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Standard Interviews: Jordan Ekers
Standard Interviews is a daily series that showcases the creative individuals that are making Toronto a better and more vibrant place to live.

In four sentences or less, tell us who you are and what you do for a living.

My name is Jordan.

I’m a social entrepreneur that has launched three businesses over the last eight years. All three of them were focused on inspiring consumers to be more environmentally friendly and lead healthier lifestyles. Currently, I’m the lead on business development at Nudge Rewards.

When I was in university, one of the business I started became the largest environmentally focused consumer trade show in Atlantic Canada. I wanted to create a platform where consumers could learn about products that were environmentally friendly. I later sold that business and went to work for one of the largest loyalty programs in Canada, AIR MILES.

At that very early stage in my career, I started to understand that I wanted to influence consumer behaviour in favour of helping the environment. Trade shows helped show me that passion, but they were a poor tool for helping change consumer behaviour.

That’s when I met the folks at Nudge.

Want to give us the elevator pitch for Nudge?

Nudge Rewards is a system for helping an organization engage its employees in health and wellness, community volunteering and sustainability programs. We operate a software platform that provides organizations with a mobile application that their employees can download.

The idea is that we’ve created a mobile app that allows organizations to communicate with employees and actually reward them with points when they do something good. We’ve married the effectiveness of a loyalty points program with a mobile app in an effort to try and inspire better employee behaviour.

What was the inspiration for Nudge?

Nudge was started by our founder, Lindsey Goodchild. Prior to starting Nudge, she was a sustainability consultant for both the private and public sectors, and one of the observations she was able to make was that the organizations she worked with typically designed very intelligent sustainability strategies to get their employees engaged in different programs. However, those strategies were often ineffective because of their execution or implementation.

What we see across North America is that around 10 to 15 percent of an organization’s employees are actually engaged in their company’s sustainability programs. So, whether that’s getting an employee to carpool to work or getting them to conserve energy at their workplace, only 10 to 15 percent of employees are engaged in those type of programs; there’s a huge opportunity to increase that level of engagement.

We also realized that 95% of people carry around a smartphone, so we asked ourselves, “How can we harness the intimate relationship people share with their smartphone to get them to do something good for themselves and the world?”

And that’s the where the idea of marrying a mobile app with a rewards program came from.

What’s the most challenging part of your job? Conversely, what’s the most rewarding part?

We’re a younger business—we’ve grown from three people to nine people in the last six months—that has increased the number of clients we work with by 450% in the last two months, so right now we’re trying to figure out how we continue to grow intelligently and ensure that we’re always adding value for our clients. That’s been the most challenging part.

The most rewarding part is when I get to see how we’ve impacted people’s lives. We’re just starting to see how our platform is making it easier for people that use our app to make better decisions.

What does success look like for you?

Personally, I want continue to dedicate my career to building and bringing different ideas to life. I also always want to be involved with working with bright and passionate people to help make a difference in the world.

Outside of work, I think that the thing that got me into this business was that the world is facing some very complex challenges right now. When we look at climate change, there’s a massive opportunity to change the way we live as individuals to better suit the needs of the world. I grew up loving being outdoors, and I can’t imagine a life where I can’t continue enjoy nature.

Outside of work, what motivates and inspires you?

What inspires me is that we can create change and that people want to change. Business is an amazing tool to inspire that change. When you look at organizations now, you’re starting to see how organizations are harnessing the power they have to create social good.

I’m also inspired to live a good life and to have fun with my friends. I like to be active and just try to inspire others to enjoy their lives as well.

What’s your favourite neighbourhood?

I’ve lived in a few different places around the city. I used to live in what I’m going to call the silo next to the ACC when I first moved to the city, which wasn’t the best way to get to the know the city.

I now live in the College and Dovercourt area, and I absolutely love it. The area has a lot of great restaurants and friendly people living in it. With a city, you want to have the ability to access the outdoors in a convenient way, so either having access to the waterfront or High Park is amazing, and that’s something I have access to living in the College and Dovercourt area.

What do you love about Toronto?

I love the people. I’ve met a lot of great people—either through the business community or through friends. The city itself has this vibrant energy to it, and there’s always something to do depending on what you’re interested in. If you want to go for a bike ride, or sit on an amazing patio and have some exceptional food from a variety of different cultures, you can easily do so.

I find that, as someone working for a startup, Toronto has become a hub and accelerator for a lot of smaller companies. It’s nice to be a part of that community.

What’s next for you?

I would almost marry the two together and say I want to continue to do what I love to do, working with amazing people on a game changing idea that will make the world a better place.

Personally, I love Toronto and I think the city will be where I live most of my life. I often think about moving to Vancouver, because it’s so beautiful there, but I stay in Toronto because my friends and family are here and it’s an equally exceptional city.

Professionally, I want to continue to help Nudge grow, as well as give back to the community that has help us. That means helping other startups that are going through their own growth phase. We’ve learned a lot and I’m sure we’ll continue to learn, so we have an amazing opportunity to share what we’ve learned.
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Igor Bonifacic is the managing editor of Toronto Standard. Follow him on Twitter.

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