Business students from Red River College let their creative concepts take flight this afternoon, at the first-ever Dragonfly Den event showcasing social innovation in entrepreneurship.
Held as part of the College’s annual Social Innovation and Applied Business Research Competition, the Dragonfly Den session saw student teams making presentations informed by research they’d conducted on successful business concepts from around the world.
Appearing before a panel of six industry judges, students were asked to pitch out-of-the-box solutions to existing social problems — starting with a budget of just $500 — and to demonstrate how they’d adapted the models to make them sustainable here in Canada.
Judges then provided feedback and advice, and selected a winner who best exemplified principles of social innovation.
"Today we celebrate these young entrepreneurs and problem solvers who are using their global connections, experience and passion to address social issues here at home and around the world," says Christine Watson, RRC's Vice-President, Academic. "This event is an example of how industry, education ad community are working together to prepare and inspire our future leaders."
The concepts pitched by students included:
Tech for Tots: a project that addresses the dual issues of literacy rates and the revitalization of Indigenous languages in Manitoba, through apps on recycled tablets and computers, which are made available to young learners.
Story Time: a project that tackles the social challenge of improving early childhood literacy among immigrant children, through the translation of traditional stories and modern software.
Too Good to Go: a project that provides families with nutritious grocery items at a lower cost, by reselling and delivering unused food produced by local restaurants at the end of each day.
Laughing Yoga and Meditation Club: a project aimed at supporting mental health and wellness among local populations.
The event also celebrated the ongoing Social Innovation in Business and Entrepreneurship Project, a collaborative community partnership funded by National Leasing that has involved more than 500 business students over the last three years.
“Our goal is to give students more opportunities to find their voices in entrepreneurship, and to create a stronger business community that encourages all students — including youth, immigrants, women and Indigenous learners — to bring forward their ideas and contribute to business in new ways,” says RRC instructor Tatjana Brkic.