Episode #47 – Antoine Palmer – Innovation Sprouts Culture & Community

“There’s a lot of ways to develop commercial value but one of the ways is to understand that commerce follows culture.” – Antoine Palmer

Antoine Palmer was born and raised in Fort McMurray, Alberta with a curious and questioning nature. At the age of 17, Antoine left Fort McMurray on a 12-year journey to find purpose and meaning that led him to become a Hindu monk and travel around the globe.

For over 5 years, Antoine engaged in strict monastic practice and served at temples in Vancouver, Seattle, France, and Germany. After graduating from the monastic order, he founded a small monastery in Vienna that accommodated 20-25 monks in training. Antoine also launched several business ventures to support the economic needs of the community, including a vegetarian restaurant, an export business distributing Indian imports throughout Europe, a European branch of a US-based coach training institute, and a foray into real estate with the conversion of a 200-year old heritage building into modern condominium suites.

After a year sabbatical to study, Antoine returned to Canada in 2007 and founded Konscious Corp., a consulting firm that lead dozens of projects from restructuring large-scale real estate developments challenged by the 2008 economic downturn, to affordable housing and renewable energy projects, to serving as a public spokesperson for Edmonton’s Social Enterprise Fund.

In 2011 Antoine co-founded Sustainival, the world’s first green carnival – a full-scale carnival midway that operates entirely on renewable energy. Antoine is also the co-founder of Sustainitech, a technology commercialization company that builds high-density commercial lettuce farms in shipping containers.

Given the inherent risks of these social enterprise startups, Antoine launched a third company in 2012 called ‘Boring Investments’. This company was built to purchase commercial properties and establish a cashflow foundation as a hedge against the potential startup risks.

After stabilizing these ventures with executive teams in place, Antoine returned his focus to commercial real estate in early 2016. Boring Investments was rebranded as Sparrow Capital with the purpose of demonstrating how commercial real estate assets can be curated strategically to enhance the cultural fabric of neighbourhoods and the economic resilience of municipal regions.

Antoine holds a diploma in mediation and conflict resolution from the Vienna ARGE academy and a diploma in Indian philosophy from the University of Wales. Antoine is a Platinum member of the Real Estate Investment Network, a board member of IDEA – Infill Development in Edmonton Association, the Planning Director for the Riverdale Community League, and Chairman of the PowPow Brotherhood. He lives in Edmonton with his wife and 4 children and is an avid mountain biking and backcountry snowboard enthusiast.

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