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Dean's Student Award for Social Innovation

The Ted Rogers School of Management (TRSM) students have a long history of using business education and entrepreneurship to make real social change in our community and around the world. It’s time to recognize you, and celebrate and honour your contribution, and provide funding to advance your community-building initiative(s). 

The Dean's Student Award for Social Innovation—funded by alumni and other external supporters of the Ted Rogers School of Management (TRSM)—is created to collectively recognize TRSM students’ contributions for community-building. The award, in the amount of $2,000 CAD, is presented annually to TRSM student(s) who have spearheaded a project, large or small, that has made a significant impact on the targeted community interest, has addressed a social interest or need, and brought some recognition to a specific cause.

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Top Three Finalists!

The winner receiving the highest number of votes for the 2020 Dean’s Award for Social Innovation is Future Farmers. We spoke to the three award finalists for 2020 and learned more about what inspired them to give back to their community, , how this award would help their initiative make a greater impact and why social innovation is so important to our communities.

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Future Farmers

2020 Winner!

Future Farmers is an art based research documentary and exhibit that explores food culture/access/sovereignty within the African diaspora, through a comparative analysis of Black-focused food sovereignty movement in Toronto, Canada and parts of America. This research started off during the 2019 Map the Systems competition. We conducted research and released a report on the barriers and challenges Black farmers experience within the food system and how they are adopting food sovereignty to tackle those problems. Our goal is to create awareness around the challenges and barriers faced by Black Canadians in accessing, growing and distributing food. And also connect community members to resources that exist within the community.

We hope this exploratory study will provide a foundation for knowledge sharing and coalition among the Black African diaspora to help shape the future of Black Food Sovereignty in Toronto, and educate the members of the community on how they can contribute to the movement and inspire the creation of a community based food system that is just and equitable.

Funds Allocation

The funds will be used to cover the expenses of creating the documentary and exhibit.

Typical student jobs don’t meet their needs. This is due to inflexible hours, micromanaging and low pay. We set out to change the way that students find work, by connecting them with customers in their area. This allows for flexible work, with a high level of autonomy and good pay.

So far, we have helped 65+ students find a total of 400+ jobs. This upcoming summer alone, we aim to do a total of 5000+ jobs, putting tens of thousands of dollars into students’ pockets, and helping them pay off their expenses and student debt.

Funds Allocation

Using the funds from the award, we would fund the development of an automated web-based system that will help run our operations, allowing us to provide more jobs for students.

LGBTQ2S+ youth and young adults only see themselves in 6.4% of prime time television characters. Out of this small amount of representation, many are seen to be problematic, hyper-sexualized, and stereotypical. In response, we have created  Queer Collective, a cyber safe space to share our REAL stories. Our mission is to provide accurate representation for every subgroup of the LGBTQ2S+ community. Queer Collective is committed to creating accurate and positive digital representation for every subgroup of the LGBTQ+ community, alongside providing community-building events. We accomplish this by bringing together local creatives to pool their skills and resources. This provides community members with the opportunity to stay in control of the narrative while sharing their talents and REAL stories. Through The Queer Collective, we will help give a voice to those who are underrepresented in the media and our educational institutions to help share our stories and in turn create the education, sense of community, and true representation that all of us are so desperately seeking.

Funds Allocation

Allocated funds will be used in the development of our video content and in our marketing. Approximately $1,500 will be used in the purchase of video equipment to better develop our interviews and creative concert videos. the remaining $500 will be used to create business cards, stickers and other forms of advertising such as posters and digital ads.

All Ted Rogers School of Management student(s) projects-irrespective of size or geographic location-that focus on community engagement and social justice, are eligible for this award.

All TRSM full- and part-time students, who have participated in the project during 2018 and 2019 are eligible and are highly encouraged to enter. Projects that have previously won are not eligible. No project is too small or too big.

The submission period has ended for the 2020 Dean's Student Award for Social Innovation.

How do I apply for the award?

Eligible projects can only be submitted by students currently enrolled at TRSM with a valid Ryerson email account, through an online Submission Form.

Students must:

  • Describe their project and highlight its social impact in 150 words.
  • Include a photo and a statement of 25 words, clearly articulating the intent to use the funds from the award to advance the project, or another social initiative.
  • In addition, students will be asked if their projects have received additional funding, internally and externally.
  • You can submit your own project or encourage your friends to post theirs.

See the projects submitted for the 2019 award.


A review committee comprising of internal and external members will review all submissions. Top three projects will be announced as finalists on March 3, and voting will open to the TRSM community for selection of winner.

All TRSM students, faculty members and staff will have the opportunity to vote during the “Voting period” between March 3-April 9, 2020. Each member of TRSM can vote for one of the top three finalists during the voting period.

All TRSM students, faculty members and staff, will be invited to vote between March 3 and April 9, 2020. A review committee comprising of internal and external members will review all submissions. Top three projects will be announced as finalists on March 3rd and voting will open to the TRSM community for selection of winner.

Student(s) whose project receives the most eligible votes, will be presented with the award at the TRSM annual Volunteer & Donor reception in May. In the case of a tie in the number of votes, the voting period will be extended for 24 hours.

Number of recipients

One award will be presented to a student or group of students in one academic year.

Top three projects will be announced as finalists on
March 3

Winner of the 2019 Dean's Student Award for Social Innovation

Submitted by: Anthony Garcia

OneStop, is an online platform that helps address the needs of local grocery stores and unemployed youth by helping them gain economic opportunities. This is done with an application that allows small grocery stores to promote and sell their produce and products, while offering same day delivery. With a focus on helping cultural grocery stores we plan to highlight and spread Toronto’s caring and diverse culture.

Fund Allocation

The funds would be used to help our team finish our prototype to help local businesses grow and expand their customer base while increasing employment for marginalized youth.