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Next Economy Conversations: Kalen Taylor of Purpose Construction
About this event
As we look to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, we know that now, more than ever, we cannot go back to the way things were. From the climate crisis to deep social inequalities, the challenges of our time require us to build the Next Economy – one that is regenerative, equitable, and prosperous for all.
Next Economy Conversations, the Centre for Social Innovation‘s monthly event series, is your chance to hear from incredible leaders helping to build this Next Economy. Learn about their work as well as their personal journeys, learnings, and visions for the future.
On Thursday June 24, Tonya Surman will sit down with Kalen Taylor, Executive Director of Purpose Construction, to discuss employment social enterprises, housing, and community-led approaches to creating systems change.
About our guest, Kalen Taylor
Kalen is a social entrepreneur and co-founder of three successful social enterprises, as well as the President of Winnipeg’s Social Enterprise Centre, and a founding board member of the Social Entrepreneurship Enclave in Winnipeg’s North End.
Since 2018, Kalen has served as the Executive Director of Purpose Construction, a social enterprise that combines social housing development and rehabilitation with trades training and employment run by and for people underrepresented in the skilled trades. Purpose Construction completes over $2.5 million in affordable housing repair annually, and currently has 4 single family affordable housing projects in development in Winnipeg’s North End, all of which are harnessing the power of social finance in the development process. Purpose Construction is run by and for people with barriers to entering the trades; recent immigrants and refugees, Indigenous people, women, people transitioning out of the justice system, members of the LGBTQ2+ community.
Prior to that, Kalen Taylor co-founded Aki Energy Inc., a nationally award-winning social enterprise that works with First Nations to build community owned renewable energy systems, training and employing 100% local installation labour. In Aki Energy’s first 5 years, they completed over $18 million dollars in renewable energy development in partnership with First Nations communities in Manitoba.
Kalen is also a co-founder of Aki Foods, an Indigenous-owned social enterprise that works with First Nations to strengthen healthy local food systems. Through Aki Foods, Kalen led the development of the Meechim Farm, Canada’s largest remote First Nations community farming project. The Meechim Farm continues to raise over 1,000 pastured chickens annually, selling affordable meat and eggs to local community members, and farming produce and raising traditional medicines on 17 acres in Manitoba’s remote North.
Kalen Taylor is a graduate of Oxford University’s Executive Social Finance Program, and took a lead role in developing Aki Energy’s $4.5 million dollar ‘Community Driven Outcomes Purchase,’ working with Raven Capital Partners to co-develop and deliver the first Indigenous community-led social outcomes purchase agreement in Canada. Kalen has an Executive Masters in Project Management from the Schulitz School of Business, and LEAN Green Belt certified through the Desaultes School of Management at the University of McGill, and is a graduate of Oxford University’s Executive Social Finance program.
About our host, Tonya Surman
Tonya Surman is fuelled by her belief in the power of collaboration and belonging. She knows that putting the right people in a room is only the first step in creating real change. You also need to build a culture where everyone knows that they have value and a voice to radically redesign our futures. She did this with the Centre for Social Innovation, which re-invented the workplace by collecting social purpose organizations under one roof. And it’s what she is doing with CSI’s affiliate charity, the Centre for Social Innovation Institute and Social Innovation Canada, unlocking the social innovation community to get at the root causes of problems. She knows building relationships between people is the foundation for a better world. It’s also a heck of a lot of fun!
Please note that we’ll use Zoom to connect. Details will be sent to confirmed registrants via email before the event.
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