Ottawa Social Impact Awards

The inaugural Ottawa Social Impact Awards are recognizing and celebrating the leaders in our community who are making a positive social impact through innovative, collaborative, and scalable initiatives and enterprises. A partnership between Impact Hub Ottawa and the City of Ottawa, the Awards seek to:
  • Highlight Ottawa-based community initiatives and social enterprises that have significant potential for growth and lasting impact;
  • Emphasize the power of the collective rather than the individual; and
  • Recognize social innovation in our community that is turning the status quo upside down.
From the launch of the award during the One Young World Summit in late September until October 28th, 2016, citizens from across the city have nominated almost 50 social enterprises and community-based initiatives by submitting a photo that captures the story of their innovative and collaborative impact. The community was also invited to vote for their favourite nominees until November 4th. The five nominees that received the most votes in each of the two categories were reviewed and evaluated by our independent panel of judges, and the two winners were announced by Mayor Jim Watson at the Museum of Nature on November 17th, 2016.


  • For the Social Enterprise category, nominees must be an organization (for-profit or non-profit) with a business model or earned revenue component of their operations
  • For the Community-based Initiative category, nominees must be a group of people collaborating on a project (does not have to be an incorporated or legal entity)
  • Individuals are not eligible, but can nominate their own group or organization
  • Nominees and their impact must be based in Ottawa


  • September 30th: Nominations open
  • October 28th: Nominations close
  • November 4th: Voting closes
  • November 17th: Winners announced

What do the winners receive?

The Ottawa Social Impact Awards aims to elevate the recipients' profile, expand their network, and enhance their capacity to do good better. The winners (of each category) will receive:
  • A one-year membership to Impact Hub Ottawa, a community of creative and entrepreneurial changemakers, and access to its collaborative workspace and resources
  • A meeting with senior City staff to exchange ideas and explore opportunities for collaboration
  • An opportunity to be featured on
  • A one-year membership to Kind Village, be recognized as an official Kind Business and be featured on
  • A reserved spot at Building Skills for Change, the first Ottawa workshop run by the Institute for Change Leaders
  • Two tickets to Unleashed, Ottawa’s premiere Social Enterprise conference, where the Awards will be presented to the winners

Meet the Judges

Catherine McKenney

Prior to being elected City Councillor for Somerset Ward, Catherine was an advisor to the Deputy City Manager, two City Councillors, and two Members of Parliament. She also worked as the Manager, Public Policy for Volunteer Canada and as Regional Manager for VoicePrint, which delivers print media in accessible format to people living with visual impairment.

George Brown

George Brown is a lawyer and social entrepreneur, having spent nine years as President of the Ottawa Community Loan Fund as well as 9 years as a City and Regional Councillor in Ottawa. George is also a Senior Research Fellow with the Carleton Centre for Community Innovation and Chair of United Way Ottawa’s Community Investment Committee.

Martina Buchal

Martina is the One Young World Coordinating Ambassador for North America. An internationally recognized speaker, coach, and peace practitioner, she has been traveling the globe listening to, empowering, and working with others to engage their voices and talents to create a more positive future for our planet.


Special thank you to Brilia Creative for designing the visual brand identity of the Ottawa Social Impact Awards!
The Ottawa Social Impact Awards are a legacy initiative of One Young World, the preeminent global forum for young leaders aged 18-30. The 2016 One Young World Summit took place in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada September 28-October 1, 2016.