Mark Brand

Social Entrepreneur, Global Activist using Food for Good
Vancouver & Halifax

What Mark is Passionate About


Mark Brand believes that good business doesn’t have to come at the cost of doing good. Discussing the tenants of blending corporate and community leadership, Mark draws on his own decades-long experience of successful social entrepreneurship to guide and encourage audiences in their own endeavours.

Fully customizable, Mark can discuss his own experience (and lessons learned); the best practices for employing people who traditionally have had barriers to employment; mentorship; the importance of leverage and partnerships; thinking outside the box; and sticking to your philosophies during tough economic times.


Successful and vibrant communities are built with real inclusion. Mark Brand works in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, a community long recognized as being in flux. The space of one city block separates million dollar condos and 8×10-single-room occupancy’s dedicated as housing for the mentally ill and addicted.

Brand’s work in the DTES encompasses food security, training, employment, and strategic partnerships with developers and social enterprises alike. He works to change policy municipally–and perception nationally–in an effort to help create and build better communities that are rich, inclusive, and wonderful places in which to live and work, and where residents look after one another.

He speaks on this topic with the passion that translates to all levels of business and society, regardless of color, creed, or financial status.

Why You Need Mark

Mark Brand is one of Canada’s most recognized social entrepreneurs in the field of social impact and community development. He is a pioneering chef and he uses food for good. He has become a prominent example of a new generation of leadership.


A fighter for Vancouver’s Downtown East Side, this enigmatic social entrepreneur was determined to breathe new life into the struggling and disjointed community. He’s doing this by finding a balance between sound business practices and social justice.

Save on Meats had been a Vancouver landmark from the time it was originally founded in 1957, serving the local community with a butcher shop and lunch counter. Brand resurrected Save on Meats, restoring the building back to its prime while becoming a leader in the charge to make the social business model independently sustainable, at the same time supporting the local community. Money generated from Save on Meats’ operations go directly towards supporting people in need. The store employs over 65 workers, many of whom live in the community and struggle with employment barriers, and boasts a meal program that serves 450 people per day, seven days a week.


Along with leading his 5 organizations, Brand leads the United Nations Catalyst team focusing on food waste, poverty, and the impacts of current systemic structures on the most marginalized, traveling globally to learn and share best real-world practices and solutions from kitchens and stages alike.

He is a co-founder of Persephone Brewing reigniting cooperative and employee ownership and making an 11-acre farm, farmers markets, a pizza oven making ingredients off the farm, and a barrier employment program– Persephone is a haven for what’s possible.

Brand received Canada’s Golden Jubilee Medal for service to his country and community. He is the co-founder of A Better Life Foundation, an organization dedicated to raising funds to put toward providing food security to those in need.

Most recently Mark launched “BETTER”, an iHeart Original radio show and podcast, bringing tools for us all to live better lives through stories of lived experiences from our most beloved citizens.

At the root of everything he works on, he believes that only true partnership and collaboration can create the successes we need and that there is no “Us and Them, only Us.”

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Why You Will Love Mark

“Mark Brand is easily among the most prolific if not captivating and inspirational speakers to ever have taken the TEDx stage. Within seconds of beginning his talk, Mark turned a room of 2,000 TED enthusiasts into Brand-Fans with his high energy story. He’s one of those rare speakers that could turn a standalone reading of the Phonebook into a mesmerizing soliloquy just by injecting his own experience and voice into it. If you haven’t had the chance to hear Mark speak yet, find a way.”

Christopher Ian Bennett
Program Chair, Board of Directors, TEDx Vancouver

“Mark Brand is cool. During a well-attended public forum on improving our downtown, Mark spoke eloquently and honestly about what it means to be an entrepreneur who invests in his community and its residents, demonstrating that success and social enterprise can – and oftentimes should – go hand in hand. He lives it, he preaches it; he is it”

Mike Savage
Mayor of Halifax


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