GreenHouse launching innovation fund

St. Paul’s GreenHouse will soon announce its new innovation fund, a $5,000 grant pool that will be launched this fall for student social entrepreneurship projects. The fund will be open to residents of St. Paul’s GreenHouse, which will have 20 students this fall, a big jump from the seven in last fall’s program.

“The goal with this fund is to support high-potential student projects that will have a positive environmental or social impact,” said Sean Campbell, program co-ordinator at GreenHouse.

The innovation fund is unique to other startup grant contests at UW as the applicant must already have a project in motion, not just an idea. GreenHouse students who apply for the fund must demonstrate results before applying by having an advisory board of stakeholders and topic experts in place.

“What we’re all about at GreenHouse is converting ideas into action,” said Campbell on why applicants will have to have their project in motion.

GreenHouse has been in operation since Fall 2013 and is already producing success stories. Lexi Salt, a GreenHouse student, launched a community garden last winter at St. Paul’s and made an agreement with the Chartwells dining services for purchasing produce from the garden. The money will go to expanding the project.

“We really want to make sure we’re able to support these really high-potential initiatives that are coming out,” said Campbell. “We want to make sure that the students that are pushing these ideas forward have the resources, but also the recognition and the connections they need to put forth their ideas.”

The application process will be simple for Fall 2014 GreenHouse students according to Campbell. Students will merely have to demonstrate interest and the progress of their project. The fund will be termly, so students next winter will also have the opportunity to apply.

Enrolment for the fall term is at capacity, but GreenHouse is recruiting students for the Winter 2015 term.

St. Paul’s is financing the fund, and GreenHouse will be releasing more information throughout the spring term for interested students.

“Students are approaching [GreenHouse] from all stages in their academic and professional careers and the ideas are very varied both in terms of focus and geographically,” Campbell said. “What brings it all together is that they’re incredibly intelligent and passionate students really trying to have a big impact.”


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