BC Ideas: Solutions for Stronger Communities

BC Ideas

Solutions for Stronger Communities

Competition Information

Competition News

Welcome to a collaborative competition where social entrepreneurs enter their ideas and programs to gain funding and support. This competition seeks innovative solutions to health, social and environmental challenges facing BC communities today, and in the future.

The 33 BC Ideas competition winners, and recipients of over $270,000 in funding, have been announced! For more information about each winner and the investment they received, check out our Winners Announcement blog post. Please join us in congratulating our winners:

People’s Choice Investments - $15,000 each:

Provided by: BC Ideas and Province of British Columbia

Columbia Basin Investment - $10,000 each:

Provided by: Columbia Basin Trust

Inclusion Investment - $15,000:

Provided by: Community Living Innovation Venture

Literacy Investment - $5,000 each:

Provided by: Decoda Literacy Solutions

National Investment - $15,000:

Provided by: the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation

Health and Productivity Investment - $10,000 each:

Provided by: LIFT Philanthropy Partners

Supporting People with Developmental Disabilities Investment - $15,000 each:

Provided by: Province of B.C. – Ministry of Social Development

Preventing the Threat of Homelessness Investment - $15,000:

Provided by: United Way of the Lower Mainland

Aboriginal Communities Investment - $10,000:

Provided by: Urban Systems

Community Impact Investment - $5,000 each:

Provided by: Vancity

Community Connections and Engagement Investment - $5,000:

Provided by: Vancouver Foundation

Sport and Technology Investment - $7,500 each

Provided by: ViaSport

University Solutions Investments - $4,667 each

Provided by: The University of British Columbia, the University of Victoria, and Simon Fraser University

BC Ideas Mini Growth Investments, each worth $500

Provided by: BC Ideas

Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook to receive regular updates and to give us your feedback.

Welcome Letter

The solutions to British Columbia’s greatest social challenges are all around us. Across BC, the people closest to the problems prove every day that we can address the health, social and environmental issues affecting our communities.

Join a new online collaborative competition, BC Ideas: Solutions for Stronger Communities, to share and grow BC’s best social innovations. Entrants will gain visibility, find funding opportunities, and discover new partners. The competition seeks to bring together solutions that cross boundaries and issues, solutions that use creativity and imagination to deal with today’s most complex problems.

To achieve stronger BC communities, your creative solutions will be at the core of a new approach to social change – one that identifies the hard work and expertise of local problem solvers, and supports and spreads your work by nurturing collaboration. All stages of solutions are welcome and encouraged, from ideas to established programs.

BC Ideas invites the participation of people across our province – from not-for-profit professionals and business owners, to long-time innovators and passionate advocates, to First Nations and new immigrants, to students and seniors. Together, we can turn ideas into province-wide change. What’s your idea?

*Learn more about our open partnership for change.

If you have any questions about BC Ideas or need assistance please contact April Dutheil at adutheil@changemakers.com

Guidelines & Criteria


Who should enter

  • BC Ideas: Solutions for Stronger Communities is open to all individuals, and organizations (not-for-profit, private, or public) creating impact in British Columbia;
  • Individuals or organizations operating outside of British Columbia must have at least one British Columbia-based implementing partner creating impact in BC in order to be eligible;
  • Entries should reflect the theme of the challenge – to identify social innovations addressing health, social and environmental issues, and ultimately strengthening BC communities;
  • Entries must be submitted in English.

Why you should enter

  • More than $250,000 in investments will be awarded to top entries;
  • Connect with a global online community that supports the impact you are making, or seeking to make, on the ground;
  • Connect with a provincial network through the BC Ideas community, where you can convene, collaborate, and turn ideas into action, and programs into even greater impact;
  • Gain visibility in front of local, national and global investors;
  • Access a chance to receive investment in your idea or program.

What you can win

  • The top three entries will each receive an investment of $15,000 in unrestricted funding to advance their projects or ideas;
  • Two Early Entry Investments and two Mini-Growth Prizes of $500 each will be distributed throughout the entry period, see deadlines below;
  • The BC Ideas community will continue after the competition, offering access to additional opportunities for social innovations that strengthen BC communities.

How to enter

  • Visit BC Ideas and create a profile;

  • Join and/or follow the BC Ideas community;
  • Click on the BC Ideas: solutions for stronger communities competition;
  • Click on “Enter an Idea” to start your entry;
  • Read through these tips about how to make your entry stand out.

Entries must be submitted by 5pm PST on September 12, 2012. All decisions of the judges will be final. Read the details below to learn more about how you can win.


  • Entries can be at any stage of development, from idea or concept, to proven programs;
  • Entries should show how your solution measures, or will measure, social impact through both quantitative and qualitative data;
  • Entries must have, or intend to have, impact in British Columbia - if the idea, program or organization is based outside of BC, it must have an implementing-partner in BC.

Assessment criteria

The best entries in the BC Ideas: Solutions for Stronger Communities competition will be those that best meet the following criteria:

  • Innovation: Innovation is the most important criterion – if the idea or work is not innovative, the judges will not give it high rankings. The entry must describe how it strengthens BC communities in new and different ways. The solution does not have to be entirely new; instead it can have new approaches or strategies within it. It needs to show that it is tackling an issue in a way that is different than other initiatives in the field. The best entries will also describe the potential for large-scale replication.
  • Social Impact: It is important that the idea or program results in measurable social impact in BC communities. Some entries will have proven success at a small level, while others may have engaged thousands of people in communities across the province. Some solutions will achieve their impact quickly, while some will slowly seed social change for the long term. For ideas that are entered, they must show how they intend to create and track social impact.
  • Sustainability: For an idea or program to be truly effective, it must have a plan to exist and grow well into the future, a plan to sustain itself. Innovations will be judged on their long-term vision for increasing impact and creating lasting change. Entries should describe how they are currently financing their work, and how they plan to finance their work in the future. The most successful entrants go beyond discussing whether or not they will charge for services and describe a business plan. They should also demonstrate that they have strong partnerships and support networks to address ongoing needs, and to aid in scalability and maintenance of a clear financial strategy.

Competition deadlines, procedures, and rules

Online competition submissions are accepted until 5pm PST on September 12, 2012. At any time before this deadline, competition participants are encouraged to revise their entries based on questions and insights they receive on their entry form or in their Changeshop. Creation of a Changeshop and participation in the discussion enhances an entrant’s prospects in the competition and provides the community and judges an opportunity to understand the entrant’s project more completely.

There are five main phases in the competition:

  • Nomination Stage: April 12-May 16
  • Entry Stage: May 16-September 12
  • Online Review and Judging: September 12-October 19
  • A panel of expert judges and a team of Ashoka staff select the competition finalists

  • Voting: October 26-November 9
  • The Changemakers community votes online to select the top entrants from the field of finalists

  • Winners Announced: November (TBD)

Following the announcement of winners, BC Ideas will continue as a hub for social innovators and enthusiasts to convene, collaborate, and access partnership and investment opportunities.

BC Ideas Home The Idea Centre

Judges Panel

Andy Broderick

Vice President, Community Investment, Vancity

Dan George

President/CEO, Four Directions Management Services Ltd.

Nicole Rycroft

Founder and Executive Director, Canopy

Stephen Huddart

CEO, J. W. McConnell Family Foundation

Yuri Fulmer

Chairman and CEO, FDC Capital