BURLINGTON, ON—(November 2, 2015) International Needs Canada is hosting a celebratory showcase of business partnerships featuring local and global social enterprise initiatives on Tuesday November 10, 2015 at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, as part of its effort to promote the Million Dollar Umoja Journey—a Land Rover-based luxury adventure tour of Asia, Africa and Latin America designed to raise funds to support sustainable development projects in some of the world’s poorest nations.

The event, which is free and open to the public, is titled Strategic Marketing for Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders and will from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Several of Canada’s leading thinkers and practitioners of social entrepreneurship are scheduled to speak.

  • Bruce Taylor, Founder and President of Enviro-Stewards Inc.—an engineering firm and certified B Corporation— will discuss why social ventures need to be the most innovative businesses on the planet. Enviro-Stewards was recognized by B Lab in 2012, 2014, and 2015 as one of the Best Companies for the World. Its projects for Tim Hortons and Andrew Peller wines have both won national sustainability awards.
  • Dave Carroll, award winning singer/songwriter from Halifax Nova Scotia will discuss how he reached 150 million people around the world with his story about his now legendary customer service confrontation with United Airlines.
  • Jonathan Michael, a distinguished Canadian scholar and leadership mentor will discuss strategies for using personal attributes to succeed in today’s economy. Jonathan Michael was awarded the Governor General’s Gold Medal –the highest honour conferred by the Crown for academic achievement in Canada. He shares that distinction with Pierre Trudeau, Tommy Douglas, Robert Bourassa, Robert Stanfield and Gabrielle Roy.


“Innovative leadership, creative social enterprise initiatives, cause marketing and corporate social responsibility are fundamental building blocks of success for both businesses and charitable organizations in today’s economy,” says David Marshall, Chief Executive Officer of International Needs Canada who is hosting the event with support from members of the Burlington Chamber of Commerce. “As businesses and charities learn to understand each other’s goals and priorities and begin to work successfully together, sustainable ways to fight poverty, build strong communities and promote social justice around the world will emerge.”

David Marshall’s vision for creating symbiotic “win-win-win” relationships involving businesses, charitable organizations and vulnerable people and communities around the world are articulated in his first book Beyond Charity: How to Increase Profit Through Innovative Strategic Partnership. A revised second edition of this book is forthcoming. His second book, written in collaboration with Colleen H. Cole, is titled Umoja: A Journey From Success to Significance. It tells the story of a social enterprise initiative—the inaugural Umoja Journey— in which ten adventure seeking entrepreneurs from Canada and the United Kingdom embark on a Land Rover-based luxury adventure from Mombasa, Kenya to deliver much-needed ambulances for a women’s clinic in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo. This book is part of the effort to promote similar upcoming Umoja journeys, “adventures with purpose” through Latin America, Asia and Africa. Complimentary copies of both books will be available to participants at the event.

Social Entrepreneurship: Astha Guitars
Another social enterprise initiative featured at the event is the Burlington debut of Astha Guitars—a new brand of premium quality guitars to be manufactured in India by Swiss-trained local craftsmen, for sale in Europe and North America, as a strategy for financing the education of underprivileged Indian children. This entrepreneurial venture is a partnership between Brunner Guitars of Switzerland and Bangalore-based ACTS Group of Institutions—a school system providing an integrated approach to learning incorporating Agriculture, Crafts, Trades and (academic) Studies to more than 14,000 underprivileged children in India. Brunner has trained Indian craftsmen in the skills required to create state-of-the-art guitars using indigenous woods—Indian Rosewood, Indian Mahogany, Swiss Spruce and Swiss Walnut, for example—which are already well-established components of many of the world’s finest guitars. Astha Guitars, the entrepreneurs say, will focus on employing the latest technology and exquisite craftsmanship to create instruments that professional musicians everywhere will be proud to own. Renowned musicians attending the event will entertain the audience playing Astha guitars.

“Creative collaborations such as the Astha Guitar partnership are prime examples of sustainable initiatives that can make great strides towards changing individual lives and building stronger communities,” Marshall says. “Businesses everywhere have much to gain by infusing their mission
and vision with social purpose.”

International Needs Canada is a 40-year-old Christian charitable organization that alleviates poverty, protects vulnerable children, empowers women and supports sustainable development initiatives by partnering with indigenous community leaders in developing countries around the world. International Needs Canada currently provides direct financial support to development initiatives in 9 countries and as a founding member of the International Needs Network, supports development efforts in 39 countries around the world.

For more information about International Needs Canada visit www.internationalneeds.ca. For more information on the Umoja Journey visit www.umojajourney.com.