About the Program

Project Overview
The Social Enterprise for Sustainable Communities initiative will provide a cycle of learning that explores, incubates and validates social enterprises, creating more self sufficient, resilient and sustainable communities.

Through collaboration with community partners in Ottawa, London and Sarnia, we will establish a localized framework that will stimulate and support innovative social enterprise.  Experiences will be shared across the province, enabling the integration of social enterprise into the fabric of the local economy.  This project has been made possible thanks to the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

Project Partnership


What is Social Enterprise
Social enterprise is a business operated by a non-profit organization for the dual purpose of generating income from sales of their product / service AND achieving a social, cultural or environmental outcome.

Social enterprise:
  • fosters a more vibrant, resilient and self-sufficient nonprofit sector
  • invites community innovation in addressing old problems
  • builds a new sector of the local economy
  • achieves a blended return on investment


Project Goals
1.       To develop a strategy for social enterprise interventions for Sarnia, London and Ottawa
2.       To increase understanding and communication of the role that social enterprises can play in (re)building sustainable communities across the province.
3.       To create a program for incubation and support to new and existing social enterprises, customized to the needs of three communities: Sarnia, London and Ottawa.
4.       To promote community integration.
a.       Social enterprise is integrated into the fabric of the local economy
b.       Each social enterprise support system engages multiple sectors across the community (business, government, educators & students, nonprofits) in a collaborative, efficient model   
5.       To build a customizable framework for community planning for incubation and integration of social enterprise that can be leveraged across the province.

Expected Outcomes
1.       A guiding framework for an integrated support system for incubating and integrating social enterprise into a community and local economy.
2.       A well designed social enterprise support system for London; a model for readiness and exploration for Sarnia; an evaluation of Ottawa’s existing support system and its impact.
3.       Increased awareness and conversation of social enterprise and its value, prompting a growth in social enterprise activities as a means of meeting community needs.
4.       Increased access to online tools that share experiences and resources to enable learning about social enterprise across the province.
5.       Creation of 20-50 employment opportunities in the three communities.
6.       Increased cross-sector collaboration between nonprofit, business and government sectors.



Contact:  Chris Moss, Pillar Nonprofit Network, socialenterprise@pillarnonprofit.ca, 519-433-7876