Research to Social Innovation celebrates a new graduating cohort

Social Innovation

A new group of powerhouse social innovators tackle a wide variety of problems and drive change

Author: Chantal Palmer, Marketing and Communications Lead, Innovate Calgary 


Guided by the principle that research and business acumen should be used for the greater good of society, this group of powerhouse innovators tackles a wide variety of problems. The Research to Social Innovation (R2SI) incubator celebrated a new cohort of social innovators catapulting their ideas out of the lab, and off the computer, to those needing it most. R2SI supports innovators as they validate their social impact-oriented venture through regular coaching, expert advising, peer learning, skills-building, and student support. Through this 6-month program, the cohort worked with Innovate Calgary coaches to take their evidence-based solutions to the next level, drawing on the support of critical wrap-around services focused on scaling social impact.  

While the cohort was incredibly diverse in background, with fellows working in academia, the medical field, finance, music teaching, and community advocacy, they were united by their drive to make positive and sustainable change through their novel and impact-oriented products or services. Many are first-time founders who joined R2SI to explore different pathways of making their impact-oriented ventures sustainable and take the next step forward.  

Their graduation event on July 17th included pitches from the cohort and networking opportunities with ecosystem partners. The event also featured a panel with R2SI alumna sharing their journeys since graduating last December. Their ventures are thriving, with Joberfer, led by founder Prasanthi Naidoo, recently winning the Global Online Marketplace Summit pitch competition, and Shift to Learn, led by co-founder Elena Esina, expanding their offerings and strategic partnerships focused on domestic violence partnerships scaling their impact to new levels. 

Congratulations to the newest cohort of the R2SI program!

We encourage you to check out their ventures and support them on their journey. 

  • YouthC, Dora Tam: YouthC is a digital platform for youth to help youth uncover self-talent and develop resilient coping skills in the face of developmental and life challenges. 
  • The use of technology to help immigrant survivors of domestic violence, Benedicta Asante: This is a multipurpose helpline app that offers the first-of-its-kind support for individuals experiencing domestic abuse in Alberta with direct access to service providers in multiple languages.
  • Ensemble Healthcare Ltd, Jan Ooi: Ensemble Healthcare Ltd is a multi-disciplinary clinic providing perinatal services for pregnant and postpartum women and their families. The clinic centers a unique group care model, as well as innovative programming and supports rooted through community partnerships focused on impact and accessibility. 
  • Times Have Changed Music Teaching (THCMT), Merlin Thompson: THCMT equips music teachers with instructional strategies that champion collaboration and interconnectedness, reflective thought/action processes, and sustainable learning procedures to explore the diversity of students’ musical interests. 
  • Rebelle Money, Alexandra Stante: Canada’s first gender intelligent banking experience, Rebelle Money’s data-informed challenger bank model, designs financial products and services inspired by how women uniquely experience money. 
  • Collectively Tangled Counselling & Consulting, Sarah Mateshaytis, Keara Gillis: Collectively Tangled provides mental health services, education and support specific to the innovation and startup sector, offering both preventive and interventive services.
  • Queer Calgary, River Wearmouth: Queer Calgary is a grassroots organization created to build a person-centered Queer community within Calgary. By holding regular events and facilitating links to community resources, Queer Calgary aims to be a safe place to make connections for queers and build community.
  • ProNotes, Mitch Osmond: ProNotes harnesses the power of technology to create affordable, engaging, and high-quality music education for everyone. 

Interested in the R2SI program?

It was an amazing experience to support this incredible group of founders on their innovation journey, who are so passionate about driving positive impact in fields they care deeply about. I look forward to seeing what is on the horizon for these purpose-driven innovators and the impact their ventures will have in Calgary and beyond. 

If you have an evidence-based project and would like to explore pathways to scale its impact, learn more about the R2SI program. We will be recruiting the next cohort in August 2023, with the application link on our website, but don’t hesitate to reach out any time” says Joanne Nowak, senior innovation manager and project lead for R2SI.  






Research to Social Innovation (R2SI) is a flagship program of the newly launched Social Innovation Hub (SIH) focused on supporting innovators and startups solving social problems to launch and scale their businesses and impact.