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PraxEco: A Crowd-led Incubator for Social and Environmental Projects

Empowering diversity and social inclusion through networking, service exchange, and access to funds.

Photo of Hadi Shamieh

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What problem does the idea help to solve and how does your solution work? (2,000 characters maximum)

This idea facilitates the integration of new immigrants in their new communities following their arrival to Canada. Upon arrival, immigrants are bombarded with things to do from finding a place to stay, hunting for a job, understanding and integrating within the new environment. One of the biggest problems they face upon arrival is difficulty landing a job relevant to their expertise. This is largely due to their non-accredited international experience. Another major issue is social integration. As newcomers seek help from their new neighbors, they often find it from the communities that share their origin/culture. This results in low engagement in local activities; thus, separation from social surroundings. The solution is a systematic combination of networking, collaboration, and entrepreneurship. PraxEco is a platform that encourages people on the move as well as locals to utilize their expertise and co-create products and services that facilitate a clean future. It is a low pressure environment with light requirements, flexibility, and generous rewards. First, participants choose a minimum frequency of engagement: 1hr/week, 1hr/2 weeks or 1hr/month. Second, they choose an existing project to be a part of, or even propose a new one. Finally, they collaborate and collect reward points. Contributions are rewarded based on perseverance and not capacity nor volume of work. The same benefits are earned if participants switch the 1hr/cycle to contributing $10/cycle. This secures a regenerative source of funds for the network. Furthermore, PraxEco proposes a just and fair decision making system. Every contribution is +1 vote. Participants use that decision making advantage to allocate funds to projects or to resolve conflicts. Thus, a self-funding crowd-led incubator. PraxEco develops strong social bond; individuals connect at a deeper level as they work together, consistently, on projects that they believe in and that affect their common environment.

Geography of focus (500 characters)

Quebec, with a focus on the city of Montreal. Québec hosts around a million immigrants born in foreign countries - out of which over 80% reside in Montreal. That is 12.5% of all immigrants of Canada and 22.6% of the city's population. This offers an opportunity for a social inclusion project that extracts value through connecting diverse and underappreciated expertise. Furthermore, our team resides in Montreal and this is where we are well connected and have resources.

Building Bridges: What bridge does your idea build between people on the move and neighbors towards a shared future of stability and promise? (500 characters)

PraxEco provides an opportunity to network and collaborate for the creation and sharing of wealth. It allows immigrants to work alongside locals towards sustainable projects. Thanks to the light constraints of engagement, with a minimum of one hour a month, all participants, locals and newcomers alike, maintain a significant time for themselves to invest on different daily activities. No one has to quit their jobs or change their habits as we collectively journey towards a clean future.

What human need is your idea solving for? (1,000 characters)

[A] By fostering a sense of acceptance, connection, and purpose within a network that encourages collaborating towards a healthy sustainable future. This cultivates the sense of belonging while providing hope for a better future to unfold, one small contribution at a time. [B] Profits resulting from PraxEco’s activities is reinvested into the network’s people and projects. This offers the ability to generate income from contributions that are given in an environment of motivation, flexibility, and positive energy. [C] This regenerative engagement makes local communities more resilient and better equipped to face the threats of economic inequality and climate change. Our strategy facilitates the transition towards a sustainable future, industry by industry, starting from the “self” scale and slowly scaling up. Participants collaborate on solutions for waste management, innovations in food security, and clean alternatives to energy harvesting and distribution.

What will be different within the community of focus as a result of implementing your idea? (1,000 characters)

The Precious Plastic Montreal (PPM) project is a concrete example of PraxEco’s activities leading to measurable impact within the local community. PPM has 4 functional plastic recycling machines and are discussing partnership with MKRLAB, a makerspace in Notre-Dame-de-Grace (NDG), to host the first plastic recycling workspace in Montreal! NDG is a neighborhood with massive demographic separation between locals and visible minorities. It is one of the most immigrant-populated neighborhoods in Montreal with areas of up to 60% immigrants. PPM offers a great opportunity for the community to get together around an issue that touches everyone: plastic recycling. Connecting people to spaces and expertise will help more projects come to fruition, relationships to be built, and incomes to be generated. How many kgs of plastic will the NDG community divert from landfills? Similarly to PPM, as other PraxEco projects build up, change is measured by how many peers we inspire to join the effort.

What is the inspiration behind your idea? (1,000 characters)

Myself being an immigrant in Canada, I was jobless for nearly two years. Not alone, I continuously met immigrant professionals that came to Canada fleeing terror - leaving their lives behind to start from scratch. As new immigrants to Canada without North American work experience, landing a job is not easy. On the other hand, a lot of locals of different backgrounds had also crossed my path. We got close as our different visions for the future matched. As a group of various ethnic origins, backgrounds, lifestyles and neurology, we bonded because of our motivation to bring positive change to our environment. But… How can we collaborate given that we all have unique constraints? How do we find the money to fund our ideas? We got inspired to build PraxEco to provides not only funding but also a place for immigrants and locals alike can be "on the move" towards a more collaborative, diverse and sustainable way of interacting and exchanging.

Describe the dynamics of the community in which the idea is to be implemented. (1,000 characters)

Canada is a nation of immigrants with over 200 different nationalities. Quebec has a history of various immigration waves following global political crisis; one of the most recent being Syrian refugees. Montreal is a city with diverse multiethnic communities. According to Canada's official census of 2016, 23.77% of Montreal residents identify as immigrants. Montreal enjoys a decent sense of cultural tolerance, respect, and acceptance despite the urban demographic separation. Moreover, Montreal demonstrates awarenes of social and ecological threats. It is open to exploring new ideas, and it encourages alternative ways of living and connecting. Within PraxEco, the dynamics go around inspiring creative ideas and facilitating them through pooling small contributions from diverse participants. At the frequency they choose, Montrealers are encouraged to join efforts and spread hope and motivation as they co-create sustainable and equitable solutions.

How does your idea leverage and empower community strengths and assets to help create an environment for success? (1,000 characters)

The diversity of our team is well-represented and well-balanced. We are an intergenerational team of 15 individuals with different professions including art, engineering, programming, industrial design, business, architecture, cabinet making, and others. Some participants are students, others are full-time professionals, and some are retired. Out of 15, 7 are immigrants from 6 different countries. We make a community built on trust, flexibility, and autonomy. No discrimination of age, background, race, gender, mental or physical limitations. We enjoy motivation, inspiration, dreaming, collaboration, and celebration. We have demonstrated success in open collaboration. PraxEco is our opportunity to collaborate with a wider circle, dream of impactful ideas, and get funding to bring dreams to life.

What other partners or stakeholders will work alongside you in implementing the idea, if any? (1,000 characters)

One of our main partners is Sensorica, a hardware engineering lab in Montreal that is an expert in open source hardware prototyping, intelligent systems and open collaboration. Sensorica pools close to 1,000 affiliate from different backgrounds from all around the world. Their goal is to make research and prototyping more efficient and significantly cheaper through open collaboration. The second main partner would be MKRLAB, a makerspace with accessible prototyping tools for woodworking, metalworking, fabric working, and others. Mighty Networks is the partner that offers us the online workspace to manage community interactions. In the future, we wish to collaborate with universities and research institutions to transform public ideas and contributions into published research literature. We also hope to work with local business incubators that could transform proven concepts worked on by the public into viable products and services.

What part of the displacement journey is your solution addressing

  • Arriving and settling at a destination community

Tell us how you'd describe the type of innovation you are proposing

  • Platform: Creating a community or market that facilitates interaction between users and resources

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Prototype: We have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing the idea.

Group or Organization Name

PraxEco Network

Tell us more about your group or organization [or lived experience as a displaced person?] (1000 characters)

We have a diverse group of individuals passionate to move towards a future that is equitable, clean and just. We collaborate with openness, patience, and positivity. We created PraxEco to be a network fueled by collective empowerment and motivation to innovate solutions in various domains that enhance the quality of life while reducing the cost of living and nurturing a deeper sense of connection. The strategy we follow is systematic: addressing local problems with the mentality of global adaptability. That means projects have to be replicable, affordable, open source, and utilizing sustainable resources that are easily sourced worldwide. Also, half of our team are immigrants. We understand how it feels like to be on the move. We consider ourselves fortunate to be leading this project from Montreal. While it is important to help communities that are less fortunate, we believe it is also important to empower communities that have potential to lead a change.

Website URL:

www.praxeco.com

Type of submitter

  • We are not yet a registered organization but plan to register in future

Organization Headquarters: Country

Canada

Organization Headquarters: City / State

Montréal

12 comments

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Comment
Photo of Uchenna Okafor
Team

Indeed an interesting model. Social inclusion has been the major challenge of disabled persons in many countries. So, is there any provision to accommodate physically challenged immigrants and refugees in your design.

Photo of Hadi Shamieh
Team

Hello Uchenna,
Thank you for your comment and interest! Indeed, the PraxEco model is designed to accommodate the maximum both physically and mentally challenged individuals. In fact, one sub-project we are facilitating is aiming for exactly that. The project idea is to design ergonomic chairs for high schools to be made from recycled plastic and to have the chairs fabricated by individuals with diverse disabilities. The group's concept is to have a Precious Plastic workshop operated mostly by people with physical or mental limitations. We are currently building the first prototype for the chair and investigating the feasibility of its operation!

Photo of Uchenna Okafor
Team

Hi Hadi Shamieh, i am overwhelmed with joy to hear that from you. i nurse deep passion for disabled persons. So, it is an understatement to say that i embrace this idea with much love. Hoping to connect with your organisation for further collaboration to improve the livelihood of the physically challenged persons.

Photo of Hadi Shamieh
Team

I am very happy to hear your excitement and passion as well! If you have one hour a week, one hour every two weeks, or even one hour a month, it would be an honor to collaborate with you and have a better understanding of how our model can improved to accommodate a wider diversity of challenged individuals. I am confident that you have great insights to give us. You are already setting a wonderful example by being here! Thank you in advance and looking forward to seeing how far we can go together!

Photo of Uchenna Okafor
Team

Thank you Dear; I embrace this rare privilege to work with you. Hoping to make more contributions towards this noble feat.

Photo of Hadi Shamieh
Team

Wonderful spirit you have. It's a please to have you on board. I will contact you separately to arrange collaboration!

Photo of Uchenna Okafor
Team

Ready to work with you any time. i believe that my journey through this planet is to impact lives positively, especially the most vulnerable with least access to opportunities. Hoping that Providence will provide resources to build more bridges of hope to the hopeless. Connecting with you for collaboration on this platform and beyond is my deepest desire.

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