Social Enterprise

Launching a business to enhance impact while generating revenue.

Community organizations use social enterprise ‘businesses’ to achieve their social, cultural, and/or environmental goals while generating revenue.

Innoweave Introduction to Social Enteprise Webinar from J.W. McConnell Family Foundation on Vimeo.

Download the slides from the Introduction to Social Enterprise webinar here.

Social enterprises can help nonprofits achieve a number of different goals including:

  • Providing skills, training, and employment experience (e.g. a catering company that employs people who face employment barriers)
  • Enabling people to choose more environmentally sustainable options (e.g. selling environmentally friendly products)
  • Increasing social inclusion (e.g. services for seniors, children, or people with disabilities)
  • Facilitating access to the arts (e.g. community theatre)

Organizations often launch a social enterprise for one or more of the following three reasons:

  • To meet a need in the community that is not being met through a traditional business model. For example: Eva's Phoenix Printing in Toronto trains youth at risk in the printing business, preparing them to leave their street lives and enter into the labour market.
  • To advance or achieve a specific social mission. For example: Haida Gwaii Higher Education Society operates an accredited University level academic program to bring students to their community to learn about the local First Nations culture and arts, and the unique local biology environment. In addition to the student learning, there is an important local economic impact for the isolated region of Haida Gwaii.
  • To contribute to the financial sustainability of a non-profit organization. For example: The Prince George Aboriginal Friendship Centre rents out the excess space in the building they own. The income from rent covers the mortgage payment and their program administrative costs.

This module will increase participant’s knowledge about social enterprise and explore the value it can add to their non-profit, while helping participants to think about whether social enterprise is appropriate for their organization at this time.

Content for this module has been developed by enp Canada.