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Jan. 30, 2019
For Immediate Release

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Brantford – Wilfrid Laurier University’s Schlegel Centre for Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation will host an Indigenous Social Entrepreneurship workshop on Jan. 31 aimed at helping students, alumni and community members connect the dots between business success, social responsibility and Indigenous culture.

Social entrepreneurship is the use of business to develop and implement solutions to social, cultural and environmental issues. The workshop was born out of a recognition that Indigenous students can go through challenges similar to those experienced by social entrepreneurs, said John Lam, LaunchPad Brantford program coordinator with the Schlegel Centre.

“After speaking with the Office of Indigenous Initiatives, we recognize that Indigenous students are among a group who have to balance their home culture and community with a westernized system of making money and achieving career status. This is similar to social entrepreneurs who have to balance positive social impact with generating revenue to sustain their business,” said Lam. “We wanted to have a workshop to talk about this parallel and let students know that social entrepreneurship and succeeding in business as an Indigenous person in a westernized world is possible.”

The Schlegel Centre partnered with Laurier’s Office of Indigenous Initiatives to create the Indigenous Social Entrepreneurship workshop.

The workshop will take students from Market Darling Centre at Laurier’s Brantford campus to Kayanase, a greenhouse, ecological restoration and eco-tourism company located in Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. Students will learn about the history of Kayanase, the history of the Longhouse and participate in a social entrepreneurship panel discussion featuring Zaffia Laplante and Michelle Drake.

Laplante is a Global Studies student and LaunchPad Waterloo program participant exploring the use of hemp as a natural insulation material and its application for sustainable housing across Indigenous communities in Canada. Drake, also a LaunchPad program participant, created Shredding Barriers, a document-destroying service that employs adults with developmental disabilities.

“I think the workshop is a great opportunity to motivate and inspire people to take action and to let them know that it’s possible to integrate some things that might traditionally be seen as conflicting,” said Lam.

The Indigenous Social Entrepreneurship workshop takes place Thursday, Jan. 31 from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Participants will be picked up and dropped off at Market Darling Centre, 67 Darling St., Brantford. To register, visit

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Media Contacts:

John Lam, Program Coordinator, LaunchPad Brantford

Schlegel Centre for Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation, Wilfrid Laurier University

T: 519.756.8228 x5431

Beth Gurney, Associate Director

Communications and Public Affairs, Brantford campus

T: 519.756.8228 x5753


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