The Civic Incubator is a MIS program that aims to prototype and bring to maturity ideas for projects with social and environmental impact, imagined by engaged citizens, collectives and NPOs.
The project leaders of the 2023 cohort
Mission: To improve the mental and physical health of women of colour by helping them overcome chronic stress and trauma.
“There is evidence that women suffer from depression at twice the rate of men. What’s more, women of colour are half as likely to seek care because of stigma, limited financial resources, and difficulty accessing health services.” – Andrea Kwigize and Zhara Jones
Biophilia for All
Mission: To foster a healthy connection to nature by integrating features specific to natural systems into the built environment.
“In an urban context heavily focused on virtual interaction, treatment that combines a biophilic approach with light therapy can (among other things) alleviate the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. Reconnecting with the natural world helps counteract the effects of Quebec winters—the lack of light, the isolation—on well-being.” – Vianney Cortes
Mission: To expand the reach of film, television and digital production by Afro-descendent artists to their communities; to build bridges between target audiences and the industry; and thus support and increase the representation of Afro-descendent audiences on screen.
“If we believe that a cinema that depicts the society we live in is essential, then all of the members of that society are essential members of the cinematic audience. We need to ask ourselves how to reach underrepresented audiences that will feel compelled by the content that is offered to them.” – Feven Ghebremariam
"Coach F." : Helping to alleviate financial stress
Mission: To help people who have the capacity for financial resilience but are nonetheless plagued by financial stress adopt healthy money-management habits through digital tools and motivational-psychology techniques.
“Money is the number-one source of stress for many people. With the inclusive approach envisioned by Coach F., we will be able to address one of the critical obstacles to the full participation of certain populations in the socioeconomic and civic life of Quebec.“ – Annick Kwetcheu Gamo
Construction Mētis (CMētis)
Mission: To address the complex challenges of “third place” projects in order to reduce the barriers to their creation.
“We want to support the creation of beneficial public spaces through green building projects, co-designed with communities, that are socially and generationally diverse while paying special attention to the needs of seniors, migrants, and people living with particular challenges.” – Philippe Dufort and Anja Kreysch
Lachine Ecological Transition Space
Mission: To create a space in Lachine offering a range of activities and services to connect and strengthen existing citizen-driven environmental initiatives.
“Citizens in Lachine currently have no designated space to host activities related to resilience and the ecological transition. But it’s widely recognized across Montreal that successfully meeting the objectives of the Climate Plan will require meeting venues, education, and mobilization.“ – Femke Bergsma and Audrey Busque
Montreal Adapted Film Festival (FICAM)
Mission: To provide accessible cinematic experiences for people with physical disabilities, be they actors, creators, or audience members.
“I want the festival to be a place where connections are made—where people can meet, where friendships can be created. The goal is to create a space in which people who don’t live with a disability rub shoulders with people who do, and become more aware of this other reality.“ – Miguel Sorto
Mission: To encourage reflection on eco-anxiety among young adults by creating a garden meeting space for education in herbal medicine.
“Studies show that the majority of young adults suffer from eco-anxiety. A horto-therapeutic approach to treatment could contribute to the greening of the environment, the strengthening of the social fabric, and the well-being of young adults.“ – Ariane Beaudin
Growing ARC (Activate, Reciprocate, and Cultivate)
Mission: To create a space for experimentation with textiles to encourage more sustainable practices and raise public awareness of this industry’s environmental impact.
“The dominant narrative ignores the power of local communities to address problems and cultivate change through solidarity and collective action. We need to reimagine and redefine our patterns of production and consumption, then take an active role in changing them.” – Nadia Bunyan and Coco Mariano
Community of Caregivers
Mission: To create housing specifically for caregivers to help them break out of their isolation and find balance in their daily lives.
“By creating a real alternative to the current situation of caregivers, we are advocating another way of life, one that values mutual aid, community, and the reconstituted family.” – Dominique Malacort
Mission: To open a shelter—a stable and safe place—to support and empower young adults who are leaving the Youth Protection Branch (DPJ).
“During the transition to adulthood and autonomy, it’s vital for young people who have spent an extended period in youth protection to have a roof over their heads. Enabling someone to become autonomous benefits both the individual and the society of which they are a part.” – Annie Roberge
Mission: To develop the resilience of individuals who have experienced a shock or a major life change by democratizing “adventure therapy.”
“I have always believed in the potential of experiential education. My Lyra project seeks to move away from traditional psychosocial-support frameworks by embracing the transformative effects of adventure and travel on self-connection and individual empowerment.” – Sara Youbi
Mission: To change the way educators in early-childhood settings work toward an inclusive approach for children with special needs and challenges.
“The inclusion of children with special needs and challenges has been a reality in childcare settings for at least ten years. By placing child development and inclusion at the heart of activity planning, educators can tailor their work to each child’s strengths and not to their neurotypical chronological development.” – Cynthia Roldan and Jessica Allard
Mobilité Active 4 Saisons (MA4S)
Mission: To provide year-round active mobility solutions by expanding Montreal’s bicycle network during the winter months.
“Today, about two percent of summer cyclists keep up the habit once winter comes.
We would like to see at least a third of cyclists feel comfortable riding year-round, using a mode of transport that benefits environmental, physical, and mental health.” – Martin Hamel
Mission: To guide newcomers to Quebec through the ecosystem of existing resources using a digital, artificial intelligence-based solution.
“For immigrants, finding the right resources for their integration journey is an obstacle course that can result in discouragement, social isolation, and increased difficulties in entering the labour market.” – Soumya Tamouro
Reimagining the work of those living with disabilities: the adaptive and inclusive grocery store
Mission: To promote access to the labour market for young people living with a physical disability by supporting the development of their professional skills.
“Studies show that a first work experience during their studies is the most important factor in predicting whether a person living with a physical disability will have a job in adulthood. These experiences help develop work ethic, resourcefulness, problem-solving skills, and a sense of responsibility—qualities that are sought after by every employer.” – Philippe Harrison and Virginie Dénommée
Nothing but meditation
Mission: To encourage agents of change to take care of their mental and physical health by providing them with simple and affordable opportunities for daily meditation.
“Meditating on a daily basis to take care of your mental health is a novelty in and of itself. This practice is not well-known, however, and there are many mistaken preconceptions about it, which is why we’re seeking to help popularize it, using accessible tools that are part of everyday life.” – Thomas Lafontaine and Francis Petit
Mission: To help young people who lack their families’ support make the transition into adulthood by encouraging them to take responsibility in a simple, concrete, and fun way.
“Since the disappearance of home-economics courses in high school, young people across the province no longer develop practical skills that prepare them for adulthood. They have few trustworthy resources to learn to be adults on an individual and collective scale and with a greater understanding of solidarity. Team Adult’s mission is to remedy this problem.” – Catherine Quimper
Mission: To encourage Indigenous youth to stay in school and enhance their cultural health through digital arts.
“Uhu defines cultural health as a quest for identity rooted in the transmission of Indigenous culture and languages. By combining aspects of Indigenous culture with emerging technologies, young people are able to reclaim their history in ways that are creative, playful, and forward-looking.” – Andrea Gonzalez
A community of action to fight energy precarity
Mission: To create a structure that allows collaboration among the various organizations involved in the fight against energy precarity.
“A household is in a state of energy precarity when it has difficulty meeting its energy needs, or can only do so by sacrificing or renouncing other essentials of everyday life. This is a little-known and little-documented problem. You could even call it a blind spot in the fight against poverty.” – Émilie Laurin-Dansereau and Isabelle Thibeault
The Jury Members of the 2023 Cohort
The MIS team would like to thank the members of the jury who played a key role in the review and evaluation of the applications with their diverse backgrounds and expertise.
From left to right and from top to bottom in the photo:
- Joseph El-Khoury, Project manager – Impact entrepreneurship at Pôle IDEOS-HEC Montréal
- Marie-Lyne Brunet, Vice-President – Social Development of Centraide of Greater Montreal
- John Cawley, Vice President and retired senior executive in philanthropy (McConnell Foundation), social innovation and international, economic and community development
- Cécile Vergier, Advisor for Social Economy in the Department of Economic Development of the City of Montreal
- Jean-François Sabourin, Policy Advisor at Union des municipalités du Québec
- Tayssa Waldron, founder of the Déclic du Fric and Civic Incubator’ alumni
- Bram Freedman, President and CEO of the Jewish General Hospital Foundation and Vice Chair of the MIS Board of Directors.