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BC's top social innovators share stories of success at EastVanLove tweetup

East of Main recently hosted its sixth edition of EastVanLove at Calabash Bistro in Gastown. The theme for this popular tweet-up series was Social innovation.

Social innovation can be defined as new concepts and organizations that addresses and meet social needs to extend and strengthen society. In the sixth edition of EastVanLove, audiences were treated to talks by individuals whose great ideas have made an impact in Vancouver and beyond.

The first speakers were Madeleine Shaw (Left) and Suzanne Siemens (Right) of Lunapads, an East Vancouver based company that produces sustainable alternatives to disposable feminine hygiene products. In addition to their sustainable efforts in Vancouver and North America, Lunapads runs a campaign called Pads4Girls where they provide undergarments and reusable feminine products to girls in developing nations.

Lunapads has garnered several awards for its work, including BC Business magazine’s Top 20 most innovative companies. What's more, Shaw and Siemens were recently awarded the Global Women’s Summit Leadership Award for their social innovation and entrepreneurial excellence.

Read Vancouver Observer's interview with the founders of Lunapads

Next up was Geoff Bowers of Free Geek. With a background as an educator and counselor, Bowers' experience led him to pursue a career involving computers and education.

Free Geek is a nonprofit community organization that reduces the environmental impact of waste electronics by reusing and recycling donated technology. Through community engagement and the generosity of volunteers, Free Geek provides technological education, job skills training, Internet access and free or low cost computers to the public. The mission of Free Geek is to provide a platform for people to share technology in a way that is both environmentally sensitive and socially progressive.

The third speaker of the evening was Jacob Hunter, a political consultant and advocate for drug policy reform, social justice and environmental sustainability based in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Hunter is the founder of as well as the Managing Organizer of the Vancouver 420 rally and the Vancouver Cannabis Day rally.

For Naomi Steinberg, the next speaker, connecting with audiences of all ages through storytelling is a marvelous and unique experience. Steinberg's work as the artistic director of the Vancouver Society of Storytelling has been closely focused on community engagement and performance. 

The last speaker of the evening was Jenna Herbut, the co-founder of Make It! Productions. After obtaining a Business degree, she was looking for a platform to sell her hand-made belts. Realizing that there wasn't any craft fairs in town that appealed to a younger audience, she and her brother Chandler created Make It, the now uber-popular craft festival. 

Herbut's next love project is Make It University, where she shares her business experiences and knowledge through online courses that are designed to encourage others to take their creativity and DIY passion to a whole new level.

Read BeeVancity's Interview with Jenna Herbut.

For more information about EastVanLove and to receive more information for the next tweet up, visit

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