Recess is a tech driven corporate benefits solution that improves emotional intelligence, mental wellness and productivity.

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  • Yes, I fulfill all of the eligibility criteria.

Initiative's representative name

Kelly-ann Bethel

Initiative's representative date of birth

13th April 1988

Initiative’s representative gender

  • Woman

Which eligible market are you based in?

  • Canada

Where are you making a difference?

We have piloted our project in Trinidad and Tobago, however our main market is in Calgary Canada.

Website or social media url(s)


When was your organisation founded?

October 2019

Focus areas

  • Reskilling and upskilling the workforce
  • Creating digital tools

Project Stage

  • Pilot (have done first proof of concept)

Yearly Budget: How much capital do you need to accomplish your proposed project?

  • $10k - $50k

Organisation Type

  • For-profit

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed

Simply put, Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is the new IQ when we consider skills for the future of work. What can us humans do better than any AI or any automation? With mental health being a major global issue, this undermines people's fundamental advantage. I have a very personal reason that drives my passion for this area. One of my best friends suffers from bipolar disorder and I see how the stigma has affected her ability to work. I see first hand how this could have been managed if there was early detection. With these alarming global mental health stats. It is clear that this area needs to be addressed. Society of HRM posits Mental Wellness in the workplace as a priority in preparing organizations for future work.

2. The problem: What problem surrounding employability or financial capability are you helping to solve?

There is currently a mental health epidemic, according to WHO mental disorders affect 1 in 4 individuals globally. Groups affected more; millennials, LGBTQ+, entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, the cultural stigma and financial cost associated with mental health has created a treatment gap. Yes, this affects employability of those with mental issues. In addition general wellness affects attrition, job satisfaction, motivation & productivity.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Recess is a corporate employee benefits solution that uses technology to reduce barriers to engaging with Employee Assistance Programs (EAP is a structured, clearly defined work based program designed to improve performance by providing psychological and organizational support to the management and staff of an organization). We do this by creating a goal setting and EQ training mobile app based in artificial intelligence. Recess app monitors employee moods and charts progress to proactivity push staff to seek mental health assistance through our secure online counselling portal if needed. Recess consists of 3 components; mobile app, company web portal, mental health practitioner portal 1. Mobile App includes Goal Setting - (Integrated mood tracking and Journaling), AI guided Emotional Intelligence training based in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy & Online Therapy. 2. Company Platform measures overall score and assessment of employee wellness, Emotional intelligence and employee happiness. Standard EAP reporting 3. Practitioner Portal;Secure Online Therapy, Client data for more effective therapy.

4. How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solving the problem?

We are using AI and chatbots to teach people Emotional Intelligence, we are using AI to predict mental health issues and to direct persons to care through e-counselling if needed. We are doing this within the framework of existing systems of EAP that are standard practice within organisations.

5. Employability: how is your organization or project teaching people to develop the skills that they need to survive in the future job market?

We directly teach people Emotional Intelligence and help them focus on mental wellness which are critical skills for the future of work.

5a. Please describe which future-oriented skills your organization is focused on fostering and how you have measured / plan to measure progress

Recess focuses on the soft skills need for future of work; Mental Wellness and Emotional Intelligence. We measure EQ by the use of the Emotional Intelligence Inventory before and after training. Emotional intelligence consists of 5 parts: stress management, self perception, self expression, interpersonal, decision making and stress management. We measure mental well being by pre existing screening tools and by employee happiness score.

6. Financial capability: how is your organization or project creating innovative solutions that arm people with ability to optimize their current and future financial health

For our project the underlying assumption is that financial capability is a function of being able to get a job, staying in a job, keeping a job and growing steadily within a particular field. From our research mental wellness challenges is a indirect hindrance to overall financial capability. Recess solution is aimed at addressing this issue.

6a. Please describe what aspect of financial capability your organization is focused on fostering and how you have measured / plan to measure progress.

For us Financial capability is function of employability. And is a longer term outcome for Recess. We plan to quantify this by measuring company attrition rates and job stability over time.

7. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are several startups in mental health space both corporate and direct to consumer. Our approach is different as we are more skills focused and we only direct to therapy and mental health care if needed.

8. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

200 staff members in 5 organizations in Trinidad and Tobago. We are using T&T as a testing market for our service before we engage with step 2, which is piloting in Calgary in 10 pre approved organizations.

9. Financial Sustainability Plan. Can you tell us about you plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

We simply need start up funds to finish full product development our current pilot engaged through whatsapp and insecure tools to engage with persons. With this grant we would be able to build a secure platform that would be needed to test in Canada on more developed territories. After this stage is completed our monetization strategy is 1. To charge organizations to subscription to implement Recess within their company 2. We hope that this would subsidize the open market where we be able to offer EQ training free and discounted therapy for those who cannot afford. In the medium term we may have to consider seeking investment funding.

10. Team

Currently we are a 100% part time team. Our goal is by September 2019 we could be full time in Recess. Kelly-ann Bethel- CEO/ Founder - Serial Tech entrepreneur. Previous startup Bsc Management Studies, Msc Counselling Psychology Warren O'Connell- previous start up , CTO Bsc Computer Science , Msc Data Science Joseph Williams- Phd Computer Science focus in Artificial intelligence Future growth: Advisory Board, Expanded technical team, Growth and sales.

Help Us Support Diversity! Are you a member of an under-served , under-represented, or marginalized group in your country of residence? (yes/no) (this question is optional – if you choose to fill it out, the response will not be shared with your fellow contestants)

  • Race
  • Nationality
  • Ethnic group
  • Gender
  • Sexual orientation

If you selected “yes” to any of the categories above, please explain how being a member of this group has impacted you and your work?

Being a memeber of this group will give me opportunity beyond my all my demographic

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