Now Accepting Applications!

Explore - Apply by April 29, starts May 3.
Test Market - Apply by May 15, starts May 24.
Build - Fall 2019 applications opening late spring

Are you in a time of transition? Do you want to start or grow a business? Need some skills but hate the idea of going to business school? We call ourselves an alternative business school because we specifically support people who want to cooperate and not compete, and who share our values of action, inclusivity, and holistic living. Hear from some of those people below!

How Groundswell Works:
Conlan’s Journey

Student Blog

Every week, a participant in Groundswell’s Build program shares their thoughts, ideas, and conundrums from their journey into social entrepreneurship. Check out the latest below, or browse years of insight on the Student Blog.



“You’re getting access to decades of experience, and you can’t learn this stuff from a book.” Tong Guan, Founder, DoWhatULuv; Build alumni

We're deeply committed to building strong businesses by building strong relationships. When you're your own boss, who do you go to for support? Who's your sounding board? Our mentors are experts in marketing, lean startups, impact, sales, scaling, non-profits, sustainability, finance, branding, pricing, and operations.


Money, right? We strongly believe that all people with the drive and the capacity to be self-employed should have access to the training and the capital to do so.

We are deeply grateful to Vancity for partnering with us to offer students no fee loans to cover tuition and alumni for up to $50,000 of startup capital. Vancity will provide the loan, and Groundswell’s programs and mentors will help you manage the risk. All you need to do from here is kick butt.

The Programs


Your First Step On A New Path

“It isn't often that you are asked to really dig deep and ask yourself what makes you the person you are and how those traits can be translated into a potential project or idea to benefit our community!”

Bernadette Cheung, Explore Alumni


Hands On Business Development

“Build gave me the focus, time and critical thinking required to transform an idea into something real. We all received personalized mentorship, and on point business knowledge in a friendly, non-judgemental atmosphere.”

M. Boardman, Founder, Minivillage, Build Alumni


Test Market

A Living Laboratory

“The Test Market was perfect for us as we didn’t invest a lot of money and we got the most out of the money we did put in. We got tremendous experience and confidence that is motivating us to keep growing the business.”

Shivam Jaiswal, Chai Shai

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A Community Of Support

Groundswell is building a membership program to continue supporting it’s alum and other small business owners, freelancers, and independent workers in growing fulfilling, thriving businesses with strong positive values. Membership includes mentorship, peer accountability circles, access to capital, discounted access to professional services, and a strong social network of support with likeminded entrepreneurs.

Currently only open to alumni, sign up to get notified when Groundswell membership opens up in 2019:

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Is Groundswell for you?

Our alum recommend Groundswell to anyone who…

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“…wants support in a career transition towards social entrepreneurship.”

- Daphne Woo, Amacata.

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“…is seeking personal growth, and the chance to develop a working alternative that supports you and your community.”

- Conlan Mansfield, Feral Strength.

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“…is looking for guidance on fulfilling their purpose in life.”

- Dima Itskovic, Dance of Hope.


“…wants to start their own business, but doesn't tend to take the traditional path. Someone who wants to start a conscious business with a social impact.”

- Cori Busby, Conscious Kitchen.

Meet the current cohort of aspiring and early stage social entrepreneurs:

The Groundswell program changed my life…

…Since becoming part of the Groundswell Community in 2015 I have become a co-owner of a workers co-op, increased my professional skill set and capacity as well as become part of a community of like minded individuals who share similar values and goals as I do. The Groundswell team always goes the extra mile to make sure that reaching the goal is possible. Four years later, we are 5 full time employees and our business is growing. Wood Shop Worker's Co-op would not be where it is today without Groundswell.

Jessica Valentine, Co-owner, Wood Shop Worker’s Co-op

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Send us your thoughts, ask us all your questions:

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