SDG Idea Factory


In 2020, amidst a global pandemic, the City of Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, adopted a community driven call to action, founded on the belief that if business owners, residents and community leaders come together, businesses could become a force for good.

Waterloo Region has a strong history of building a startup ecosystem, with entrepreneurial organizations such as Communitech, UW Velocity and the Accelerator Centre. However, there are still many entrepreneurs to whom these existing programs and facilities may be challenging to access. Particularly, the City noted a lack in: 

  • Programs for entrepreneurs seeking to improve their knowledge and impact towards Agenda 2030. 
  • Incubators specifically enabling and empowering under-represented and minority groups.
  • Accessible, physical spaces to bring together entrepreneurs to undertake their work, incubate ideas, network and build community. 

The ‘SDG Idea Factory’, overseen by the City of Kitchener in partnership with the Waterloo Region Small Business Centre was therefore developed as a local platform and program for social entrepreneurs to build new companies and collaborate on global challenges.  


The City launched the Local4Action HUB Kitchener SDG Idea Factory as a first-of-its-kind collaborative incubator that will bring together multiple organizations to advance the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. 

The SDG Idea Factory is a purpose-inspired space that empowers entrepreneurs to tackle society’s greatest challenges, while building a new ecosystem of difference makers. It brings together multiple organizations who share a central purpose of using ‘business as a force for good’, and in particular, supports under-represented, racialized and equity-deserving entrepreneurs.

As such, it will include organizations and entrepreneurs whose sole goal is to make an impact in our community and beyond. The end result will be new companies creating new programs, services and enterprises to improve communities, while addressing global needs to achieve the 2030 Agenda.    

Its key objectives are 1) To launch new programs to attract, support and develop entrepreneurs and 2) Support Equality by enabling more organizations who support entrepreneurs, access to the SDG Idea Factory

Furthermore, it will strive to develop a model for other local governments to utilize in fostering future jobs through hands-on involvement in building infrastructure (an incubator), and in creating equity-driven opportunities.

Expected Outcomes

  • Empowering local governments to support socially and environmentally driven entrepreneurs who will build enterprises to support the Global Agenda; 
  • Establishing a local network of entrepreneurial program providers who can connect into a network of global partners; 
  • Empowering entrepreneurs to advance the SDGs from the bottom-up, by giving them to the tools they need to launch successful enterprises that move the world forward; and, 
  • Encouraging municipalities to rethink their relationship with social entrepreneurs. 


The SDG Idea Factory will create a model for other communities to follow, sharing lessons learned (positive and negative). The City of Kitchener intends to learn from other communities undertaking similar incubation programs, in order to improve the Idea Factory but also to refine the model for the benefit of other communities.

Link to Agenda 2030

The SDG Idea Factory will support entrepreneurs in accelerating the growth and impact of their businesses, while supporting new startups focused on social and environmental innovation.  For many entrepreneurs, they aren’t even aware that their passion and business aligns with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.  The Idea Factory enables these companies to see their ambitions as part of a greater global agenda, and enable them to more effectively address the demands of the SDGs.

  • SDG 8 – Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • SDG 9 – Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
  • SDG 17 – Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development

Link to the Pact for the Future of Humanity

As many of the program partners of the SDG Idea Factory support equity deserving entrepreneurs, including women-led companies and racialized entrepreneurs, this initiative will deliver equal opportunity to all entrepreneurs, empowering them to achieve their fullest potential.   

  • Commitment for People
    • C5 – Guarantee decent work and fair pay for all, based on the respect of the principles of subsidiarity, shared responsibilities and collaborative implementation, and entrepreneurship. 
  • Commitment for Planet
    • C3 – Foster local economic development policies that foster new indicators based on quality of life and well-being rather than on growth and economic performance and connect systems of cities with their surrounding hinterlands. 
  • Commitment for Government
    • C10 – Pivot the role of local and regional governments in regards to the future of work, beyond legislation and job provision, acknowledging the notion of time as a currency and its lack of availability as a form of exclusion that must be addressed.


Link to other Global Agendas

  • New Urban Agenda


Coming soon


  • Learn more about the SDG Idea Factory on its website.

How to join the Local4Action HUB

For further information please contact:

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