Monday, April 11, 2011

Starting Points

Social enterprise refers to business ventures operated by non-profits, whether they are societies, charities, or co-operatives. These businesses sell goods or provide services in the market for the purpose of creating a blended return on investment, both financial and social. Their profits are returned to the business or to a social purpose, rather than maximizing profits to shareholders” (Source: enp).

Background: On November 5th, 2010, Pillar received funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation for the “Social Enterprise for Sustainable Communities Program”. The program allowed five partners to come together to educate, support and learn from nonprofits and charities who may wish to start social enterprises as a way to have greater community impact and diversify their revenue sources.

Since that time, I was hired as the Project Manager for this project and I have begun meeting with many organizations in the London area who are currently and actively working as social enterprise managers. I have seen some amazing initiatives and I am learning innovative ways to help nonprofits become more sustainable. I have started this blog to share our learning and outcomes over the next three years. It is also a place where you can comment and interact to help us as a community to grow and develop in this area.

Ivey Conference: On March 9th 2011, our partners at Ivey School of Business hosted the Social Enterprise Day @ Ivey where hundreds of nonprofit leaders, students, business partners, funders and many others participated in numerous workshops learning about what Social Enterprise can do to improve a community through social change. The day was informative, well attended and a great start to kick off this program.

Thank you: I want to thank the following organizations for meeting with me so far and I’m looking forward to meeting many more in the future: Pivotal, The London Training Centre, Women’s Community House (Mine 101), WOTCH (My Sister’s Place), Over 55, YMCA of Southwestern Ontario, Youth Opportunities Unlimited and ecoLiving London for sharing your lessons learned and helping me get my feet on the ground in the Social Enterprise arena.

Next Steps: As I continue to engage with the community I am also creating curriculum for fall workshops on “Social Enterprise Basics” and “Organizational Readiness”. I am also available for one on one consultations and enterprising discussion. Please join our blog and pass this information around to anyone you know who might find this interesting. 

If you are a nonprofit leader, social entrepreneur or local business and are interested in more information about social enterprise, corporate social responsibility or social ventures please contact me. 


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