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Ecotrust Canada

Local Economic Development Lab.

The Urban Economic Innovation Lab (the Lab) is a place-based initiative which will generate, implement, and scale innovative community-designed and driven ideas for a vibrant and inclusive local economy in Vancouver’s inner city, with relevance, we hope, for other urban contexts. A deep collaboration between Ecotrust Canada, RADIUS SFU, and a growing number of inner city partners, the Lab is designed to support community organizations, local governments, entrepreneurs and civil society in working together to activate the recently passed Downtown Eastside (DTES) Local Area Plan (LAP), catalyzing opportunities for inner city residents and organizations to increase their economic independence. The Lab will work closely with community stakeholders over three years to identify current challenges, and test potential solutions using rapid prototyping/assessment and business model development methodologies. The Lab will also provide 30 living wage, full-time internship opportunities for graduate students able to advance this work in strategic ways, which helps address a labour market and talent gap in Canada’s social economy through training and development opportunities, while adding rigour to our analysis of what works, and what can be shared.