Digital life insurance brand nowly – a division of Teachers Life – has announced the first recipients of its accelerator program for social entrepreneurs, with the insurer providing a total of $50,000 of seed funding to the six projects.
nowly’s Press Start CoLab program saw 50 participants aged 18 to 29 collaborate to plan innovative solutions to major social challenges. The program was also a welcome opportunity for the youth to build a community of peers from across Canada and establish a network which would last long after the program ends. The accelerator program kicked off in late June.
For its inaugural year, CoLab participants focused on three problem areas: climate change grief, misinformation spread and cultural sensitivities in mental healthcare. With the conclusion of this year’s program, six proposals were selected by industry experts to receive funding:
- Purple Lotus by Priyanshu Mahey & Cher Peng // A service and information platform that addresses cultural sensitivities in mental healthcare for Asian-Canadians.
- Frontline Baddies by Tracey Gaydosh & Aileen Tran // An online social support community for people working on the frontline of the opioid epidemic and housing crisis in western Canada.
- A Melanated Guide to Mental Health by Jessie Brar // A content series featuring culturally and racially specific curriculum to empower BIPOC Canadians on their mental health journeys.
- One Stop Mental Health by Chloe White & Erin Rebello // A first-of-its-kind accessible one-stop mental health resource platform that adapts to individual needs of LGBTQ2S+ and BIPOC Canadians.
- KNOW YOUR NATION by Mesgna Mesgna // A web app that "gamifies" civic education for school aged children to curb the spread of misinformation in public policy education in Canada.
- PREMIS by Amit Sharma, Ripdaman Malhans, Rohan Birk & Joshan Gill // An online health resource that combats misinformation by making scientific research accessible and digestible for all.
"Seeing what this year's CoLab participants have created together makes me optimistic about the future," said nowly Insurance chief marketing & social innovation officer Martha Turner Osborne. We wanted the output of this program to have real impact, which is why I am so excited to see these projects come to life over the next year. Each tackles an important issue in an innovative and thoughtful way that will lead to positive change."
"At nowly and Teachers Life, we are working to make a real difference in the communities in which we serve,” added nowly president & CEO Kayte Fredrickson. “We are particular about supporting innovative social impact programs that involve and consider youth and put education at the forefront of change-making.”
Recipients have a year to spend the funds to take their proposed solutions to the next stage. They will also continue to have access to resources and a peer support network created during the accelerator program.