SVI Storytelling through Axiom News

After SVI Hollyhock 2011, first time attendee Fraser Wilson, President of Axiom News, commissioned the Axiom team to follow-up with a handful of SVI participants to interview them and share their story.

Axiom News is a stakeholder news agency that writes mostly untold stories of people and initiatives throughout organizations or movements that share a wealth of knowledge, inspire others by example and influence a culture of possibility.

Axiom creates the stories and articles through the provision of Generative Journalism, founded on the principles of Appreciative Inquiry, a strengths-based, capacity-building approach for propelling organizations towards their highest potential.

Through this appreciative inquiry, Axiom staff captured great insight and experience from recent SVI Hollyhock participants. Check out short excerpts from the articles below.

Adjusting Capitalism Back to its Essence
New social venture incubator, accelerator intended to revolutionize field
Friday October 14, 2011 -- Michelle Strutzenberger
Growing up in the tiny fishing town of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, a subsistence-based economy familiar with boom or bust, Kirby Brown experienced firsthand the power of community.  “The sense of reliance on your neighbours is a very real one,” Kirby recalls. “It's not even necessarily a conscious decision, it's just part of how you live.”

Air Miles for Social Change Director Aims to Harness Power of Business to Make Better World
Broad-appeal product, partnerships critical to scaling social business: Owen Ward
Friday October 7, 2011 -- Michelle Strutzenberger
When he was 21, Owen Ward took a year off and travelled the world, mainly through developing countries, where he was struck by the grinding poverty, and prevalence of things that “just aren’t right.”  “That trip pierced through the armour of my existence and really reached into my heart and changed me,” Owen recalls.  “I realized that not only did I feel compelled from a moral perspective but it meant a lot to me to help in any I could.”  Having attended business school and launched several start-ups, Owen had already discovered one of his core strengths to be in business development. Click to read the full article. 

SVI: An Unconventional, Necessary Approach to Enterprise Building
Sustainival executive producer Joey Hundert credits 4-day forum as advancing social business
Tuesday October 4, 2011 -- Camille Jensen
Friday afternoon at the Social Venture Institute (SVI) on Cortes Island: an impromptu group of 60 people start intimate one-on-one conversations about how they can do business together or support each other’s work. The self-organized session saw people jump from table to table engaging with others, and for participant Joey Hundert, is resulting in new business propositions and meaningful personal connections. “I saw several times the volume of business getting done than at a traditional business conference in a way more relaxed and amiable environment, which was unique,” recalls the first-time participant of the four-day event at Hollyhock dedicated to supporting and connecting social entrepreneurs. Click to read the full article.

Social Entrepreneur Finds Tribe in Social Venture Forum
Support for leaders in movement, who face unprecedented challenges, is noteworthy: Mike Rowlands
Monday October 3, 2011 -- Michelle Strutzenberger
In 2009 brand consultant Mike Rowlands was working hard to move his company Octopus Strategies to a client portfolio that was entirely mission-based. While many of his clients were already driven by an environmental or social focus, Mike says 100 per cent was his goal -- and he was struggling to realize that. Then he had the opportunity to attend Social Venture Institute, an annual, multi-day forum dedicated to connecting and supporting those running socially conscious businesses. Click to read the full article.

Nicole Bridger Creates Socially Conscious Clothing
Company shows designer labels can be conscious
Friday September 30, 2011 -- Jennifer Neutel
Nicole Bridger is sewing something different into the fabric of her clothing design company — a philosophy to do what is right for the Earth, its people and spirit. Nicole Bridger Design, which has a boutique in Vancouver, features a women’s line of socially conscious clothing that is “effortless, luxurious and makes people feel sexy and special in their every day.”  Nicole says taking care of the Earth through using sustainable fabrics from natural and renewable resources with low impact dyes is what she believes is the right thing to do. She grew up living a conscious lifestyle, and the values are ingrained. Click to read the full article.

Building Lasting Relationships: SVI Nourishes Social Entrepreneurs
Coordinator Heidi Hartman says developing space for participants to be vulnerable is rewarding career
Wednesday September 28, 2011 -- Camille Jensen

When Social Venture Institute (SVI) co-ordinator Heidi Hartman decided to stand in front of participants and share how she’d recently moved to Vancouver and was looking for friends, she didn’t know how fortunate her appeal would be.  Four years later, from the six women who approached her immediately after her talk, three are among Hartman’s most cherished friends.  Establishing a space for meaningful connection is a driving force behind Hartman’s work planning SVI, a four-day intensive, interactive inquiry into the day-to-day challenges of running a socially-conscious enterprise. Click to read the full article.

SVI Attracts Talent to Change the World through Business
Co-founder of Give Something Back Office Supplies inspired by event convening social purpose entrepreneurs
Tuesday September 27, 2011 -- Camille Jensen
There was night kayaking to view marine life that glowed, nourishing vegetarian fare, and lively evening festivities, but Mike Hannigan says the Social Venture Institute’s (SVI) real attraction was the many talented people using business for social good.  The president of Give Something Back Office Supplies was a first-time participant to the 16th annual SVI retreat at Hollyhock on Cortes Island. The event brings together 140 business leaders and social entrepreneurs for an intensive, interactive inquiry into how to face the day-to-day challenges of running a socially-conscious enterprise. Click to read the full article.

Junxion Strategy in the Exciting Playing Field of Social Venture
Canadian consulting firm finds India ripe for social business
Monday September 26, 2011 -- Michelle Strutzenberger
From the abundance of opportunities with small to medium business in India to eager interest from extraction companies in West Africa, Michael Rowlands of the recently restructured Canadian consulting firm, Junxion Strategy, sees an exciting playing field before him in the social venture sector.  Rowlands, owner of Octopus Strategies, merged his company with a former and “most respected competitor” Junxion Strategy last month, a move both he and his new partner Peter ter Weeme see as a decided catapult forward in their mutual drive to “move the needle on social responsibility.” Click to read the full article.

Building a Better World through Investing in Women
Passion, awareness and programs moving women entrepreneurship forward
Friday September 23, 2011 -- Jennifer Neutel
Women passionate about the power of women entrepreneurs to build a better world are working to remove barriers and empower more women to be successful in their business ventures.  Donna Morton recently spoke with Axiom News about her time as an Unreasonable Institute fellow this summer. Donna says people were commenting that having nine women out of 26 fellows was a notable number, making women entrepreneurship a common conversation.  Donna, First Power co-founder and CEO, is exploring how to change the way investors see women to promote more investing in their enterprises, and how to change the way women see themselves when pitching. Click to read the full article.

Social Venture Institute Creates Transformative Experiences
Event convenes socially-conscious entrepreneurs, investors and leaders
Friday September 9, 2011 -- Jennifer Neutel
Socially-conscious CEOs, entrepreneurs and investors will be sharing their experiences in a rejuvenating environment at Social Venture Institute (SVI) Sept. 14-18.  The 16th annual SVI Hollyhock takes place at the Hollyhock Centre on Cortes Island in British Columbia, an internationally renowned centre for learning and well-being.  Presented by Renewal and Social Venture Network, SVI was founded by Gary Hirshberg, president and CEO of Stonyfield Farm. Click to read the full article.

Read more inspirational stories about Social Business on the Axiom News site.