Profit and purpose blooms in Vancouver’s downtown eastside


Phil Haid is co-founder and CEO of Public

Not unlike many of her generation, Megan Branson wasn’t impressed with her job prospects after graduating with a degree in community development. Seeing an opportunity for growth in the marketplace and a chance to generate social impact, the Vancouverite instead jumped into the world of entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurship, to be precise.

The Olla Urban Flower Project is a unique social purpose retail business with a mission to promote environmental sustainability and an investment in the community in which it’s located, Vancouver’s downtown eastside.

Considered the city’s oldest community, of the 18,000 residents who call the downtown eastside home, more than 65% are of low income and more than 700 are homeless. The area faces numerous challenges, including housing, unemployment, substance abuse and crime.

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