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Innovating for Shared Prosperity shares benefits of new economy business models

Down to Earth Week Event promotes equal opportunities

April 13, 2017 by Centaine Tyler on Calgary Arts Development, CMNGD Linens, SAGE Connected Investing, Thrive, Universal Access

Equal opportunity is a key component to building a resilient economy. REAP’s 9th annual Down to Earth Week, presented in partnership with SAGE Connected Investing, will conclude on April 27 with an interactive learning and networking event on this theme: Innovating for Shared Prosperity.

The event is co-hosted by Thrive – a trusted resource in Calgary working alongside local entrepreneurs, community-minded residents, and local economy leaders to build a better economy – as a preview to EconoUs2017.

EconoU2017 will bring together 350 community leaders from across Canada connecting social entrepreneurs and local businesses around ideas and business models that are working to create benefits not just for business owners, but also for the community and the environment.

“’Shared prosperity’ means shifting from an economy focused on individual prosperity to an economy for all of us,” says Barb Davies, Learning and Leadership Coordinator at Thrive.

“We are seeing the impact of existing systems that are failing us. Economic inequality is growing, people are being left out, and the planet is being stretched beyond its capacity.”

Following a keynote address by Jeff Fielding, City Manager for Calgary, six PechaKucha style presentations will showcase local solutions that are building thriving communities, creating good jobs and doing business differently.

CMNGD (pronounced “Common Good”) is one of the presenters for the evening, and has seen economic inequality firsthand with its employees: residents of the Drop-in Centre. Using restaurant laundry services as an employment model for transitioning out of homelessness, CMNGD has employees working up to 600 hours in a month. They’re paid a living wage, although co-founder Hannah Cree says there’s more to it than that.

“We knew they needed a job to get into affordable housing. They also need skills and training – not just money. CMNGD can’t solve the issue on its own, but we can provide a piece,” she says.

“For us, it’s not about charity. It’s about dignity, respect, and kindness.”

Dignity and respect for those with disabilities are important values to Universal Access, an accessibility auditor and fellow presenter at the event. Universal Access is a brand-new business that evaluates other businesses on their accessibility for both physically and developmentally-disabled patrons.

“I want to create an inclusive community. To build something that impacts a change and makes it easier for everybody to get out and experience life and become part of a community – not to be stigmatized by their disabilities,” says Sean Crump, CEO and Head Chair.

In anticipation of the national EconoUs conference that will come to Calgary in September, Innovating for Shared Prosperity will offer guests a taste of the conversations to come, and the inspiration and connections required to maximize the positive benefits of their own work.


  1. Click here to get tickets for Innovating for Shared Prosperity. $50 includes a buffet dinner, exhibits, networking and seven presentations.
  2. Learn more about the REAP businesses presenting at the event: Universal Access, CMNGD, and Calgary Arts Development.
  3. Want to learn more about EconoUs2017? Click here for details.
  4. Check out the other events that are part of Down to Earth Week 2017 here! Join us for other events and conversation about Growing Food, Jobs & Hope and using Capital for Cause.