September 20, 2022

Episode #79: The Brief: Addressing Safety and Wellness in Alberta Communities

When we think about safety and wellness, we often think that it is a social issue. But what if we can harness the power of entrepreneurship and apply economics and business solutions to social challenges such as safety and wellness?

One Alberta accelerator is looking to do just that.

On this episode, we’re talking to Ashif Mawji, a serial entrepreneur, philanthropist, venture capitalist, mentor, and community builder.

Ashif joins the show to discuss his involvement in co-founding TELUS’ Community Safety & Awareness Accelerator, a first-of-its-kind accelerator focused on addressing the social and safety challenges facing the Edmonton community.

From supporting entrepreneurs, to protecting our communities, Ashif discusses the value of safety in business, his passion for entrepreneurship, and the opportunities for growth at a global scale in changing how we approach safety in our communities.

NOTE: This episode references a 2021 Social Impact Audit from the Edmonton Police Services which found that $7.5 billion in investments is made annually into social support and community services in Edmonton. However, it is important to note how this funding was allocated among the different focus areas and organizations. Funding that goes to specific agencies looking to address social challenges in the community comprise only a fraction of this total amount.

  • $2.1 billion towards community social service charities
  • $298 million towards public and private foundations
  • $1.3-$1.5 billion to addictions and mental health services
  • $782 million towards first responders
  • $3 billion directed to government cash transfers to individuals requiring social assistance and considered low income

A number of successes have emerged from this funding, including a 40% reduction in houselessness in the Edmonton area between 2008 and 2019, with only $200 million of support from the overall total. This topic remains an important conversation that we will continue in future episodes.

In this episode:

  • Ashif’s belief in community
  • Ashif’s entrepreneurial passion and journey
  • Investing with the Scale Good Fund
  • Seriousness of challenges facing our downtowns
  • Catalyst to TELUS’ Community Safety & Wellness Accelerator
  • Defining safety and wellness
  • Track record of the Accelerator
  • Alberta’s entrepreneurial spirit
  • Data as fuel and the value of quality data
  • Value of for-profit solutions in addressing safety
  • Social impact companies and their draw for millennials
  • The role of police
  • Including entrepreneurial learning in education


About The Brief

In this series, co-hosts Scott Crockatt and Brittany Brander explore the big challenges we face as Albertans; celebrate stories of growth, innovation, and prosperity; and discover bold ideas to make life better for Albertans.

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