Tuesday, November 6th, 2012 | Algonquin College, Ottawa

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Youth Social Enterprise Showcase and Awards

The focus of this event is on youth. There will be a mini tradeshow highlighting some local NGOs, social enterprises and youth groups. Participants will be able to meet with them and find out more about their activities and programs. This event will also include the presentation of the Youth Social Entrepreneur awards and the Lizards' Den Competition.

The Lizards Den will be a spotlight during the CCSR Conference. Child and Youth Friendly Ottawa (CAYFO) will organise the Lizards' Den" contest, a challenge that will give eight young entrepreneurs an opportunity to showcase their social enterprises to a panel of "lizards". Whether exclusively not-for-profit or a for-profit business with a social enterprise focus, participants must pitch the initiative, highlight accomplishments, goals to measure success and why their initiative deserves to win. The Lizards will give feedback, ask questions and eventually determine the winning enterprise. Those that are not chosen to participate in the Lizards Den will have the opportunity to showcase their initiative in a youth tradeshow that will be going on as well throughout the afternoon. The trade show will be set up throughout the conference centre where attendees and visitors are able to engage and learn with the presenting entrepreneurs. The event will be filled with amazing youth and their social enterprises, come show your support, attendance is free!

Enter the Den!

Participant Information





2:00pm – 4:30pm

Lizards' Den Competition

      • Presentations - Age 8-12
      • Presentations - Age 13-17
      • Presentations - Age 18-25

5:00pm – 6:00pm

Award Presentations

  • Youth Social Entrepreneur awards
  • Lizards' Den Participant Recognition and Award Presentation

2012 Youth Social Entrepreneur Award - List of Award Recipients


  1. Mandi Duhamel
  2. Mahlet Seifu
  3. Laura Schnurr
  4. Dayna Chicoine
  5. Gwennaelle Madiba
  6. Renata Sharkey and Ingrid Daniel
  7. Suzanne Newing and Lea Restivo
  8. Jason Collard
  9. Jeremy Dias
See below for announcements and biographies.


  1. Youth Futures
  2. Engineers Without Borders
  3. Operation Come Home
  4. The Door Youth Centre
See below for announcements and biographies.

1. Mandi Duhamel

Mandi is the Executive Director for Child and Youth Friendly Ottawa, helping build youth capacity and celebrate youth engagement. Playing a major part in the planning of the recent Mayor’s Youth Summit, the Spirit of the Capital Youth Awards and hosting other programs throughout the city that engage youth in their communities. She also volunteers her own time throughout Ottawa in the sport industry, currently an assistant coach with the University of Ottawa Gee-gees women’s hockey team and sitting on the host committee as Manager of Special Event for the 2013 Women’s World Hockey Championships coming to Ottawa in April. I would like to call upon Mandi Duhamel to accept the award.

2. Mahlet Seifu

Mahlet Seifu is an ambitious and determined young woman channelling her passion for fashion to become an entrepreneur starting Me.Tu Style. With her Me.Tu collection Mahlet has been able to create jobs for skilled Ethiopians back in her home country and will be donating 10% percentage from the sale of each piece to an orphanage in Ethiopia. Her passion also extends to being involved in child-centered charitable organizations such as the Make-a-Wish Foundation and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO). Originally from Ethiopia, Mahlet came to Ottawa at the young age of eleven and since then has not only become a graduate of the University of Ottawa, but also an accomplished business consultant professional. Since her early twenties, she has been active in Ottawa’s fashion scene as a model as well as a part-time stylist. I would like to call upon Mahlet Seifu to accept the award.

3. Laura Schnurr

Laura Schnurr’s personal and academic interests include sustainable development, poverty reduction and social justice. At 19, Laura did a volunteer placement working with street children in Cusco, Peru, where she witnessed first-hand how the under-privileged live. When a Thomas Prince returned from volunteering in northern Uganda with a backpack full of beautiful paper bead jewellery and the idea to try to sell it in Canada, she jumped at the opportunity to apply her business knowledge in a fulfilling way. They followed the model of a social business that is cause-driven, with the mission of raising awareness and financial support for the people of northern Uganda. They began selling the jewellery at conferences, events, and in stores, and spread the word about what they were doing. After only three years, they are now helping support 95 women and 200 of their dependents in Uganda. They also work with three NGOs that aim to empower people by providing micro-finance loans to start small businesses and become self-sufficient, as well as supporting the education of children and youth. Laura Schnurr studied Media Arts at John Abbott College followed by International Business at Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business and was awarded the International Business medal for having the highest academic achievements in her program. She is completing her Masters in Global Studies through the University of Freiburg in Germany and is currently at the UN in New York interning at the Office of the High Representative for Least Developed Countries and conducting research for her thesis. I would like to call upon Laura Schnurr to accept the award

4. Dayna Chicoine

Dayna Chicoine has a passion for educating youth through activity and experience. She organized her first running race in May 2011 attracting 300 participants of all ages to come out and run a 5km and 10km race raising $10,000 for the Wakefield Recreation Association to help build the sports facilities and skateboard park for youth in her community. She organized a highly successful 2nd annual run in May 2012 attracting 640 participants of all ages and abilities to go outside and be active. Dayna and two of her close friends, Nathalie Poirier and Shelley Crabtree, created a Corporation called Aegle Events to continue organizing the annual Wakefield Covered Bridge Run and to create more exciting events to support activity and well-being of youth. To date, this company has raised $25,000 that was donated to charities such as the Wakefield Recreation Association, the Wakefield Emergency Fund, the Wakefield Grannies and Sports Jeunesse Quebec. Dayna is from Wakefield Quebec. She graduated from Heritage College with a degree in Commerce and managed her families General Store for 2 years. In 2011, Dayna and her entire family ran in relay across Canada and the US giving presentations in schools and inspiring people everywhere to be active and eat real food that leads to a healthy vibrant life. I would like to call upon Dayna Chicoine to accept the award.

5. Gwennaelle Madiba

Gwen Madiba is a Model, entrepreneur, activist, Events and Show host, humanitarian and advocate for women, children and human rights. Gwen is always up to something creating innovative and socially responsible projects that empower everyone around her. In 2010, she was included in the Women’s Executive Network list of 2010 Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada and was included in the list of Extraordinary Women at the University of Ottawa. In 2009, she co-founded I ACT, a Youth Empowerment Network and started hosting the show 5 minutes with Gwen Madiba in 2011. Within I ACT she created the People’s Republic of Hope (PRH) to promote community service and involvement. In 2011, she was presented by Canada’s Revenue Agency as one of “Tomorrow’s Leader”. She also is the founder of I AM FASHION, a fashion show that redefined Ottawa’s Fashion Scene. She recently launched her clothing line Dare by Gwen Madiba and it is all about empowering women. She who dares – a slogan which is for the woman of power and the powerful women; the ones who dare to take action... Gwen Madiba spent her first seven years in her native Gabon, a country in central Africa and left Gabon at a young age. She is often “Up in the air”, traveling from a country to another, working on several projects, but calls Montreal, Ottawa, Paris, New York and Libreville her home. I would like to call upon Gwen Madiba to accept the award.

6. Renata Sharkey and Ingrid Daniel

Having graduated from Carleton University and the University of Ottawa respectively, for both of these entrepreneurs, this is their first venture into business. Renata and Ingrid’s goal is to provide beautiful fashions to everyone across the socio-economic spectrum and not limited to those who are economically advantaged. As socially responsible community women, Renata and Ingrid consider two aspects integral to the mission of RInude Resale as socially responsible business practice: Environmental responsibility and action, by operating as a sustainable business that works to protect the environment by reusing and recycling clothing and in helping to reduce the amount of clothing discarded to the city’s landfill. Secondly, through social action, as noted in their initiative to provide clothing to economically disadvantaged women and teenage girls offering personal styling sessions; as well as in their plans to partner with non-profit organizations within the national capital region that support igniting women and girls to fulfill their maximum potential. Renata and Ingrid’s broad vision maintains to support Ottawa’s potential to become a front-runner for trend setting women’s fashion as well as to become leaders in the resale clothing industry. Equally important to Renata and Ingrid is supporting Ottawa’s fashion community by employing and promoting other young professionals and emerging creative talent, such as up and coming photographers, aspiring models and make-up artists. I would like to call upon Renata Sharkey and Ingrid Daniel to accept their award.

7. Suzanne Newing and Lea Restivo

Suzanne Newing and Lea Restivo are both students at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. Suzanne is studying International Development and Lea is studying Physiology working towards her goal of pursuing Medical studies next year. Over the last two years they have visited Ethiopia together to carry out volunteer work and quickly recognized that short term visits was necessarily limited in any lasting impact. They came up with a novel new idea of linking Canadian medical and other students to their peer students in Africa - acting in effect as a catalyst to inspire medical students in Africa to act as more permanent in country yearlong teams of medical volunteers. They developed a new model in Ethiopia under the name “Project Glimmer” which was organized and conducted as an innovative partnership initiative by the Ethiopian Medical Students Association (EMSA) and the Student Association for Medical Aid (SAMA) from McGill University, Canada. It consisted of a 3 week long child screening program, during which volunteer Ethiopian medical students and doctors screened underprivileged children from ages 5-13 for malnutrition, fungal skin infections, conjunctivitis, worms, parasites and respiratory infections. More than 150 medical students and doctors from EMSA volunteered their time and expertise towards this project, and 6 SAMA Bio-Medical and International Development Studies students participated in the organization and coordination of the entire project on site in Addis. Using $5,000 raised by SAMA in Canada to purchase required medicines and supplies, 1,065 street children, orphans and children from low-income families were successfully screened. It is SAMA and EMSA’s plan to build upon this partnership, and channel their passion towards helping even more children in future years. I would like to call upon Suzanne Newing and Lea Restivo to accept their award.

8. Jason Collard

Jason Collard founded DILA in 2006. DILA is a program that endeavours to have youth self-identify social justice and environmental issues that are of concern to them and enable them to take action on those issues with their own agency. Through the program youth explore injustices that exist within our society and are given the opportunity to investigate their role in working to address them. Each and every person has an impact on the world that surrounds them, whether they realize it or not, and DILA seeks to make that point succinctly and motivationally – to have individuals realize the potential that they have to shape the world. This year the 7th annual DILA conference was held at University of Ottawa bringing together over 500 students and educators from across the Ottawa area. The DILA program will have bi-weekly visits from Jason and his team to ensure the impact of the conference is sustained and the ideas generated are turned into youth lead action. Jason currently runs DILA, works as the Business Director for the Student Federation at the University of Ottawa and is completing a Master’s in Education. He hopes to continue to provide opportunities to engage youth in social and environmental issues in real and meaningful ways. I would like to call upon Jason Collard to accept the award.

9. Jeremy Dias

Created by Jeremy Dias, Jer’s Vision is a leader in anti-bullying and anti-discrimination programming and is recognized throughout the continent (and some parts of the world) for their work with youth groups and organizations. They are a youth led organization that is making a real difference in the communities they work in. This organization looks at diversity inclusively, this means they look at all forms of discrimination in parallel, and through their intersections. They are also unique because their programming reaches out not just to the marginalized/minority populations, but also to the general population , thereby engaging them in taking a proactive role in preventing discrimination by promoting diversity themselves. Today Jer’s Vision runs programming all over Canada and the United States, with the talents of their volunteers, are able to run programming for over 75,000 people annually. They are also a proud leader in the International Day of Pink (DayOfPink.org), engaging millions of people in wearing pink and to run programs that stand up to bullying. I would like to call upon Jeremy Dias to accept the award.

10. Youth Futures

Based on the belief that education can break the cycle of inter-generational poverty and social exclusion, that higher education transforms lives and contributes to social cohesion, social stability and a civic society, the University of Ottawa in partnership with the City of Ottawa and Ottawa Community Housing are committed to expanding educational opportunities and building educational capacity for low-income young people who might not otherwise interact with or experience post-secondary education. To this end, the bilingual Youth Futures Program was created. The program is constantly growing and improving based on research and feedback from our partners and the participants. The present program components include: (1) leadership in training (LIT), (2) paid employment and, (3) a university experience and student mentorship. This combination provides youth with the knowledge; support and funding required to succeed in today’s post-secondary institutions and to transition to employment. In addition, with the continued success of the Youth Futures program, is it planned to develop the summer employment that will be offered to all the Youth Futures participants. I would like to call upon Khulood Al-Katta to accept the award on behalf of Youth Futures.

11. Engineers Without Borders

The University Of Ottawa Student Chapter Of Engineers Without Borders (uOttawa EWB) was established in 2003 by students who believed in building a world of opportunity. This student organization works to create a Canada which can contribute effectively towards human development both locally and in Africa. uOttawa EWB tries to do this by engaging students as well as the greater Ottawa community on the complexities of development issues and by delving into the importance of a person’s role as a global citizen. The chapter is comprised of a number of students from varied academic backgrounds that range from engineering to social sciences because the blend of skillsets leads to an effective change model. uOttawa EWB actively works in school and community outreach (interactive workshops for students from grade seven to twelve), advocacy (massive outreach events that were critical in untying Canadian Aid in 2007 and in Canada’s adoption of the International Aid Transparency Initiative in 2011), fair trade (campus engagement to promote a Fair Trade Certified Campus), global engineering (interactive workshops for students on using technical skills to solve problems that matter and National Engineering Month uOttawa), and the Junior Fellowship program. The Junior Fellowship (JF) program allows for one dedicated student each year to spend 4 months working in an African community venture with EWB Canada; upon their return, JFs are required to share their knowledge and experience with the greater public to help better connect Canada with the international community. I would like to call upon Sura Abu-Mallouh to accept the award on behalf uOttawa Engineers Without Borders.

12. Operation Come Home

In 1971, the City of Ottawa became the birthplace of Operation Come Home (formerly Operation Go Home). At that time, Reverend Norman Johnston recognized a unique need to assist runaway youth across Canada to return home to their family. In December of 1986, Viking Rideau Corporation graciously donated office space to Operation Come in the Rideau Centre parking garage. This was instrumental to bringing the program closer to the downtown market area where the street youth population often congregates. Operation Come Home is now an innovative organization that offers a multitude of comprehensive employment and educational opportunities to clients. OCH provides a number of support services to assist youth in reaching their work and school goals. Located in downtown Ottawa, Operation Come Home helps hundreds of at-risk and homeless youth gain access to services and support they need in order to make positive changes in their lives. Operation Go Home changed its name to Operation Come Home on June 18, 2009 in an effort to better articulate our mission and mandate to the community. I would like to call upon Elspeth McKay to accept the award on behalf of Operation Come Home.

13. The Door Youth Centre

The Door was modeled after The Door New York, a youth centre located in the heart of New York City with the notion to offer a place for youth to interact with other young people, to make new friends and to access services. It was this vision that led to opening of The Door in May 1994. The centre has since evolved and become more focused in its work: it is primarily a place for youth to access educational and employment support, health promotion and recreational programs and to establish links to other youth-oriented programs and services throughout the community. Most important, it is a place where youth can feel good about themselves and their place in the community! The Door is the only youth centre in the Somerset West area, thus fulfilling a need that is otherwise unmet. The youth come from a variety of backgrounds: some come from a stable home environment and are just looking for a place to hang out with friends. Others are among the high risk youth with no other place to go. Each youth is expected to contribute and help out in some small way at the centre, whether it's taking out the garbage, cooking dinner, working the front desk, basketball court, and/or participating in the decisions about how The Door operates on a day-to-day basis. This ensures that The Door is truly a facility of and for young people. I would like to call upon Malik Ayass to accept the award on behalf of The Door Youth Centre.


Founded in 1997, YOUCAN is a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to building a culture of peace among youth. YOUCAN has become Canada's leading organization run for-youth-by-youth. They currently have a National Board of Directors comprised of thirteen youth aged 18-29 and our programs reach over 3,000 youth per year. YOUCAN specializes in youth-led methods for non-violent conflict resolution. Headquartered in Ottawa, YOUCAN also has offices in Toronto and Edmonton. YOUCAN employs over 30 staff in our various offices and locations across Canada and has trained over 35,000 youth across Canada in conflict resolution. Many of YOUCAN's programs are funded to assist some of the hardest to reach youth in our communities go through YOUCAN's empowering training. Our new slogan is " Lead Impact because YOUCAN". Representing YOUCAN for this award is YOUCAN's co-founder and CEO, Dave Farthing. Dave is in his 16th year at the helm of YOUCAN and continuing to find innovative ways to empower youth to find their voice enhance their leadership in communities and resolve conflicts peacefully. I would like to call upon Dave Farthing to accept the award on behalf of YOUCAN.


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