Activated by Innovate Calgary, the university’s knowledge transfer and business incubator, UCeed is a philanthropically powered early-stage investment program that accelerates UCalgary and community-based start-up companies to advance problem-solving research, create jobs and fuel the economy.

What is Social Innovation?

Social innovation is an initiative, product, process or program that profoundly changes the basic routines, resource and authority flows or beliefs of any social system.

Successful social innovations have durability and broad impact. While social innovation has recognizable stages and phases, achieving durability and scale is a dynamic process that requires both emergence of opportunity and deliberate agency, and a connection between the two. The capacity of any society to create a steady flow of social innovations, particularly those which re-engage vulnerable populations, is an important contributor to the overall social and ecological resilience.1

I often feel I am trapped inside someone else's imagination, and I must engage my own to break free.

adrienne maree brown

Social Impact

Applicants are encouraged to download the Reference Document and develop your responses prior to completing the application form as you will not be able to save during the submission process. Please see application deadlines below.

Social Impact Fund


$30,000 up to $300,000 investment (CAD)

Minimum Criteria:

  • Social enterprises including, non-profits, for-profit, charities, and cooperatives with demonstrable community benefit commercializing evidence-based solutions to issues.
  • UCeed Social Impact is open to a broad interpretation of social impact; however, priority will be given to opportunities that address pressing local and international issues. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals is a useful reference.
  • Must be incorporated prior to receipt of funds.
  • Must have demonstrable impact or operations in Alberta.
  • Minimum one (1) full-time employee within six (6) months of UCeed investment.
  • Ability to report on impact measures within six (6) months of UCeed investment. The Impact Management Project and Common Approach are helpful resources to begin learning.

About the UCeed Social Impact Fund

UCeed Social Impact Fund is powered by the generosity of the United Way of Calgary and Area and their mission to mobilize communities for lasting social change. The UCeed Social Impact Fund accelerates social purpose organizations using enterprising models to reach mission-critical milestones. These may include their next round of financing or attraction of management and resources to build value in the companies, and community. As an early-stage investment fund, UCeed uses outcome-based investment with funding to accomplish defined milestones.

UCeed Social Impact supports entrepreneurial thinking for students through a collaboration with the Calgary Social Value Fund.

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United Way donation plants seeds for social impact

Learn how a $2.5-million donation from United Way of Calgary and Area has helped to establish the UCeed Social Impact Fund.

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UCeed Social Impact Fund Information Session

An overview of the Social Impact Fund and discussion on eligibility and how this fund can advance your social enterprise with Jordana Armstrong, Associate Director, Clinical and Social Innovation, and Greg Mack, Senior Business Analyst, Seed Funds.

Watch now

How we invest

We invest in social enterprises that are working to solve pressing social and human problems with innovative and tested solutions. Key areas of intended impact include, but are not limited to: poverty alleviation, education, financial inclusion, health and wellness, re-skilling and up-skilling the next generation workforce, innovation to promote social, gender and economic equity, and innovation in the arts and cultural sectors. Enterprises solving issues related to agriculture, finance, energy, and the environment may be eligible, but are most aligned to UCeed Social Impact if they are making a meaningful impact for populations with barriers to access.

As an early-stage investor, we are looking for evidence that your innovation and business model have been tested with the customers and beneficiaries you seek to serve. We are looking for social entrepreneurs who are using innovative approaches to solving pressing social issues, and have a desire to measure and manage their intended social impact. We value social innovation, equity and inclusivity, collaboration, and those who bring perspective and a growth mindset to their approach.

Like you, UCeed Social Impact is committed to learning as we collectively embark on a journey to improve our communities, and as those needs change over time, we will evolve our investment approach to meet the evolving challenges.

Application deadline

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. The UCeed Social Impact Fund has four investment advisory meetings per year. To be guaranteed consideration in upcoming intake periods, applications must be submitted by the following deadlines: September 17, 2021 (round 2) and Dec 17, 2021 (round 3).

1 Westley, F. (2008). The Social Innovation Dynamic