(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:
Jess (she|her) is deeply committed to building capacity for systemic change. Co-founder of Hive Cafe Co-op and the Concordia Food Coalition, she has been strategically involved in various events, conferences, boards, and other community-led initiatives. Currently employed by the Conseil québécois de la coopération et de la mutualité (CQCM), her work involves cooperative education and supporting youth cooperative projects in Montréal and Laval.
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.
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
Olivia is an entrepreneur, educator and activist that is passionate about building collective capacity to transform the economy. She is a lifelong learner and studied Community Economic Development and Business Administration at Concordia University. Olivia also serves as the Social Economy Officer for the Regional Development Network. Prior to committing full time to the social solidarity economy movement, Olivia worked in project and financial management roles as well as served on nearly a dozen Board of Directors often specializing in sustainability and food systems.
From web design to full-stack development, Malcolm strives to build tools to help groups mobilize towards a more just, climate resilient future. Malcolm graduated from McGill Engineering and works as a project manager, and is keen on applying those skills towards building alternative economic realities. Among those aspirations is Bar Milton-Parc Solidarity Cooperative, a new community focused bistro located in the heart of the Milton-Parc community of Montreal, of which he is the acting Operations Manager.
Hyacinth is passionate about art, design, food, and people. After graduating from Design at Concordia University, they now run a freelance practice where they collaborate with artists, writers, and musicians; arts institutions; community organizations; and groups working towards justice and radical social change. They organize with Community Cooks Collective, a community-based solidarity collective in Montreal, dedicated to delivering food weekly to local shelters. Essential parts of Hyacinth’s process include mutual exchange and integrating joy towards a shared, equitable economic future.
With previous experiences in social infrastructure, participatory budgeting, and international development, Prachir is committed to building a more relational way of life through his work and writing. He studied economics and business at Western University, where he worked with various non-profits and social enterprises to advance their missions. Prachir is keen to apply his knowledge and skills to supporting cooperatives in building more connected and sustainable communities.
Our Support Members:
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 training, mentorship, networks, funding, and the support they need to reach success. This business accelerator model is commonly utilized and practiced within the traditional for-profit capitalist owned economy, but to help level the playing field SEIZE only focuses on giving a leg up to SSE entrepreneurs and organizers. 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 solidarity economy (sometimes referred as the socialist economy) is a model centered around collective ownership and democratic control. 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. Learn more about Solidarity Economy Principles here or sign up to our “Fundementals of the Solidarity Economy” 8 week curriculum!
What is collective entrepreneurship?
Collective entrepreneurship is the very heart of the 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 production 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.
SEIZE endorses financial transparent practices and upholds Canadian accounting standard for not-for-profit organizations.
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.