David Harris-Koblin is currently completing his Master’s degree at the School of Public Administration at UVic. David is a Project Coordinator with LEDlab, working with the Hastings Crossing Business Improvement Association (HxBIA) on connecting local businesses, social enterprises and non-profits.
As part of my LEDLab project, Building a Sales Pipeline for Social Enterprise, I have been working with the Hastings Crossing Business Improvement Association (HxBIA) to promote a shift within the business culture in the Downtown Eastside (DTES), specifically advocating for the strengthening of relationships between business/property owners and nonprofit/social enterprise leaders. This initiative seeks to reconceptualize cross-sector partnerships as both socially positive, as well as economically viable and advantageous.
The initial focus of this project was an environmental scan of HxBIA’s membership, in an effort to better understand the community’s concerns, goals, and visions for the future of the neighbourhood. From this preliminary study, several conclusions were drawn: chiefly, that many DTES businesses are already committed to producing positive social change, but lack the knowledge or tools to operationalize their values. Accordingly, LEDlab, in collaboration with HxBIA has been developing a toolkit, including a User Journey Map, online forums, directories, and other internal documents to empower local businesses’ capacity to build outbound relationships.
Experience Hastings Crossings, scheduled February 23-March 4, 2018, is a twelve day celebration which showcases the unique goods and services, as well as the extraordinary sense of community pride within the DTES, by featuring partnerships between HxBIA’s restaurants, pubs, artisans, gyms, and businesses with local non-profits and social enterprises. Each partnership offers special promotions and deals, and raises funds or provides support to community development work within the DTES.
This event is particularly significant because of the opportunity it affords the DTES business community to challenge the stigmatization and negative imagery associated with the DTES within popular discourse. Experience Hastings Crossings lets the businesses we love show consumers what they love about the DTES; its tastes, smells, sounds – all while contributing to local efforts to create a more equitable Vancouver.
You can view this year’s partnerships here. Come out this February and March, and enjoy a fresh perspective on one of Vancouver’s most historic neighbourhoods.
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