Fellows graduate from the inaugural Research to Social Innovation (R2SI) Incubator

Social Innovation

A few of the graduating fellows starting from the left: Mona Aboumrad, Elena Esina, Prasanthi Naidoo, Uriel Karerwa, Geoff Zaikab 

The inaugural Research to Social Innovation (R2SI) incubator celebrated the graduation of its first cohort on December 15. R2SI supports innovators as they validate their social-impact oriented venture or project through regular coaching, industry mentoring, networking and knowledge sharing between cohort members, and subject matter and skills development through targeted workshops.   

Through this 6-month program, the cohort works with Innovate Calgary coaches to take evidence-based solutions to the next level by receiving tech transfer expertise and wrap-around services focused on scaling social impact. The first cohort featured a diverse set of companies, industries and experiences including faculty members, non-profit professionals, and practitioners. Their companies tackle pressing, and complex, social problems – from domestic violence prevention, democratizing job referrals, strengthening inclusion in tech, future-proofing the trades, to improving healthcare outcomes, and supporting healthcare worker mental health. 

 Congratulations to the graduating cohort 

  • Shift to Learn, Elena Esina: Shift to Learn support individuals, organizations, and systems to advance gender equality, violence prevention, and healthy relationships through online learning tools. 
  • MI Toolbox, Alicia Nahmad, PhD: MI Toolbox aims to expand digital technology access to SMEs within the construction industry, and provide upskilling opportunities, through an accessible and affordable device adapted to their needs and accessible curriculum. 
  • Joberfer, Prasanthi Naidoo & Simpie Gill: Joberfer aims to improve and uplift people’s lives by helping them earn money and get jobs through a digital platform that facilitates referrals and hiring. 
  • Inclucity Calgary, Uriel Karerwa and Geoff Zakaib: IncluCity Calgary aims to improve the usability of technology for all through planning, designing, and running inclusive testing sessions 
  • Clubfoot Navigator Ltd, Elaine Joughin, Shafique Pirani: Clubfoot Navigator Ltd improves real-time clinical decision-making and treatment of Clubfoot through a clinical decision support tool and related resources 
  • Brief Crisis Therapy Institute, Andrew Sofin: Brief Crisis Therapy Institute aims to increase hope, create change, and reduce human suffering through tech-enabled training for mental health professionals that leads to better outcomes for clients and therapists alike. 
  • Querulous Complaints, Amie Liddle: Querulous Complaint Assessment Instrument and Process (QCAIP)  aims to change the ways in which organizations manage, and understand, difficult complaints to improve outcomes for patients and health care practitioners    
  • LendHand, Mona Aboumrad: LendHand aims to improve the mental health and well-being among long-term care employees by creating a digital community that provides long-term care (LTC) organizations with the strategies and therapeutic tools to support their employees. 


Elena Esina, R2SI fellow, delivering her pitch about Shift to Learn
Elena Esina, R2SI fellow, delivering her pitch about Shift to Learn

The event connected fellows with ecosystem partners (including Alberta Innovates, Platform Calgary, Propel Impact, and Mitacs) to facilitate the next steps in their entrepreneurial journeyThese steps vary from joining an accelerator program, pursuing an international pilot, or launching their offering to the public, to expanding their venture’s reach to other provinces and countries. The teams also shared their stories in a pitch session, raising awareness of their ventures and the impacts they are working towards in our local communities, and beyond.


Thank you to our partners and fellows 

Thanks to our ecosystem partners for sharing information about available ecosystem resources with our R2SI teams, and supporting social-impact ventures:  

“To the fellows, thank you for your curiosity, tenacity, courage, and deep work you’ve put in over these last six months to move your ventures, and visions, forward. It’s been an incredible experience for Innovate Calgary to learn about your expertise, and support your creative solutions and pathways of innovation creating positive change in our community, and beyond!” says Joanne Nowak, senior innovation manager and project lead for R2SI.  


Are you interested in scaling your social impact? Reach out to Joanne Nowak to discuss how the Research to Social Innovation Incubator (R2SI) may support you and your business.