Posted: November 25, 2018
Asalah Youssef, Grade 10 LFAS student, bravely walked on stage in front of 20,000 students from across BC for WE Day Celebrations in Rogers Arena Vancouver. She was one of a few local speakers to represent young people who were making a difference. How is Asalah making a difference?
Well, Asalah doesn’t think a person should be denied certain health services, such as private counselling, because they can’t afford it. She believes there are many business owners and providers of these services who agree with her.
Now, with the help of the WE Incubation Hub, a centre in Toronto that specializes in providing support to young social entrepreneurs, Asalah is in the process of designing a smartphone app, called The Radical and Revolutionary Place (R&R Place), that will allow low-income people to access service providers willing to offer their services at a reduced rate.
“The focus is on services that aren’t supported by the government,” explains Asalah. “So things like counselling, dental care, optometry, physiotherapy and those kinds of therapies that can be expensive and hard to access and that are a necessity for some.”
Described as a Groupon for social responsibility, Asalah’s idea caught the attention of the WE Incubation Hub’s social entrepreneurship program, which provides young people with mentorship, leadership skills and potential investors to which they may not otherwise have access. Since then, the R&R Place idea has morphed into a business concept that she has successfully pitched to several investors.
“It’s a place where socially conscious businesses can offer their products, services or experience at a discounted rate for low-income Canadians,” explains the high-school student. “Our site will be trust-based, so that if you’re visiting the site, you are identifying as low income and asking for help [with this access].”