Shift Delivery

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Shift Delivery

Vancouver, CanadaVancouver, Canada
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Shift offers a sustainable solution for goods deliveries downtown using cargo tricycles. As a worker co-op, Shift provides meaningful and empowering employment.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Our operations are focused in and around downtown Vancouver. This area has the high density necessary to make our trike-deliveries viable and it also suffers from the worst results of congestion and pollution in our city. Our communities of interest include the business community (especially those interested in lowering their delivery carbon footprint), bicycle commuters and citizens interested in their environment and cleaner forms of transportation, and youthful people seeking meaningful and empowering employment (which is scarce in the current economy). We also engage people across Canada looking to implement this model in other cities.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Shift is Canada's FIRST cargo trike delivery service! Our Vision is to “build community resilience by transforming the urban goods movement industry, and by shifting the way business is done.” We are replacing trucks downtown with low-impact, clean, cycle-based alternatives; and we are organized as a worker cooperative, providing meaningful and empowering work for young/diverse people. We offer concrete solutions to environmental problems by reducing air pollution, carbon emissions, and traffic congestion from goods transport. We are helping the business community lower their carbon footprint, while providing an efficient and accessible service (we provide discounts to co-ops and non-profits). We also advocate for active transportation and co-ops: we promote active transportation and improved cycling infrastructure, we support other co-ops and share our story, and we use the advertising space on our trikes for social/environmental campaigns. We are democratically owned & operated.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Shift partners with local businesses to replace their truck/van deliveries with our heavy-duty cargo trikes. The trikes are pedal-powered with an electric assist motor; with the help of a strong rider, they can carry up to 500lbs & 55 cubic ft of goods. Cycle-based technology is more appropriate than trucks for many small, last-mile goods deliveries, especially in the downtown core. We currently transport a diverse range of products, including office supplies, produce, drycleaning, and recycling. We focus on regular contracted deliveries. Shift is structured as a worker co-operative: the workers have democratic control over the business and profits. We are all invested in the business and we all share important decisions and responsibility for our bottom lines and the services we offer. Striving to empower diverse people in the workforce, we use the co-op model to create sustainable and meaningful within the green economy. We aim to pay living wages, and we provide additional medical and skills building benefits to co-op members. We strive to create a supportive, equitable, autonomous, engaging, flexible, healthy, and balanced work environment. Finally, Shift is extensively engaged in our community. We advocate for cycling infrastructure and social enterprise, promote active transportation, share our story at community events, and support local environmental and social campaigns and partners. We strive to live Shift's Values of Innovation, Integrity and Community, through our environmental impact, social impact, and community engagement.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Our competition is conventional truck or van deliveries. In the downtown core, we have an advantage over these vehicles, as we can zip through traffic in the bike lanes and park with ease almost anywhere. Also, while conventional deliveries are exposed to fuel price volatility, we have lower maintenance and no fuel costs. Our trikes are unique and eye-catching; we have a strong brand presence, as well as environmental, social, and efficiency advantages over other delivery methods in dense urban areas. We are open to collaborating with other vehicle types to expand our impact; we promote the right-sizing of vehicles. Bike couriers are not our competition because they deliver documents and small parcels on demand, whereas Shift transports bulk volume goods on a regular, contacted basis.

Founding Story

Shift was founded by students and recent graduates with a shared vision to make a tangible difference, create empowering green jobs, and promote cycle-based technology. Deeply concerned about climate change, and each passionate about cycling and social justice, we brought all these together with the idea of using trikes to replace trucks. We were also inspired by cycle-delivery initiatives across Europe and Asia. The idea was very exciting for us: to ACTUALLY decrease CO2 emissions, demonstrate that bikes are viable multi-purpose vehicles, set an example for the changes we want to see, and create green jobs for ourselves and others! Vancouver seemed like a great place to make it happen, so we started planning. To honour the teamwork that was integral to our project, and to integrate our passion for social (as well as environmental) justice, we chose the worker co-operative model for our enterprise. We were interested in the autonomy, creativity, and empowerment the model would offer.
About You
Shift urban cargo delivery
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Organization
Organization Name

Shift urban cargo delivery

Organization Country

, BC, Vancouver

Country where this solution is creating social impact

, BC, Vancouver

Region in BC where your solution creates social impact


How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

The information you provide here will be used to fill in any parts of your profile that have been left blank, such as interests, organization information, and website. No contact information will be made public. Please uncheck here if you do not want this to happen..

How long have you been in operation?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Which of the following best describes the barrier(s) your solution addresses? Choose up to two

Quality, Equity.

Social Impact
Please describe the goal of your initiative; outline what you are trying to achieve

Our Vision is to build community resilience by transforming the urban goods movement industry and by shifting the way business is done.

Our Mission is to:
1. Provide innovative, low-impact urban goods movement solutions;
2. Offer an outstanding, personable and reliable service to business clients;
3. Create empowering and meaningful work through a worker co-operative model; and
4. Promote active transportation and increased use of the co-operative model.

We hope to establish a viable, sustainable delivery business in Vancouver; thus inspiring the eventual growth of a new cycle-based distribution industry across North America. We also hope to spread the use of the co-operative model. The UN has declared 2012 the Year of Co-ops in recognition of the socio-economic value of co-ops.

What has been the impact of your solution to date?

In our first year of operations we have:
-Replaced 10,115 km of truck travel with our cargo trikes
-Completed 14,550 deliveries in downtown Vancouver
-Prevented 8,030 kg of CO2 equivalent from being released
-Created five full-time green jobs shared among six member-owners of the co-op; skills building and shared decision making
-Doubled our business and client base, broadened our scope to include office supplies, produce, catering, and drycleaning
-Inspired the planned launch of a similar enterprises across Canada
- Helped to include and prioritize low-impact + cycle-based goods movement in the City of Vancouver's long-term transportation plan
-Shared our story through numerous presentations, class visits, and events
-Became members of organizations such as HUB, Loco, and the BC Co-op Association
-Did it all primarily with people-power! Our electricity use on the trikes was just 350 kWh-less than a typical household dryer uses in six months!

What is your projected impact over the next five years?

Our long-term goal is to replace 50,000km of truck trips by 2015, and we are well on our way! We estimate that in achieving this goal by January, 2015, we will also:
- Grow our fleet to 8-12 cargo trikes
- Employ 16-24 worker-members; provide benefits, involve members in strategic planning and decision making, continue to foster an empowering and creative workplace
- Complete 100,000 deliveries
- Reduce 18,000 kg of CO2eq emissions
- Create a new market and establish city support for sustainable goods movement
- Continue to share our story, support organizations with mission alignment, promote the co-op model, and encourage similar delivery ventures in other cities.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

The primary barrier we face is the availability of safe, reliable cargo trikes. Unfortunately, there are no trikes currently being produced that meet our industry's needs. Immediately, we overcome this barrier by sourcing the components of our trikes separately and by developing our own customized vehicle. In the long-term, we plan to address this by building partnerships to collaborate on the design and development of an effective, reliable, and locally-produced cargo tricycle delivery vehicle.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

Grow to Three Trikes Operating Full-Time

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Task 1

Build a resilient fleet- five trikes required for overlapping shifts and for a back-up trike

Task 2

Execute on sales strategy to bring on new major clients

Task 3

Build organizational capacity: systems and policies to ensure scalability of maintenance, hiring and training of new trikers

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

Warehouse Expansion- move into our own warehouse so we can offer our service to clients from anywhere!

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Task 1

Conduct a Feasibility Study confirming warehouse clients and market potential

Task 2

Develop a warehouse expansion plan outlining equipment sourcing needs, drop-off/pick-up logistics, & location considerations

Task 3

Identify the most suitable location, negotiate lease, and execute the move-in!

Tell us about your partnerships

The Vancouver Foundation, the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition, the City of Vancouver, and Vancity have been amazing funding partners through our launch and first year of operations. We also have memberships with The Canadian Worker Co-op Federation, the British Columbia Co-ops Association, Loco, and the Social Venture Institute.

Are you currently targeting other specific populations, locations, or markets for your solution? If so, where and why?

We believe that cargo trikes are the most appropriate technology for small and mid-sized packages in urban areas anywhere. As the first enterprise of its kind in Canada and one of the first in North America, our impact will be strongest in these areas.
We want to be copied. Another similar enterprise has already launched in Victoria, BC, and many other young entrepreneurs (from Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and even Edmonton) have contacted us to discuss the possibility of replicating our solution in their city. We've done our best to support them and will continue to develop resources to share.

What type of operating environment and internal organizational factors make your innovation successful?

Our internal values are appreciation, empowerment, and good work ethic. As a worker-owned social enterprise, we are privileged to attract incredibly passionate, dedicated, and hard-working employees. Each employee is offered an equal share of ownership in the business so that everyone has a strong personal motivation to excel in their role and ensure the success of the enterprise.

For this reason, we believe that the worker co-op model is ideally suited for innovative start-up projects.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list

We are seeking about $80,000 in investment this year to support our business development and fleet expansion. This will facilitate the growth and long-term sustainability/success of our social enterprise. We plan to meet this need from a variety of sources including investment from members, friends and family, as well as grants.
We can partner to offer promotional campaigns on our unique trikes.

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