Peter Nares

Ashoka Fellow
North York, ON, Canada
Fellow Since 2007
SEDI (Social and Enterprise Development Innovations)

This profile is dedicated to the memory of Peter Nares, who passed away in April 2016.
Peter helped Canada’s poor develop greater financial literacy while learning how to save and build assets. SEDI developed the nationwide pilot program learn$ave, which used a matching savings system to help low-income earners save for post-secondary education, job skills training and self-employment. In 2008, SEDI launched the Canadian Centre for Financial Literacy, which develops financial literacy among low-income Canadians. A year later, the federal budget adopted a measure suggested by SEDI to create a financial literacy task force that made recommendations to the minister of finance regarding a national strategy for financial literacy.


This profile was prepared when Peter Nares was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2007.
The New Idea
Peter’s vision is a global economy where all citizens, especially the most vulnerable (i.e., women, youth, indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, and refugees) can become financially capable—meaning, they are aware of financial opportunities, know where to go for help, make informed choices, take effective action to improve their financial well-being, and save and build assets.

Peter and his organization, Social and Enterprise Development Innovations (SEDI), have led the development of at least three fields of practice in Canada—microenterprise, financial literacy, and asset development. His leadership has produced rigorously evaluated policy demonstrations including Learn$ave, Home$ave, and one of the first systems of child development accounts for low-income children among developed countries. Because of Peter’s work, thousands of low-income Canadians now have the opportunity to shape their economic futures.

Peter’s newest idea is to create an international multi-sector network of asset builders who share his vision and are prepared to contribute their time and resources to develop and implement a strategy that will bring the message of asset building and financial literacy to the world and provide knowledge transfer to governments, the private sector, and citizen organizations.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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