The Social Ventures Zone at Ryerson University is home to unique entrepreneurial initiatives that are designed to make a positive impact in a variety of communities, both in Toronto and beyond. See all of our profiles here.
Who’s involved in this project?
Akhil Sivanadan, co-founder and marketing lead, and Navodit Babel, co-founder and development lead.
What are your goals for this project?
AS: Green Story emerged from an ongoing conversation between Navodit and myself. We kept talking about how to tip the economy from its current unsustainable reality to a green reality. Those conversations lead to Green Story, a marketing tool that combines hard data with interactive visuals. This allows companies to easily share their positive impact with customers. At its core, Green Story is about helping consumers choose greener products.
What is the biggest challenge you’re facing?
AS: Right now our biggest challenge is connecting with a client of significant scale who can really display how Green Story independently improves conversion rates and increases sales.
Can you explain the mentorship process available to you through the Ryerson Social Ventures Zone (SVZ)?
AS: Through the SVZ we were matched up with mentors based on Green Story’s needs and our needs as founders. This was done through an assessment by Alex Gill (SVZ director) and Anne Pringle (former SVZ coordinator). We were assigned two mentors, both of whom were very hands-on. They helped us win new clients, grow our network, win grants and really get ready to scale up.
The Ryerson SVZ is all about leveraging innovation to make a social impact. How will your project affect the communities you’re targeting?
AS: Green Story’s innovation lies in applying digital tools to complex impact data. We make environmental and social impact clear to the consumer, which translates into increased sales. Our ultimate goal is to support consumers in choosing greener products by giving companies the tools they need to express their positive impact. We believe that by improving green sales we will shift towards a green economy.
Have you been able to obtain any feedback from people who stand to benefit from your project? If so, what have they told you?
AS: We have been fortunate to receive positive feedback from our clients and their customers. People consistently share that they like to see the impact of their particular purchase in real numbers, like water saved and emissions avoided. We worked with Ungalli Clothing Co. on their Recycled Joggers Kickstarter campaign, using custom impact calculators to show the environmental impact of support.
Hailey Hollinsworth, Ungali’s founder and CMO, has said that “Green Story has added immense value and legitimacy to our sales. Our customers have told us that they love to see the difference their purchase makes in real world terms.”
What kind of public or private partnerships are you hoping to make (if any) to help grow your project?
AS: We’re always looking to engage with both the public and private sectors in order to encourage consumers to choose green. Whether its connecting with major players in sectors like green fashion or working with government agencies that encourage greener lifestyles, we believe that ushering in the green economy requires a new level of collaboration between public and privates sectors.
Imagine if you could scale up your project to its full potential. What would that look like?
AS: We’ve imagined this a lot! At its full potential we see Green Story helping one billion individuals make greener choices in their purchases.
Timing is a crucial factor that contributes to the success of a social venture. Why is now the right time for your project?
AS: Now is the perfect time to support consumers in choosing green. Not only is it critical in terms of mitigating climate change and slowing (ideally halting) environmental destruction, but the level of awareness around social and environmental impacts is only growing. Now is the crucial time for companies to show their positive impacts, the crucial time to support those companies and the crucial time to push more companies into going green.
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