Can you really make ends meet while changing the world?

November 18, 2013

Social enterprise need not be a profit-sinking four-letter word.

Last April, Paul Millar, Director of Outreach at ForestView Church, realized he had a problem.

“We had seen a growing interest and response to Rolling Horse, our community bike repair program, and knew that there were new opportunities to explore to further our social impact,” he said. “However, we were uncertain how to generate enough income to run the programs that we wanted to do.”

Building a social enterprise was a logical solution. “But,” Millar says, “that in itself created a new challenge as we needed coaching on the building process. We found out about Innoweave through our local United Way and knew it was the logical next step.”

ForestView Church is certainly not alone with its challenges around building a successful social enterprise. Many NFPs struggle with finding and maintaining the funds to run their programs and, just as importantly, making them self sufficient.

On November 7, Aaron Good, Managing Director at SiG @ McConnell, addressed a room full of leaders at the Let’s Talk…Let’s Connect breakfast hosted by Halton Region Social and Community Services Department, who were all interested in developing a social enterprise (a business that uses commercial strategies to have a positive impact on people and the environment).

“It was incredible,” says Good, “to feel the energy in the room and to hear about the exciting social enterprises that organizations like ForestView Church, Community Living North Halton and the Bob Rumball Association for the Deaf have created to enhance their impact.”

For ForestView Church, getting an Innoweave grant meant that they had the means to work with coach, Chris Moss, whom they had already identified as the best person to help them plan their process. (Moss happens to be part of Innoweave’s 80+ database of recommended, skilled mentors for long term training in the field of Social Enterprise).

Since their initial meeting with Moss in September, ForestView has already been able to mobilize a dynamic volunteer team with the ideal skillset to further the project. They’re now working towards a detailed market analysis and preliminary cash flow statement. “There’s lots of homework to be done,” laughs Millar.

Millar shared his story with the attendees at the Halton Community and Social Services Department Talk on Social Enterprise. “I’ve been really interested to see that social enterprise is a subject that really gathers people’s attention.”

Innoweave is committed to bringing you targeted solutions that are both practical and results-driven. If organizations in your community would also like to learn more about how social enterprise can help them keep a healthy bottom line while enriching their communities, contact us and we’ll bring this presentation to you.