Social Enterprise: Highlights From Recent Implementers!

January 23, 2018

Since 2013, Innoweave has supported organizations’ design and implementation of new social enterprises to address gaps in their communities and enhance the impact they create. To date, Innoweave has supported the design and launch of more than 80 social enterprises that use innovative business models to create positive social impacts across Canada.

This month, we’re happy to share updates on a few of these social enterprises!

A full list of the organizations that we have supported through our social enterprise module can be found here.

Pathways Health Centre for Children

Sarnia, Ontario

Pathways Health Centre for Children in Sarnia, Ontario is a Children’s Treatment Centre that serves children and youth with physical, developmental and communication needs, their families, as well as adults for some specialized services.

Pathways approached Innoweave in spring 2015, having identified a potential solution for the children they serve once they reach adulthood. The concern from families was that many of their children potentially could become ineligible for continued provincial support as an adult or see their current support reduced after age 19. They were very concerned about the quality of their children’s lives as they entered adulthood. Approaching this “cliff” can have a profound impact on their development, community connections, and their families.

Pathways worked with coach Chris Moss to develop the Lifelong Learning Program. This social enterprise leverages Pathways’ existing space and resources, and provides independence training and life skills programs for young adults with disabilities. The operation is sustained by tuition (user fees) to access the services that cost roughly half of what an individual support worker would cost if provided by an agency.

Since launching last fall, the Pathways Lifelong Learning Program has supported approximately 20 individuals per week including the hiring of new program staff to sustain it. A portion of revenues have been redirected toward the Children’s Treatment Centre programming from which many participants graduated. Pathways has also partnered with nearby Lambton College to provide placement opportunities for students interested in becoming support workers, and is looking at running the operation for an additional day each week.

The Pathways Lifelong Learning Program has helped augment the buffet of services available to young adults in Sarnia-Lambton, with numerous positive spinoffs!

Hearthstone Community Group

Selkirk, Manitoba

The Hearthstone Community Group provides a secure and integrated life in the community for intellectually challenged children as they became adults. They began the Innoweave process in spring 2016 with coach Frank Atnikov.

Hearthstone proposed to offer pet services, both on and off site, including dog walking, small pet care and day services such as day care and grooming, along with associated pet products.

The social enterprise helps Hearthstone enhance their impact by offering “therapeutic interaction with pets, a proven and beneficial therapeutic model, employment opportunities and pre employment or placement training.”

Despite the multifaceted benefits that this social enterprise can have for Hearthstone, the people it serves, and the community at large, the organization faced considerable challenges with respect to municipal zoning, which were subsequently resolved.

With a plan in place and those issues overcome, Hearthstone is now finalizing its physical space and preparing to welcome its first clients this spring. The zoning issues brought increased attention to Hearthstone, but in so doing helped position it as an innovative organization in Selkirk.

The Centre for Mindfulness Studies

Toronto, Ontario

The Centre for Mindfulness Studies (The Centre) is a professional development and service delivery organization for mindfulness-based interventions. In fall 2015, they began working with coach Norm Tasevski on a social enterprise providing an easily accessible in-person and online mindfulness-based diabetes management platform.

The project was a stepping stone in the development of the technical infrastructure and business processes that will allow The Centre to scale up its fee-based services, and equip it with a mindfulness-based diabetes program that it can extend to different marginalized groups through its Community Program.

After finalizing a business model in spring 2016, The Centre continued with Innoweave coaching to transition more of its services to an online format. This format includes mindfulness clinical programs for chronic health conditions and mood disorders (e.g. depression, anxiety, addictions). These programs are typically 2.5 hours weekly running over a period of 8 weeks. A majority of their customers are women with ages ranging from 20 – 65. Some of them are referred by their physicians but a growing majority are self-referring.

Implementing an online format was not without its challenges. The project entailed confirming software requirements, engaging with vendors, and accommodating the demands that implementation placed on staff.

The Centre also offers professional training and education on mindfulness interventions. These range from 1 to 2-day professional development courses as well as week-long intensive courses.

By offering online courses, The Centre is now “able to extend the reach of our services to areas beyond Toronto and increase access to mindfulness-based treatment services – not readily available outside of Toronto and in more scarcely populated areas”. The Centre currently offers two online therapeutic courses and three professional development training courses.

To date, The Centre has provided services to 8000 individuals through its social enterprise. Next steps include additional piloting of the online platform, automating additional functions, and training more staff.

Explore Social Enterprise for Your Organization

These are just some of the many examples of social enterprise work undertaken with Innoweave. More case studies can be found here.

Interested in launching a social enterprise to enhance your organization’s impact? Explore our module here, and stay tuned for information on the next round of Innoweave social enterprise webinars and workshops.