Cochrane innovators discuss social impact and business

The first of what organizers hope will be many in-person meetings by a group of community innovators was held at Found Books on January 10.

The first of what organizers hope will be many in-person meetings by a group of community innovators was held at Found Books on January 10.

Innovate Cochrane President Nathan Klassen set the stage for the meeting before introducing featured guest Reid Kimmett of Two Pharmacy.

‘Social impact’, ‘corporate social responsibility’ and ‘social value’ are all terms used in the literature accompanying this idea. Although overlapping, definitions may vary from organization to organization. They can generally be used interchangeably.

At its most basic, the idea of ​​social influence in a business context is about recognizing that people will want to associate with companies that reflect their values ​​and commitment.

Businesses that go above and beyond to not only secure profits for themselves, but also improve the condition of society in general and their communities in particular, are engaged in social impact as well as profit generation. The two are intertwined.

Klassen said they chose Kimmett to come and speak because Two Pharmacy is an example of a local business that has made social impact the foundation of everything they do.

“They are a company that integrates social impact right into the DNA of their business model,” he said.

The Kimmett family is well known in Cochrane, in part because of the Lindsay Leigh Kimmett Memorial Foundation, which has donated more than $3 million to projects and organizations locally and around the world since 2022.

The Kimmett Cup Pond Hockey Tournament in February and the Monumental Tournament of Aces Golf Tournament in late August or early September are their main events.

Kimmett shared his personal story on January 10, saying that before he lost his sister Lindsay in a car accident in 2008, he was working on a business degree at university and planned to go into the oil and gas sector “and make a lot of money. “

His priorities changed when he lost his sister.

His father, Kelly, was a pharmacist, his mother, a nurse, and Lindsay was in medical school.

“I realized that there was probably a greater purpose for me. Maybe my purpose was to take what I’m good at, work, and apply it to what my family is familiar with. . . concern for others,” he said.

Kimmett has worked at the family pharmacy since 2012. He said his father, Kelly (who retired in 2019), always had a certain approach to the requests of local charities.

“My dad had MO [which] was that every request that came in, he would tell them yes in some way,” Kimmett said.

It was kind of a logical sequence then, for Two Pharmacy to include social impact in its mission statement.

Kimmett gave an example of the power of social impact thinking applied to their bottom line.

He said one of their biggest fears is what will happen to the pharmacy if Primary Health Care, which is next to them, ever closes. When this happened in 2021, the pharmacy was pleasantly surprised by the level of customer loyalty they cultivated. Business continued to grow despite the closing of the clinic next door.

He also mentioned another example of the importance of social influence that younger people especially want to join companies that show that kind of commitment.

Kimmett also offered some sage advice to the city of Cochrane as it relates to the municipality’s push to foster innovation at The Station, which opened last fall.

He said his impression was that Station wanted to help tech innovators get into new businesses, which was a good idea. But he thinks maybe they should expand their scope. He said the approach must go far beyond technology itself to build a healthy business ecosystem.

“They’re basing their plan on what Waterloo (Ontario) did, but we don’t have a big university that’s constantly churning out tech talent,” he said.

“But we have an abundance of talent and experience in various other things. Maybe we need to expand our scope, looking at how we can build the next Found Books or Two Pharmacy.”

Extending the conversation to the topic of innovation itself, Klassen said there are many definitions of innovation, and thinking outside the box can be difficult for some.

It’s about what he called “cultivating curiosity.”

“I find that discomfort can be a great comfort, combined with curiosity and humility,” he said.

On a personal level, Klassen said being open to new ideas is the key to embracing innovation.

Innovate Cochrane will conduct Startup 101 and Customer 101, with remote viewing from The Corner Coworking at 225 Railway St. Well, on the evening of January 23 and 30. For more information and to apply, visit

Startup Cochrane (#startupcochrane) is a monthly event hosted by Innovate Cochrane, held on the fourth Tuesday of the month, also held at The Corner, starting at 7pm.

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