SFU's Certificate in Community Economic Development provides tools for growing entrepreneurship and building local economy
When Lauren Warbeck, 30, entered the SFU Certificate Program for Community Economic Development, she was a bicycle mechanic and instructor at Vancouver’s Pedal Energy Development Alternatives (PEDAL).
Warbeck was working hard to effect social change, cultivate a socially responsible venture, and grow a business — armed with only an assortment of greasy wrenches, clamps and vice grips.
PEDAL had distributed thousands of recycled and refurbished bikes to low-income people, mostly Downtown Eastside residents, while creating healthy bike culture among the most marginalized of the city’s residents.
Sure, Warbeck could rebuild your bike in a blink, upgrade your shocks, and give you a superior ride, but she was finding it tough to toggle the shifter to kick the business itself into high gear. She wanted to invest deeper in her community, expand PEDAL’s reach and scope, and implement new creative plans, just like any growing small business.
She credits Simon Fraser University’s Certificate Program for Community Economic Development with giving her a new toolbox of expertise and understanding, along with practical hands-on skills.
“I saw that my capacity as someone working in that world was limited by the skills that I had."
Lauren Warbeck, bicycle mechanics instructor and shop assistant at the Bike Kitchen. Photo by Cody Briggs.
"SFU's Community Economic Development Program was an opportunity for me to really step up my game, to enhance my skills and my confidence working outside my regular social justice world."