Purpose, Profit, Technology: Van IMPACT 2015 begins

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Today’s the day! Get ready for VanIMPACT with the final article in our Vancouver Economic Startup Alley series. Here are some of the great startups at IMPACT making the world a little better.

Prollster​

Prollster Logo (Square)

Who are you? tell us about your business.

Prollster is a dialogue tool for online education that helps make learning social. We give students a place to engage with their peers and discuss course content from right within their learning platform. By doing so, we add a crucial peer learning component to existing online education models that are overly focused on content delivery.

What’s your vision for a better world and how does your startup factor into it?

Like most ed-tech companies, we envision a world in which the transformative power of technology frees students from geographic and monetary limitations posed by the traditional “brick and mortar” university system. Yet the next generation of online learning — in which tens of thousands of students are pushed through a single online course — still treats students as consumers of content delivered from on high rather than as participants in their own learning. The experience can be disorientating and isolating.

Prollster brings together the best of both worlds. An online platform that enhances student engagement, Prollster is inspired by the best aspects of traditional in-person classrooms (e.g. supportive small groups and deep discussions) while facilitating critical thinking and empathetic peer learning on the web.

What’s your personal view on finding the intersection between purpose and profit?

Align your company with those who share your vision of positive social impact. Prollster recently launched with NextGenU (the world’s largest online medical sciences university) to train doctors and nurses in Sudan. Knowing that the work we do here in Vancouver is helping people on the ground in post-conflict situations is a great motivator.

What’s the one thing you would say to entrepreneurs thinking about adding purpose to their business?

Do what you know — and if you don’t know, find those who do and support them. Many organizations are already deeply involved in issues you may be passionate about. They know the context and what does and doesn’t work, which is invaluable experiential knowledge when trying to make lasting, meaningful change. Add your entrepreneurial approach, the product or services you provide, or your financial support, and you might just take each other to the next level.

What is your favourite entrepreneurial quote?

“The ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world are the ones who do.” – Steve Jobs


Tzoa

teal rc logo 10X

Who are you? tell us about your business.

TZOA is a wearable enviro-tracker that measures your sun exposure, air quality and more. TZOA connects to a smartphone to give you useful information and alerts to allow you to find the cleanest areas around you.

What’s your vision for a better world and how does your startup factor into it?

TZOA has a vision of a better world where we understand the physical environment around us, and we combine that knowledge with cutting-edge healthcare research to show how our immediate environment affects us and what solutions we can implement to improve our quality of life. This would result in lower healthcare costs for citizens and governments and improve the economy. Not to mention it would also help individuals with health issues to mitigate their conditions; for example, asthma, COPD, and airborne allergies.

How did you first get started as an entrepreneur?

My first taste of entrepreneurship was in my high school entrepreneurship class, we designed and sold collegiate style sweaters that are still being produced today. It’s a good feeling to see someone wearing and enjoying your product.

What’s the secret behind running a profitable business while still doing good?

Have a mentor or advisor on board with strong morals, you can secretly call this your ‘ethics board.’ In addition, don’t be rapacious. Understand that in the early-stages of your company, squeezing your customers for more margin is not an effective use of resources to move your business forward. Providing real value and tangible solutions through proof of concepts is your best token for progress, whether these are being offered for a profit, at cost, or for free. Do what it takes.


Enroot Meals

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Who are you? tell us about your business.

Enroot simplifies complicated meal planning, prepping, and cooking with a few simple taps on a smartphone, tablet, or computer. Just select your meal, pay with a credit card and your meal will arrive in minutes.

What’s your vision for a better world and how does your startup factor into it?

Our vision for a better world is one where eating well is the convenient option. Often people sacrifice their health for convenience when it comes to food choices. We are seeking to change that by making the fresh, healthy & delicious choice the easiest option: “on-demand” & ready-to-eat with a few clicks on your smart-phone or PC.
How did you first get started as an entrepreneur?

From my early teenage years I always pondered about different products & services and how I could possibly innovate or improve on them. When I attended University I was surrounded by thousands of peers everyday. It also brought the entrepreneurial spirit out of me. Everyone inevitably needs to buy various goods and services. So how do you go about provide one of these things with a competitive edge? If you can find that comparative advantage then all you need to do is pick up the phone and start dialling.

Who or what inspired you to make a positive impact with your business?

During my days after university as a contractor – I would often come home from a busy day and be disappointed with the lack of convenient & healthy options for meal planning. Eating well is an important part of our daily lives so we set out to solve this problem by making the healthy option the easiest option.


Learn how Purpose + Profit + Technology together can create a powerful force for change and rapid business growth, today at IMPACT. Visit www.vanimpact.com to see their lineup of speakers and to register.

 

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