Ottawa’s ‘Global Shapers’ launch first project

Courtney Symons
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What has social innovation done for you lately?

Ottawa's Global Shapers meet with Mayor Jim Watson to officially launch the group's first project.

That’s the question that a group of young local entrepreneurs will be answering over the next few months with the launch of a new project commemorating Canadian social innovations.

Nine Global Shapers – a community of individuals between the ages of 20 and 30 chosen by the World Economic Forum for their entrepreneurial track record and potential for future leadership – met at the office of local law firm HazloLaw this week to officially launch the Ottawa Global Shapers Hub and announce its first project.

A traveling photo exhibition titled, “What Has Social Innovation Done for You Lately?” will feature photos of innovative Canadian-led projects, programs and organizations that have benefitted people and the planet.

One example is school breakfast programs, which were first piloted by the Community Foundation of Ottawa in 1991 then replicated across the country and now the world.

Canada has a reputation for being the home of many social innovations, said Vinod Rajasekaran, co-founder and executive director of Hub Ottawa and a Global Shaper. But it’s often hard to come up with examples – and this exhibit will help, he said.

The first photo for the travelling exhibit was taken at the press conference, where the Global Shapers grinned alongside representatives from local economic development agency Invest Ottawa and Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson.

“When I first heard the title ‘Global Shapers,’ I thought it was a diet program,” Mr. Watson quipped.

Additional photos will be taken by Global Shapers with an eye to launching the completed exhibition next spring.

To maximize accessibility and visibility, the group aims to move the photo collection to different neighbourhoods in Ottawa and eventually have it hosted across the country, Mr. Rajasekaran said.

The local branch of the community was first announced last September, when HazloLaw founder and 2013 Forty Under 40 recipient Hugues Boisvert was named curator of the group.

Global Shapers’ hubs are responsible for undertaking an impact-generating project to better the local community. Additionally, hub members organize workshops, meetings with leaders and other activities that increase leadership abilities.

Launched in 2011, the World Economic Forum’s community of Global Shapers now includes more than 1,500 leaders under the age of 30 across the globe.

Previous projects include a national media campaign in Mali aimed at inspiring young people to vote; a project aiming to set up 200 libraries in the Philippines to close the education gap; a drive to encourage millions of mobile phone subscribers in India to make small philanthropic donations with their bill payments; and an earthquake recovery project in the tsunami-hit region of Tohoku, Japan.


Ottawa’s Global Shapers include:

- Hugues Boisvert, founder of HazloLaw;

- Giovanna Mingarelli, president and co-founder of M&C Consulting Inc.;

- Mathieu Fleury, Ottawa city councillor of Rideau-Vanier Ward;

- Vinod Rajasekaran, co-founder and executive director of Hub Ottawa

- Ji-Young Kim, member’s assistant to Treasury Board president Tony Clement;

- Ian Anderson, national security analyst with Public Safety Canada;

- Adam Moscoe, public and international affairs graduate student at the University of Ottawa;

- Bryan Kingston, association with the Canadian Council of Chief Executives;

- Komaljit Minhas, community catalyst for Hub Ottawa.

Organizations: Global Shapers, World Economic Forum, Community Foundation MC Consulting Treasury Board Public Safety Canada University of Ottawa Canadian Council of Chief Executives

Geographic location: Ottawa, Canada, Mali Philippines India Tohoku Japan

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