(or, SEIZE for short)
Like it says above, SEIZE stands for Solidarity
Economy Incubation (feel free to add the
words for Zero Emissions at the end if you’re an
We are a member-based democratic
organization that serves a thriving community
of solidarity economy organizers and
entrepreneurs in Montreal.
is to advance the transition from capitalism to a more
sustainable, democratic, and human-centric economy. We aim
to do this through collective capacity building and solidarity
New collective enterprises are usually suffocated by the
reality of the market they’re trying to enter. They can’t
grow, so they can’t displace the extractive and profiteering
enterprises that currently dominate almost every sector.
On the other hand, the social solidarity economy movement is much
stronger than we think—especially in Quebec.
Our goal is not only to uplift new collective enterprises through
funding, expertise, and networks— but also to plug them into the
global movement for economic transformation. This is how we
give collective enterprises in their infant stages ground to stand
on and air to breathe.
With some support, these enterprises can grow in strategic
sectors—eventually displacing the private enterprises that treat people
and the planet like replaceable cogs in the machine. Sector by sector,
brick by brick, SEIZE is focused on transforming the economic system.
What does this look like?
Well, it means we want to support businesses like this
ridiculously consequential donut shop:
Olivia is an entrepreneur, educator and activist that is passionate about building collective capacity to transform the economy. She completed the Community Economic Development program at Concordia and since then has worked in project management and financial coordination roles throughout numerous non-profit organizations. She has served on half a dozen Board of Directors specializing in sustainability and food systems.
Marcus is a community organizer, union mobilizer and cooperative developer. He is a Concordia graduate who has applied his passion for economic and environmental justice into transforming community organizations. He has served on numerous boards and advocacy groups such as the Hive Cooperative Cafe, Divest Concordia, CUTV, the Woodnote Solidarity Cooperative and the CSU. Marcus works at New Roots Workers cooperative as treeplanter during the summers, and has a keen interest in multimedia production.
Dru Oja Jay wears many hats. He is a writer, organizer and web developer as well as a visionary that excels at facilitating popular education to empower people to see their own transformational potential. Dru is currently the executive director of CUTV and publisher of The Breach. He is also a co-founder of the Media Co-op, Journal Ensemble, Friends of Public Services and Courage. He is co-author, with Nikolas Barry-Shaw, of Paved with Good Intentions: Canada’s development NGOs from idealism to imperialism.
Dru Oja Jay
Sydney is a jack of all trades having completed her engineering degree at Concordia and now working at the public libraries of Montreal. She has supported the co-founding processes of numerous cooperatives including the woodnote solidarity cooperative and the Dall grocery store cooperative. She brings her passion for building inclusive and equitable communities into all of her work.
Caleb is an activist, community organizer, and gardener. Through his work in greenhouse food production, he has become an advocate for food sovereignty and community empowerment. Caleb is currently also a student at Concordia in the SCPA department and serves on the Council of the Concordia Student Union. Caleb is also the Coordinator for the Concordia Greenhouse Microgreen Program which will become a part of Cultivaction Solidarity Cooperative.
Nicolas is an environmentalist, activist, and community organizer. They have been crucial mobilizers for Climate Justice Montreal and have successfully organized numerous activist events. They currently study Environmental Science at Concordia and serve on the board of the Hive Cooperative Cafe. They are passionate about applying a degrowth and decolonization lens into community building.
Shylah Wolfe cut her teeth in community organizing as a professional chef, before she got involved in the food system from the ground up. Her work focuses on food system transitions through community capacity building and collective self-determination. She’s worked with nonprofits and cooperatives as a practitioner, educator, advocate and activist ever since. Before becoming the Executive Director at Concordia Food Coalition, she was the first Food Coordinator at the Hive Café Coop, a Program Coordinator with CHNGR MTL, the Project Manager of Local Food and Farm Cooperative and on the Board of the Ontario Co-operative Association. She studied Public policy of Co-operatives and the Social Economy at the University of Saskatchewan.
Shylah Wolfe (CFC)
What is an incubator?
An incubator is essentially a business accelerator, meaning an organization that takes in groups of people with the ambition to create new businesses/organizations, and gives them the training, networks, funding, and support they need to reach success. Incubators operate as a service provider which can be broken down into three main streams of activities: Educate, Incubate and Organize. This business accelerator model is commonly utilized and practiced within the traditional for-profit capitalist economy. Our research on university based entrepreneurship incubation services shows that there is no organization within Canada utilizing this approach to support the transition to a democratic economy.
What is the Social Solidarity Economy (SSE)?
The social and solidarity economy (sometimes referred as the socialist economy) is a model centered around collective ownership and democratic control as opposed to private profit. There is a fundamental difference between the culture of a business that is grounded in the collective ownership and democratic assembly of its community, and the culture of a business that will grow to be controlled by the detached and questionable motives of laissez-faire economics. SEIZE is following the footsteps of the global SSE movement in supporting the next generation of collective entrepreneurs to build enterprises around the principles of equity, sustainability, pluralism, solidarity and participatory democracy.
What is collective entrepreneurship?
Collective entrepreneurship is the very heart of a social solidarity economy – Ordinary people organizing to meet their needs while creating community capital and sometimes even building personal equity. We define entrepreneurship as the creation of value and the creative act of meeting the needs of people by organizing production and distribution. Anything involving the sale of goods or services can be community owned and democratically governed and we help build the collective capacity necessary to do so.
Governance & Transparency
SEIZE is incorporated as a federal non-profit; however, you may notice that our bylaws reflect the values of a solidarity cooperative.
The baseline funding of SEIZE is from a Concordia Student Union Fee-levy. See how we are expanding and allocating this resource.
As a Concordia Undergraduate you can opt-out of contributing to SEIZE during the semesterly opt out period.