Social Entrepreneur | Restaurateur
“There is nothing more invigorating than understanding how flawed you are and still believing you can do good,” says Mark Brand, one of Vancouver’s most recognized and celebrated entrepreneurs. A restaurateur and retailer, Brand is best known for resurrecting the Save on Meats enterprise in the city’s downtown eastside. Committed to making the store a true social enterprise, Brand shares his message on the importance of sustainable business models with numerous audiences throughout North America, and has also spoken for the world renowned TED Talks series.
After opening his first restaurant, Boneta, in 2007, Brand went on to open an independent clothing label and storefront called “Sharks + Hammers,” followed by The Diamond tapas restaurant and lounge, Seamonstr Sushi, Catalog Art Gallery, Persephone Brewing, and—his largest undertaking to date—Save on Meats.
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.
Mark is also the co-founder of A Better Life Foundation, an organization dedicated to raising funds to put toward providing food security to those in need.
In addition to speaking on sustainable business, Brand also speaks passionately about building better communities, the impact of an unconventional solution, using our past to guide our future, food security, and social values in business.