There are many examples of social enterprises. Although not all of them would label themselves that way, they all use a business model to create social value. A social enterprise can take on many forms. Click on the link below to learn more.
What is a Social Enterprise?
Social enterprises can:
- Sell many different products from planter boxes, fertilizer, or patio furniture to packing cartons, meat pies, and cookies.
- Offer a range of services from consulting, recycling, or building management to courier and voice mailbox services, lawn maintenance, cafes, and restaurants.
- Generate a range of financial returns from 5% to (over) 100% of a program or organization's costs. Income sources can range from high-end businesses with private clientele or discounted services paid for by low-income clientele, to government contracts or government-funded services.
- Support many different outcomes from enhanced employment skills for Aboriginal youth, to better nourished or healthier low-income children, increased fish stocks, or higher levels of employment for people with mental health challenges or people with developmental disabilities.
To learn more about how social enterprises have been used to address specific social priorities such as poverty reduction, accessible health care, integrating immigrants, and providing necessary goods and services, read Enterprising Non-Profits’ (enp) What Social Enterprise Can Do in Your Community.
Explore Social Enterprise with Innoweave workshops
Innoweave provides mulitple levels of support for organizations exploring and developing ideas for a social enterprise. Please click on the links below to learn more.
Introduction to Social Enterprise Webinar
The Introduction to Social Enterprise webinar provides an overview of the Social Enterprise module, and review concepts and basic approaches associated with social enterprise. It also provides an overview of the Innoweave Social Enterprise workshop.
Multiple webinars are held annually. A pre-recorded Introduction to Social Enterprise webinar can also be viewed here.
Social Enterprise Opportunity Identification Webinar
Innoweave also offers Social Enterprise Opportunity Identification webinars. These sessions help organizations explore a range of social enterprise options that they could develop. Organizations can then select one of those options to develop at the Feasibility Planning Workshop. A recording of a demonstration workshop can be viewed here. Materials including an agenda for the two hour session and worksheets, can be downloaded here.
Social Enterprise Feasibility Planning Workshop
The Innoweave Social Enterprise workshop helps organizations explore and develop their idea for a social enterprise. The workshop will help leadership teams gain clarity on:
- The feasibility of their idea including market conditions;
- The basic elements of a potential business plan for their idea including draft financials, and impact targets
- Next steps including key assumptions that they need to validate and test.
This Innoweave workshop is intended for organizations that are thinking seriously about creating a social enterprise, have a specific idea and have the readiness to do so. The session will provide the space and support for leadership teams to think through their next steps in launching a business.
Social Innovation Micro-Tools
Innoweave also offers Micro-Tools, which include a number of resources which teams may wish to explore before a workshop, including:
- Business Model Canvas: Create a quick Social Enterprise plan here
- Experience Map: Understand how customers relate to you here
- Partnerships Map: Plan and assess partnerships for your social enterprise here
- Stakeholder Visualization: Understand the customers for your Social Enterprise here
- Target Group: Know your Social Enterprise target customer groups here
- Theory of Change: Align your activities with your impacts here
Organizations that have participated in an Innoweave Social Enterprise workshop and are clear on the business that they would like to develop and the assistance that they require to move forward (e.g. conduct a feasibility study/develop a business plan) will be eligible to apply for Innoweave Social Enterprise Implementation Funding. Read more about the funding process here.