Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

Nov. 9, 2021

UCeed Social Impact Fund receives $2M support from Government of Alberta

Unique partnership will strengthen communities across the province

A $2 million investment over four years from the Government of Alberta’s Ministry of Culture and Status of Women, through Creative Partnerships Alberta, will strengthen community impact across the province through the UCeed Social Impact Fund.

UCeed was launched in June 2020 in the midst of the global pandemic, when the economy was struggling and the future seemed uncertain. But the strength of the entrepreneurial spirit, and determination to diversify the economy in Alberta, propelled UCeed to quickly include four funds: Child Health and Wellness, Health, Haskayne Student Fund, and Social Impact.

  • Photo above, from left: John Wilson (CEO Innovate Calgary), Beth Gignac (chief impact and innovation officer, United Way of Calgary and Area), Ron Orr (minister of culture), Jason Copping (minister of health), Dr. Ed McCauley (president and vice-chancellor, UCalgary), Jordana Armstrong (associate director for social and clinical innovation, Innovate Calgary). 

The early-stage investment funds are backed by philanthropic support and accelerate UCalgary and community-based startup companies to advance problem-solving research, create jobs and fuel the economy. Thanks to a generous $2.5-million-dollar gift earlier this year from United Way of Calgary and Area, the Social Impact Fund was born.

“We are grateful to the Government of Alberta for their commitment to UCeed’s Social Impact Fund that will provide much-needed investment for startup companies making an impact in the community,” says Dr. Ed McCauley, UCalgary president and vice-chancellor.

Together with support from United Way of Calgary and Area, this partnership brings together a leading university and community partner with the provincial government. Through UCeed we can demonstrate how in an environment where innovative ideas are welcome, entrepreneurialism can flourish, and transformational social impact is possible.

The UCeed Social Impact Fund will provide early-stage loans and equity investment to support the development of social purpose organizations and non-profits, focused on making positive changes in communities across Alberta. Activated by UCalgary’s knowledge transfer and business incubator, Innovate Calgary, UCeed is transforming the investment landscape by providing much-needed capital to fill the gap between government grants and private equity, often referred to as "the valley of death."

“UCeed is the first of many collaborations and programs under our new Creative Partnerships Alberta strategy to spark investment and build partnerships between the arts, non-profit, philanthropy and the business sectors,” says Ron Orr, minister of culture.

“Sustainable non-profit and arts sectors are important to Alberta’s social, emotional and economic recovery. That’s why we’re supporting social enterprises that will improve Albertans’ quality of life, address social challenges, and help grow local economies.”

The University of Calgary is leading the way for social innovation by continuing to add capacity for this priority area in the innovation ecosystem. By linking social innovation-based activity, creating disruption for social good, and building a community of collaborators, social innovators will build stronger communities and improve the quality of life for Albertans.

UCeed Social Impact Fund is supported by the generosity of United Way of Calgary and area and their mission to mobilize communities for lasting social change, the Government of Alberta through the Creative Partnerships Alberta initiative, and private philanthropists and social enterprise champions.