Penguin Rewards

This cute, fluffy Penguin helps you get healthier and wealthier while keeping our planet in mind! How? For every step or roll (or waddle) you take, the Penguin Rewards App gives you digital coins that you can redeem for offers or discounts while visiting your favourite local grocers, cafes and restaurants, or while discovering new ones!




Beedie School of Business


Civic Innovation Change Lab


  • Tamara Connell
  • Timothy Ames

City of Vancouver:

  • Marga Pacis
  • Leslie Ng

Student Team:

  • Ariadne Boutsakis
  • Pooria Arab
  • Karan Johar
  • Michelle Luk


  • Climate Emergency Action Plan


Spring 2021


With over 350 small retailers closing down over the past decade and only 145 active neighbourhood retailers remaining in Vancouver, this presents an alarming statistic that community change makers should pay attention to. On top of rising rent costs, urban development, and restrictive regulations, the COVID-19 pandemic has only worsened the challenges faced by neighbourhood retailers. Through our community research, however, we have observed an increase in the level of support for small businesses. We realized that there was an opportunity to create a platform that connects community members with local businesses in a fun and interactive way.

Penguin Rewards supports small, neighbourhood retailers by incentivizing people to shop locally. As a walking rewards app, community members get digital coins for every step or roll (or waddle) they take, which they can use to redeem offers and discounts at their favourite local grocers, cafes and restaurants. By getting neighbourhood retailers onto our gamified, online platform, our goal is to improve their visibility to local community members and to create foot traffic by encouraging community members to shop locally.

Our mission is to improve the resiliency of neighbourhood retailers and to support them in a post-pandemic, green recovery, in alignment with the City of Vancouver’s Climate Emergency Action Plan and the Vancouver Plan. Not only does our platform provide community members with financial benefits, but it encourages healthy lifestyles, reduces vehicle use, and supports our local economies.

Times are changing and new technologies are arising everyday. It is vital for small businesses to take advantage of these tools to connect them with their communities. Gamified approaches have proven to be effective in this way, and we have analyzed the strengths and weaknesses of existing platforms to ensure that Penguin Rewards is tailored to our users.

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