Social Innovation Award

Students in the School of Public Policy and Administration undertake creative projects for social good. Through all its programs, SPPA helps students advance innovation for public benefit. Through the donor-supported Graduate Awards in Social Innovation, selected students receive funding to research and implement creative, high impact projects that can assist nonprofits, charities and social enterprises in addressing major social and environmental issues.

Applicants propose a brief description and rationale for an original project in social innovation, which are adjudicated by a committee.  The successful students work closely with a faculty member and with partner nonprofits.

Ben Faveri is a recipient of the Graduate Award in Social Innovation for 2020:

Brief bio

Benjamin Faveri is a Master of Public Policy and Administration student that has received the Canada Graduate Scholarship-Masters (SSHRC), Ontario Graduate Scholarship and Social Innovation Graduate Fellowship to support his research. He holds undergraduate degrees in Criminology and Psychology and Certificates in Global Entrepreneurship and Foreign Intelligence Assessment. He works as a research assistant on projects surrounding: Indigenous food security, health and fisheries management; e-commerce for community-made products in Gjoa Haven, Nunavut; jury decision-making; and data governance policy on police body-worn cameras evidence management.

Alongside my full-time studies, I have built and continue to build a small business. Starting quite small when I was 18 years old, it has now grown to fully support my schooling and living expenses. It has taken considerable time and effort to find ways to improve, automate, and research new product lines to aid in its growth. I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to partner with people internationally, granting me access to markets that were inaccessible before those partnerships, allowing each of us to share in the successes and hardships of our ventures.

Project write-up

Nunavut’s unemployment rate is almost three times the Canadian national rate, with Nunavut youth (ages 15-24) experiencing an even higher unemployment rate at almost four times the Canadian national rate. This contributes to the debilitating poverty level that Nunavut residents face. Creating jobs within these communities is difficult given their dispersed population and poor access to trade with outside markets. However, many Nunavut communities now have Internet access. Before having Internet access, community members could only sell within their communities. The Internet brings the potential to sell community products outside the community, presenting an entrepreneurial opportunity to community members. This project will focus on Gjoa Haven, Nunavut. Gjoa Haven community members and their Hunters and Trappers Association (HTA) have expressed support in mentoring community members to run small e-commerce businesses. Moreover, Nunavut and its surrounding regions have desired resources that most non-Nunavut populations do not have access to. If members of these communities can successfully take advantage of this opportunity, then maybe unemployment and poverty can be decreased in Nunavut and its surrounding regions.