The Social Innovation Academy is a national initiative cultivating social purpose organizations in Canada.



social purpose organizations: not your typical start-up

Social purpose organizations (SPOs) refers to the entire spectrum of organizations that exist to advance a social, cultural, or environmental mission. We recognize that SPOs come in many shapes and sizes, including, but not limited to: charities, non-profit organizations, co-operatives, and for-profit social enterprises.


The Social Innovation Academy has three pillars: Talent, Knowledge, and Capital.


Talent: for Students

analyst & fellowship programs

The Social Innovation Academy offers students a training ground to stoke existing interest in social innovation & impact investing concepts. SIA Fellows and Analysts support projects issued by social purpose organizations and contribute to current solutions.


Knowledge: for SPOs

projects & challenges led by spos

Social purpose organizations are encouraged to issue short-term challenges for SIA Fellows and larger-scale projects in collaboration with the SIA summer Analyst Program. With support from fresh eyes and eager minds, SPOs glean new insights into their business operations and sector.


Capital: for Investors

Research, Data, & Investment Memos

SIA works with impact investors and social finance intermediaries to increase capital flow by providing access to data, research, and investment memos on social purpose organizations. These resources are designed to foster connections between investors and investment-ready SPOs.


The Social Innovation Academy aims to train the next generation of social innovation leaders. Our talent development programs are designed to equip students of all disciplines with the necessary skills and knowledge to tackle the most pressing issues of our time.

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We work with post-secondary institutions to support and identify students who demonstrate a desire to develop a career in the social innovation sector.


SIA Fellows participate in a training program and participate in Challenges issued by impact investors, social enterprises, non-profits, and related organizations.


SIA Analysts are selected for four-month, paid internships with social purpose organizations across Canada. Currently, we have placements in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montréal.


From sector research to expansion planning and financial modelling, social purpose organizations require a range of support. The Social Innovation Academy lowers the barrier for SPOs seeking talent to execute important, capacity-building projects.


Challenge Sprints 

Even the biggest problems can be broken down into bite-sized “challenges”. We work with social purpose organizations that have burning questions through our four-week, intensive Challenge sprints. Past Challenge questions include: “How might a mug-sharing program grow across Canada?” and “How might we reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the Canadian built environment?”


Applied Projects

Thinking about expansion? Or need to develop a financial model? We work with social purpose organizations on projects over the four summer months, in collaboration with our Analysts, our partners and network of experts.


Impact investing is taking off in Canada. More and more capital is flowing in from the private and public sectors, while there is a growing demand for capital from social purpose organizations. The Social Innovation Academy works with impact investors across Canada to accomplish three objectives.

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We can help you build your deal flow through our database of social purpose organizations, ranging from start-ups and social enterprises to non-profits and co-operatives.

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Connect with like-minded impact investors and social finance intermediaries. Join the Social Innovation Academy’s network of impact investors.

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We work with investors and funders to take an issue-first approach to identifying potential investments. We identify research opportunities based on our network’s priorities and criteria for investment.


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The Social Innovation Academy is supported by HSBC Bank Canada and
led by the UBC Sauder Centre for Social Innovation & Impact Investing (SauderS3i).