Groundswell is a non-profit society providing accessible education to support the creation of meaningful employment and social ventures. We provide space for young ideas and young ventures to connect, flourish, and contribute to the local economy. Our vision is a regenerative, collaborative economy where each individual can contribute meaningfully and find purpose in their life through their work.
The concept of community is central to what we do and how we do it.
We are an inclusive community of everyday people from a variety of backgrounds and life experiences, and with a wide range of skills and interests. We are united by a drive to make the world a better place through our work. Through our programs, individuals build community based social ventures that are authentic to themselves and that grow organically from idea stage, to development, to launch, to the marketplace, with the support of our greater community of alumni, mentors and professional partners.
Our Core Values
Action! Groundswell is committed to using our critical thinking to create solutions with impact. We believe in thoughtful, deliberate, and reflexive action as a means of creating positive change.
Collaboration We are better together! Positive change is best attained by fostering our collective energy, learning from one another, and bridging sectors. Groundswell is committed to collaborating with a spirit of respect, curiosity, and accountability.
Innovation & Creativity Groundswell believes in new, bold ideas and creative approaches to building a stronger, more inclusive community and economy. We are shifting the economic paradigm by valuing all that enriches life on this planet.
Environmental, Social & Economic Justice Groundswell stands in solidarity and support for equitable distribution of social, natural, and financial resources in order to unconditionally ensure that every individual has their basic human needs met, and has full opportunities for development and wellbeing.
Two elements of Groundswell are fundamental to our work:
1. Alternative education and programming that catalyzes social venture development and supports budding social entrepreneurs, especially those marginalized by the dominant economic system.
2. A clubhouse that is a physical hub of social enterprise for our members and the public to connect, celebrate and create in.
Through these elements we:
foster entrepreneurial and community building skills
bridge sectors: eastside and westside, traditional and innovative, private and public
support an ecosystem of change making individuals and projects here in Vancouver, BC, on unceded Coast Salish territory
Our alternative education principles:
Learning by doing. Not learning about, learning how, and learning through partnerships, in community.
Dynamic curriculum. A dynamic relationship between program and participants to meet different needs.
Group based. Community skill building, and using social experience for social solutions.
Holistic. Balancing the self in the world with hopes, responsibility and action.
We are building a community of people trying to figure out better ways to think of economic life – for themselves, their friends, their neighbours and their communities.
Our motivation and inspiration
The founding of Groundswell was motivated by the under-, mis- and unemployment, the debt, and the precarity that many people face today, married with the desire and the need do good, transformative work that betters society and the planet as opposed to the meaningless work that propels destruction of culture, justice, and the natural environment. We are inspired by cooperative models like Mondragon, the Bologna coops, the autonomista movement in Argentina and much else, where people collaborate for the common good.