Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Social Enterprise Exchange - A collective voice for social enterprise in London, Ontario!

A great group of people sat around a large table at WOTCH this morning as we learned about the Untrepreneur initiative and discussed issues such as social metrics and the challenges of employment for people on ODSP. The topics were deep and at times not always agreed upon but what a way to get to the heart of the issues in social enterprise. Sitting together and having the honest, open conversation!

This group, called the Social Enterprise Exchange has decided to continue in January to meet monthly to discuss how to make London a better place by creating a social movement that can help solve many problems. The example of Ed Jackman's Untrepreneur's (facebook, twitter: @Untrepreneurs ) is a perfect example of this movement. In 140 characters or less, twitter helped Ed launch this business. How can a grassroots group of changemakers come together to lower London's unemployment rate? How can people who are un(der)employed find work that is meaningful to them rather than using job boards to find something that will simply help them get by? What if someone intentionally brought together people looking for work, matched up their skills and abilities and created opportunities in organizations looking for projects to be done. Brilliant!

The location of the Exchange is no surprise, WOTCH is very passionate about how social enterprise can benefit individuals and nonprofit organizations by saying profit is a good thing. Business can not only employ people with mental health issues but also reduce the stigma that people with mental health issues face daily. Social enterprise can also compliment the social service work currently being done by the host organization by giving clients new and greater opportunities.

WOTCH is well-known in London for the "My Sister's Place", a micro enterprise that was recently feature in last months Business London magazine and was a finalist in the Pillar Community Innovation Awards this year. They have plans for more social enterprise and will continue on into the future I am sure.

Dates for the social enterprise exchange for the new year will be added to Pillar's website in the next week.