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Inaugural Social Innovation Summit Draws Capacity Crowd at City Hall

Social Innovation Summit 2015

November 24, 2015

Surrey, BC – Approximately 200 local and national experts gathered at Surrey City Hall for the inaugural Surrey Social Innovation Summit to discuss how cities can use creative new thinking and social innovation to tackle urban issues.

The Summit featured an impressive array of local and national experts and leaders such as:

  • Linda Hepner, Mayor, City of Surrey
  • Hazel Borys, Managing Principal, PlaceMakers, Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Tonya Surman, Founder and CEO, Centre for Social Innovation, Toronto
  • Stephen Dooley, Executive Director, SFU Surrey
  • David Podmore, Chairman & CEO, Concert Properties Ltd.
  • Shawn Smith, Director, RADIUS, Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University
  • Tamara Vrooman, President & CEO, Vancity

The Summit is another example of how Surrey is turning to social innovation to break down old silos between government, citizens, not-for-profits, academia and business in order to find practical and sustainable solutions to the issues such as economic development, the environment, affordable housing, poverty and health and safety.

“The excellent discussions and ideas we heard are an example of how much more effective we all are when we collaborate,” said City of Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner. “Initiatives such as Innovation Boulevard, our City’s Social Innovation Working Group, and this Summit demonstrate our commitment to social innovation and our passion for building a better community.”

The inaugural Surrey Social Innovation Summit was chaired by Surrey Councillor Vera LeFranc.

“The Summit was a unique opportunity to hear from local, regional and national voices with a wealth of on-the-ground experience, as well as the creativity to look at even common concerns with new eyes and a fresh approach,” said Summit Chair, Councillor Vera LeFranc. “I want to thank organizations such Vancity, Simon Fraser University, Concord Pacific, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Real Estate Foundation, Century Group and the Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association for their leadership and support in making the Summit possible.”

For Tamara Vrooman, CEO of presenting sponsor Vancity, the opportunity to support the Summit fit in well with the company’s values-based approach to the economy, society and the environment.

“Through our support of organizations and projects such as HiVE Vancouver, SFU Public Square and the Global Alliance for Banking on Values, we recognize the power of social innovation to make positive and long-term impact on local communities,” said Vrooman.

A key component of Surrey’s growing reputation as an innovation hub is the people, programs and research at post-secondary institutions such as Simon Fraser University and Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

“The Summit demonstrated that by working and learning together we can collectively and effectively address important social issues and develop sustainable approaches to meeting the diverse needs of the community,” said Stephen Dooley, Executive Director of SFU Surrey and Co-Chair of the Summit. “Through programs like RADIUS and our new SFU Innovates strategy, SFU Surrey is proud authentically engage with the community and play an important role in shaping social innovation to ensure it becomes an integral part of community building in Surrey.”

“The Social Innovation Summit was the first of three we’ve committed to,” added LeFranc. “It’s also the start of a much broader community conversation that will be shaped over the coming months and years, one that will help our city and its leaders at every level to reach beyond traditional approaches that have been tried and found wanting when it comes to solving persistent social issues that need both
attention and sustainable solutions.”

Find out more information about the inaugural Surrey Social Innovation Summit.