions. Moving through various phases of the process, from ideation to design and implementation, we were able to provide some recommendations on how the project could be made more effective.


Overall, the SEC conference truly provided a platform for UBC students to experience social enterprise and truly explore how they can use their own skills and ideas in the world of social enterprise. These conferences are great avenues for UBC to test the ingenuity of its students and see what type of creative solutions students can come up with. After all, UBC students really are the world’s next great changemakers.

A few members of the Social Enterprise Club executive team. Credits to CUS Visual Media.

A few members of the Social Enterprise Club executive team. Credits to CUS Visual Media.

To end, here’s a quote from Priyanka Vasudev, Co-Chair of the 2016 conference: “The entire Social Enterprise Club team had worked so hard to put this conference together, hearing that it not only inspired but also accelerated delegates drive to create systemic change was a rewarding feeling for us all!”

Written and prepared by Nika Moeini, International Relations and Commerce Student, UBCevents Communications Assistant.