The Local Economic Development Lab (LEDlab), initiated and closely supported by Ecotrust Canada and RADIUS SFU, incubates community-driven social innovation projects for a more vibrant and inclusive local economy in Vancouver‟s Downtown Eastside. We do this by partnering with local organizations and leaders, resourcing them with talented full-time graduate students, and working collectively with experts in a "Lab‟ format to develop shared skills and knowledge, collaborate, and test new ideas to change the local economic system over time.
LEDlab program objectives are to build, test and scale solutions that put money in the pockets of low income residents; enhance the capacity of individuals, organizations, and networks; and shift traditional patterns of power and resource use in the community in service of a more placebased and collaborative model of economic development.
Community Partner: EMBERS + Advisory Committee
Project: Handmade Downtown Eastside
EMBERS (Eastside Movement for Business & Economic Renewal Society) is a non-profit community economic development organization that works to combat poverty and assists in the revitalization of Vancouver‟s Downtown Eastside, through social enterprise and communitybased business development. Through employment services and small business training and
coaching, EMBERS mission is to empower people living on low incomes to be economically self-sufficient and develop productive futures.
In early 2017, the Community Economic Development Strategic Action Committee and LEDlab collaborated on a listening project to better understand the needs of low income entrepreneurs in the DTES, in particular those working in the informal economy and who have home-based businesses. Through this work we identified micro-food and catering businesses, and artists and makers (carvers, sewers, etc.) as two groups of low income entrepreneurs who might benefit from a strategic response to their identified needs.
Through the listening project, we heard that low income entrepreneurs, specifically makers, need:
- Places to sell things (outside the DTES) where they can charge a better price for their goods
- Places to produce/make things and store materials; low barrier makerspace, affordable commissary kitchen space, etc.
- Specific self-employment training (e.g. pricing goods and services, selling things online) in accessible formats (one on one, low barrier micro-workshops, peer-mentorship, support network)
The Lux Low Barrier Income Generation Hub is a new employment service innovation hub, which will be operated by EMBERS. A significant part of the Lux programming will be focused on supporting self-employment and micro-enterprise. The “Handmade Downtown Eastside” project will help to inform the self-employment training offered at the Lux, while building a broader movement of support for DTES micro-enterprises.
The goal of the project “Handmade Downtown Eastside” is to develop a program that intentionally and strategically connects low income DTES entrepreneurs (specifically makers) to existing community assets (production facilities) and new sales and distribution opportunities outside of the neighbourhood, in order to help grow their personal incomes and capacities in entrepreneurship. Ultimately, we hope that the program becomes a platform for collective advocacy, marketing, and a network of support for residents considering entrepreneurship to increase their livelihoods.
Your role will be to:
- Identify sales/distribution channels outside of the neighbourhood for DTES entrepreneurs
- Demonstrate financial feasibility for identified sales/distribution channels
- Research and expand a list of community assets that can be used for production and materials storage
- Compile and produce a list of self-employment resources to be used by Lux staff and low income entrepreneurs
- Design and implement information sharing / management processes and determine appropriate infrastructure to support this collaborative endeavor
- Maintain effective working partnerships with various organizations, agencies, and institutions who contribute to the project
- Support EMBERS in the development and implementation of a low barrier selfemployment training model at the Lux, as required
Is this you?
- You‟re a strong relationship-builder, you know how to listen to the needs of others and frame opportunities around them
- You are entrepreneurial-minded, you are creative in your approach to problem solving and you look for win-win solutions that advance multiple goals
- You‟re experienced in sales strategy, marketing, and business development
- You can develop a business case for a new idea, including financial projections, and are comfortable pitching new clients
- You are fascinated with new economic models. You think the economy is something that should work for people, and you want to contribute your skills and talent to making that happen.
- New sales/distribution partnerships developed for DTES entrepreneurs
- Database of community assets/production spaces documented for DTES entrepreneurs and new partnerships formed
- Compiled resources available to DTES entrepreneurs in an accessible format for use at the Lux
- Project Case Study and Final Outcomes Report due to LEDlab
- A minimum of two blogs about your experience as an LEDlab Project Coordinator
How to Apply: Please visit http://ledlab.ca/201718_hiring/ for an overview and instructions on how to apply by midnight June 13th, 2017.
- You are expected to work primarily out of the LEDlab offices in downtown Vancouver on a ~9-4 schedule, although flexibility can be given to students finishing course work.
- Funding for this position is provided by Mitacs Canada and stipends are fixed. You must be a graduate student at a Canadian university to apply. No exceptions. This is not an employee position. Candidates are expected to have their own laptop.