The Crown Prince Couple. (Courtesy Jørgen Gomnæs via The Royal Court)

The Crown Prince Couple. (Courtesy Jørgen Gomnæs via The Royal Court)

Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway are visiting the Student Learning Centre today from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. to discuss social innovation.

They will be meeting will innovative startup founders such as Robin Cory (Colbeck Strategic Advisors), Johann Koss (Right to Play), Maayan Ziv (AccessNow) and Tariq Fancy (Rumie).

According to the Royal Norwegian Embassy press release, the visit will reinforce the bilateral connections between Canada and Norway, highlight our common interests in the Arctic and show how we can work together to stimulate innovation and diversity. The visit will also promote business collaboration within the fields of entrepreneurship and start-ups, defence, oil and gas, and aquaculture.

Crown Prince Haakon will give a presentation at the SLC on the history of innovation, followed by discussion on social startups with the various groups. Following the presentation and discussion, there will be a closed roundtable at the Digital Media Experience lab on building startup communities and the importance of scaling globally.

Their Royal Highnesses’ visit to Ryerson is part of the official four-day trip to Canada.

To conclude their first day in Toronto, their Royal Highnesses’  will attend a screening of The King’s Choice at TIFF Bell Lightbox. The film, which is Norway’s Oscar contender this year, tells the true story about the three days in April 1940 where the German military gave the Norwegian King (Crown Prince Haakon’s great grandfather) King Haakon VII an ultimatum of surrender or death.

The Crown Prince Couple will end their visit to Toronto tomorrow after attending a ceremony at the Little Norway Memorial Park. The park commemorates Little Norway Training Camp, a training facility for Norwegian fighter pilots during WWII.

This royal couple’s event at the SLC is open to the public and begins at 2:30 p.m.

How the event went

(Courtesy of Hongen Nar)

Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway make their entrance into the SLC. (Courtesy of Hongen Nar)

(Courtesy of Hongen Nar)

The Crown Prince couple sit inside the SLC for the first time for the Social Innovation Panel. (Courtesy of Hongen Nar)

Crown Prince Hokken proudly mentioned how the SLC was designed by Snøhetta, an international architecture and design company with headquarters in Oslo. He also expressed how delighted he was to be at the event.

“Here, some of the greatest minds in Canada are creating and advancing our future everyday. And I am delighted to be at this event and on a topic that is close to my heart – innovation,”

Hokken went through the world history of ideas in the last 400,000 year in 2 minutes. Some of the innovations were: fire, the plow to harvest soil, the wheel, the first written language to communicate, the compass to navigate the seas, printing, the telephone, the plane and more. At the same time, he showed the population growth to see how that matches innovation.

As the Crown Prince wrapped up his presentation, he left the audience with an important question to think about:

“How can we ensure real positive change in peoples lives with all the tools that we have available to us today?”

The session then showcased examples of social leaders that are using innovative approaches to address social economic challenges globally.

The three founders each took three minutes to describe their social innovation followed by what some of their challenges have been and what their next steps are.


For Maayan Ziv, the founder of AccessNow –  a map that crowdsources accessibility information around the world, her challenge is informing people about accessibility. “Accessibility is something that can be built into a business rather than adding onto it,” she said. “That’s where were headed… to expand that conversation.”


Tariq Fancy explained how there are roughly about a billion kids around the world that are underserved in education. Rumie is a low-cost tablet that provides pre-loaded curriculums for kids to learn. He said that his biggest challenge is finding the right kind of risk-takers to expand his start-up.

Right to Play

Lastly, Johann Koss talked about his global organization that is made up of  inspirational coaches, athletes and staff. Together, they use play-based learning to engage kids in their education, to teach them health lessons and to show them how to build peaceful communities. A challenge that he faces is finding ways to invest in the non-profit social innovation.

Daniela Olariu is a multimedia journalist that is pursuing her BJourn at Ryerson University. She enjoys covering breaking news as well as the arts & life and following news stories that are happening locally and internationally.

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