Six groups, five minutes, $9,000 to support social change

Hundreds will flow the Kelowna Community Theatre next week to participate in audience real-time voting to support social entrepreneurship in their community. At stake: a $5,000 top prize and mentorship in kind from KPMG, a $3,000 second price and $1,000 third-placed prize.

Six local social enterprises that will have five minutes each to fast-pitch their business model, sharing how their organization (for-profit, non-profit, charity or youth led)  can tackle some of society’s most difficult challenges. Through live voting, the audience will pick the best social impact initiatives to win cash and in-kind services to further their cause.

Okanagan Changemakers and event-sponsor Valley First,  announced this year’s six finalists for ChangeUp3:
Volinspire – A community engagement software and mobile app focused on volunteering

Start Fresh – Catering business providing educational opportunities to vulnerable community members

Hope for the Nations – Provides free breakfast in 30 schools across Central Okanagan

Junior Achievement – Teaches young people financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and work skills

Change Gamers – I CAN App provides safe, fun and engaging way for youth to get involved in creating a positive impact in their world
Silver Surfers – Reduces isolation in seniors by teaching them how to use technology

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“We are thrilled to be partnering with Okanagan Changemakers for this event, and supporting these entrepreneurs,” says Valley First president Susan Ewanick. “Events like ChangeUP are so inspiring for aspiring and serial entrepreneurs alike, and we couldn’t be more excited about this year’s finalists.”

Headlining at the event is EY World Entrepreneur of the Year, Murad Al-Katib, founder of AGT Foods and Ingredients based in Saskatchewan. His keynote address will share his story of building a business empire that is leading the way in sustainable agriculture.

“Through his vision and approach, Murad has transformed an industry and today leads a company which has seen exceptional growth in the last decade,” says Mark Weinberger, CEO of Ernst & Young (EY). “He also demonstrates a clear purpose by embodying compassionate entrepreneurship, using his capabilities to make a positive impact by feeding millions and educating refugee families. Murad’s success and passion make him an exemplary EY World Entrepreneur of The Year winner.”

AGT Foods is a global leader in lentils and other pulses, buying form local producers and selling them around the world. Headquartered in Regina, AGT under Al-Katib’s leadership has grown into one of the world’s largest lentil companies, handling about a quarter of the global supply.

Through AGT, Al-Katib delivered 700 million refugee meals made of Saskatchewan lentils, chickpeas, and wheat into the United Nations and International Red Cross and Red Crescent Syrian refugee programs. His efforts earned him the 2017 Oslo Business for Peace Award.

“AGT is committed to building a successful and sustainable business,” he says. “By taking risks and rethinking the approach to my industry, we have grown the business responsibly and transformed Canada’s agricultural industry.”

Tickets are available for the November 2 event at

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