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SVZ Startups Respond to COVID-19

How some ventures have shifted their focus to help local and global communities during the pandemic
April 16, 2020

This week marks one month since the Social Ventures Zone began operating virtually, opens in new window and remotely in the wake of COVID-19 and physical distancing rules. One month may not seem like a very long time, but during these past few weeks many startups and organizations have found themselves reflecting on their purpose and how they can serve the community during this difficult time. How can we use our privilege, resources, and unique tools to alleviate the many challenges that have risen as a result of this new normal? 

Startups at our Zone are no exception. At the Social Ventures Zone we have been working closely with our startup teams to help support their new COVID-19 initiatives, campaigns, fundraisers and new ways of doing their work so they can grow their social impact.

Our startups lead impact in various industries. Here are a few updates from SVZ companies working on COVID-19-related initiatives to support local and global communities.

Ample Labs

Ample Labs, opens in new window is building COVID-BOT, external link, opens in new window, a free and easy to use chatbot that anyone can use to learn safety tips, public health information on COVID-19 and available mental health support.

Ample Labs is striving to ensure everyone is knowledgeable during the panedmic and knows how to protect themselves, in order to protect the homeless community who is at twice the risk of being impacted by COVID-19. 

Fingerprints Inc.

Fingerprints Inc. is providing the google formAt-Home Experience Program, external link, opens in new window that offers peer-to-peer learning for students in grades 4-8 as a supplement to their education goals as they learn from home during this period. The program will pair them with mentors in grades 9-12 and create a mutually beneficial learning experience.

Mentors and parents are equipped with a training manual co-created with educators and Fingerprints Inc.'s partners in the education industry in order to create a supportive learning environment at home.

Mayana Genevière

The ethical luxury lingerie brand is making face masks, external link, opens in new window for adults and children, in response to the global shortage of medical masks for healthcare workers and recommendations for the public to wear face coverings during essential outings. 

Following their brand ethos, opens in new window, the organization is also donating a portion of each purchase to make FDA-approved gowns for midwives to wear to visits and home births during the pandemic, so they can stay safe and protected.

Tight Knit Syria

To protect the health and safety of their artisans in refugee camps in Lebanon, Tight Knit Syria temporarily halted production and set up an emergency fund to assist them. Refugees in Lebanon are not receiving governmental or humanitarian support during the pandemic, and they are isolating themselves in small spaces at densely populated camps.

The COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund by Tight Knit Syria, external link, opens in new window aims to provide financial supports to the artisans and help them cover their daily living costs like rent, food, electricity, medication and other daily necessities. 

NIKU Farms

It’s business as usual for the farm-to-door organic meat delivery subscription, external link, opens in new window service, but NIKU is ensuring maximum safety of food handling by providing contactless delivery to customers' doors. They were recently on Foodism Toronto's list of the best restaurants and retailers offering food delivery services, external link, opens in new window.

Spent Goods

Spent Goods, external link, opens in new window transforms spent grains from breweries into delicious bread and snacks that curb food waste. Spent Goods is helping households get their bread by skipping the lineups at busy grocery stores and getting it delivered instead. BlogTO featured Spent Goods on their list of bread and bakery delivery options in the city, external link, opens in new window.  


Savyn is offering free guided breathing exercises, external link, opens in new window on their website to help individuals cope with anxiety and stress triggered by COVID-19. They are offering these exercises in English, Arabic, and Mandarin.

Savyn provides proven clinical interventions for PTSD aimed to support refugees and immigrants.

The SVZ is thrilled to be supporting organizations with social purpose at the core of their business and we're proud of our startups who are solving various probelms during this time and focusing on people. We are currently accepting applications to our Spring cohort. To learn more or to apply, click here.

We would also like to thank all essential workers on the frontlines during the pandemic, ensuring our communities are safe, protected, fed and supported.