Your path to meaningful self employment starts here.

Whether you're looking for a new path, playing with an idea or have a small social business you want to take to the next level,  our Explore, Build, and Test Market programs meet you where you're at and give you the confidence, skills, and resources you need to create something new.  Wherever you are on the journey, a Groundswell membership gets you connected to our ecosystem of resources and ongoing support.

Choose your starting point:

Have a product or service to test?
Late May start date

Want to find your next step?

Ready to turn your idea into something real?


Find your path forward. Get unstuck and open up the opportunities in front of you. We'll help you find your confidence and momentum and discover what it takes, and most importantly, what you already have inside of you, to create meaningful work for yourself through self-employment or social entrepreneurship. 

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  • Begin with an intensive weekend connecting with social entrepreneurs, learning about socially-driven innovation, and examining your own journey and ambitions.

  • Clarify your true strengths and weaknesses, and see which opportunities are in front of you through a personal SWOT analysis.

  • Connect with people just like you who have built their own self-employment or social business venture.

  • Engage with the Groundswell community of social change makers and entrepreneurs at regular potlucks and guest speaker events.

  • Stay connected and supported with our community and resources through Groundswell Membership after the program ends.

  • Discover where your skills and passion connect and how you could create self-employment or a social enterprise out of them.
Start date: September 14, 2018
Schedule: 4 weeks, Monday and Wednesday evenings, plus one Kick Off Weekend
Tuition: Early bird discount! $850 if you apply by May 16th. Regular: $950
Includes an annual Groundswell Membership.
Your entire Explore tuition can be applied towards the Groundswell Build program (up to $950 discount).

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Create your livelihood. Weave your ideas and skills with the change you want to make in the world and build a socially and environmentally conscious small business.

  • Get personalized 1-on-1 mentorship with every aspect of your business planning.

  • Learn how to make a positive social and environmental impact within a strong ecosystem of values-based entrepreneurs who are committed to helping each other.

  • Receive full access to coworking and event space and the chance to showcase your new social business at a celebratory launch event.

  • Get preferential access to the Groundswell Test Market and stay connected with our community and resources through Groundswell Membership after the program ends.

  • Learn within progressive and flexible modules with peer-to-peer accountability.

  • Test and validate your idea, product, or service by connecting with the people you want to serve.

  • Determine the viability of your idea and access professional legal, financial, and communications services to help you launch.

  • Explore financing opportunities to find investment and manage your budget.

  • Create a communications and marketing plan, as well as your own promotional materials.  

Dates: October 19, 2018 - March 13, 2019
Schedule: 20 weeks, Monday daytime and Wednesday evenings, 2 Saturday workshops, plus a Kick Off Weekend
Tuition: Early Bird discount! $3150 if you apply by May16th. Regular: $3500
Includes an annual Groundswell Membership
Explore program participants can apply their full Explore tuition to the price of Build as a discount (up to $950) and get priority enrolment.

test market

Take it live. Gain practical business skills while testing and refining your product in the Groundswell TEST MARKET (and making sales!), taking your business to Granville Island and bustling street festivals in Vancouver.  

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  • Showcase and sell your product or service at up to 10 public market days on Granville Island and at local festivals and street parties. 

  • Get an easy "in" to high traffic markets with little investment: we supply the tents, tables, etc., and build marketplace relationships for you. 

  • Reduce the risk of launching a new product or service by testing and refining it before you make a big investment.

  • Learn how to collect and incorporate feedback from real interactions with the buying public so you can improve your business offer.

  • Learn about pricing, marketing, bookkeeping, and communications at a series of expert-led workshops.

  • Amp up exposure for your new product or service with collaborative marketing and engagement efforts.

  • Receive personalized feedback and mentoring on your business, product, or service.

  • Connect to a strong network of socially-minded entrepreneurs and our resources through Groundswell Membership after the program ends.

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Kick Off Weekend May 25-26, 2018
Up to 10 market days on Granville Island, Tuesdays, June 26 - August 28
Mentoring and workshops during market days and June 20th, July 25th, August 1st.
Additional market days on weekends, TBA
Tuition & markets: $1200
Includes up to 10 market days, we supply the tents, tables, chairs
Includes an annual Groundswell Membership
BUILD program alumni get preferential placement in the Groundswell Test Market.

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Join a community of support. Whether you’re interested in learning about social enterprise or connecting with a values-aligned community, you’ll find the space and support to find, be, and create yourself.

  • Meet the people who can help you find a path to the work you’re meant to do.

  • Half-priced Groundswell workshops, co-working desks, and venue rentals.

  • Free access to monthly co-working mornings.

  • Access to TAG Teams (Together - Accountable - Goal Getting), peer led accountability circles to keep you motivated, on track and connected while building your social venture or new project.

  • Support and contribute to a grassroots movement for a more inclusive and vibrant local economy.

  • Surround yourself with a strong community of people who believe a better world is possible, and are working to create it.

  • Free access to monthly gatherings for potlucks, challenge jams, pitch sessions, and expert guest speakers.

  • A free 60-minute mentoring session with an experienced mentor, plus discounts on additional mentoring.

Annual memberships are available on a sliding scale:
$180 - Established entrepreneurs and professionals.
$95 - Groundswell alumni and other budding social entrepreneurs.
$35 - Queer, indigenous, people of colour, people with disabilities.
Note that this is not a voting membership.

Questions? Come to an info session.

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We'd love to chat one-on-one!

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