Social Enterprise: Will It Really Work For You?

November 5, 2013


In our upcoming December 4 Social Enterprise workshop, learn what adding a social enterprise to your organization can do for you.

Brenda Richardson knows what you know: That building a social enterprise is just like any business — except it’s harder. And that it may or may not be the right fit for your organization.

But where you might only have questions, Brenda and her team have concrete solutions. A 25-year veteran of entrepreneurship and business development, she has seen Executive Directors grapple with questions like, “Will this enterprise further our mission? Who will purchase our products and services, and at what price? Do we have the necessary business expertise on staff?”

And perhaps most important of all: “Can we achieve our financial goals?”

Through Innoweave, Brenda and her colleagues, Jonathan Wade (an expert on social finance, small business development and social entrepreneurship) and Linda Graupner (a consultant with expertise in non-profit business planning, sound governance and fiscal sustainability) will deliver a one-day workshop that will help leadership teams crystallize their social enterprise idea and test its feasibility.

The focus is on actionable results, so participants can expect a mix of:

  • Short presentations by the skilled team
  • Group exercises
  • Peer learning

“What I want participants to take from this workshop,” Brenda Richardson says, “is a better understanding of what social enterprise has to offer – and at the same time, appreciating the challenges that are inherent in trying to balance social goals with financial goals in a business operation.

“I want them to have the confidence to make an informed decision to either take the next step – or walk away, and wait for a more suitable opportunity. And to see themselves in little different light – as social entrepreneurs (using a business model to do social good) and having a new set of tools to do their work.”

The workshop was developed by David LePage at ENP and was delivered at three locations in October 2013 in both English and French. It builds on Innoweave’s Introduction to Social Enterprise webinar.


  • When: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 from 8:30am – 3:30pm
  • Where: Boys and Girls Club, 2825 Dumaurier Avenue, Ottawa, ON
  • Cost: $200 per team of 2-4
  • Deadline: Applications for this workshop are due November 8, 2013. Teams will be notified of the outcome by November 15, 2013.

To apply for this workshop:

  • Complete the Social Enterprise Self-Assessment; you will be asked to include your results code in your application.
  • Click here and follow the instructions to create an application. Prior to creating an application, you will need to create an account and log in. Once you are logged in, start a new submission under “Innoweave Applications” and choose the “Social Enterprise” workshop.
  • Complete the application in full and please remember to click “Submit Application” when you are done. Only one application per team is required.

Participants in the workshop will also be eligible to apply for a small Innoweave implementation grant. Grant applications are open at until January 6, 2013. If you have any questions, please contact or refer to our Grant FAQs.

Detailed Facilitator Bios:

Brenda Richardson has been involved in entrepreneurship and business development for over twenty five years. She has worked in the private and not-for-profit sectors on a broad range of themes including entrepreneurship, community economic development, micro-credit, grant-making, and business development. Working extensively in the area of social enterprise, Brenda has supported the development of a variety of social businesses as well as the infrastructure to strengthen the sector locally. A lifelong learner, Brenda has a MBA specializing in Community Economic Development and a graduate diploma in Social Innovation.

Jonathan Wade is a consultant in social finance, small business development and social entrepreneurship. Jonathan has worked for more than 20 years in the not-for-profit sector as a staff member, board member and volunteer in the fields of immigrant integration, international development, human rights, crisis intervention, and poverty alleviation. Before joining CISED, he was a social marketing and social finance consultant in his own firm, Social Delta, supporting a wide array of charitable, for profit, and cooperative clients addressing social causes.

Linda Graupner is an active community volunteer and part-time consultant dedicated to improving the effectiveness of the not-for-profit sector. She works with corporate, government and not-for-profit sector clients to build collective capacity for community development and social impact, with a particular focus on supporting smaller not-for-profit organizations build strategic planning capability, sound governance and financial sustainability. Linda currently serves of President of the Board of Big Brothers Big Sisters Ottawa, member of the United Way‘s Community Services Cabinet and advisor to the Community Forward Fund.