While you’re out shopping and socializing this holiday season, triple your gifting impact and purchase your holiday treats, decorations, gifts or meals in a way that has a positive social impact in your community.
Buying from a social enterprise lets you give a great gift to someone on your list, give to a social need in the community, and give to the local economy.
Social enterprises — a form of social innovation — differ from most traditional businesses in that profits are not just used to ensure financial viability, but are re-invested to achieve, sustain and further a social or environmental purpose.
Some examples of social enterprises in B.C. where your dollars have both a social impact and economic benefit include:
Mealshare: Victoria, Vancouver - Tired of shopping and in need of sustenance? If you live in the Victoria or Vancouver areas, consider dining at a Mealshare partner restaurant. This social enterprise partners with restaurants and local charities in order to provide meals to people in need. Choose a Mealshare item from a partner restaurant, and at no extra cost, one meal is provided to someone in need in that same community. Also operates in Calgary and Lethbridge.
Skeena Bakery: New Hazelton - If you live in the Hazeltons area and need a pick-me-up coffee or some treats for your holiday party, stop by this artisan bakery and coffee shop. Your purchase supports on-the-job training through a supported workplace model where local people with disabilities work alongside the skilled bakers, and help serve customers in the shop-front cafe. All the profits from the bakery go towards fostering further employment opportunities in the area for people with disabilities.
3H Craftworks Society: Vancouver - Looking for Christmas decorations or gift ideas? This society sells high-quality crafts through their online store, at conventions and at craft fairs. The products are created through a craft-therapy program for people working to overcome physical disabilities or mental illness, providing personal growth and creative skills, along with supplemental income.
Pet Treat Bakery: Courtenay - If you’re looking for special treats for Fido this holiday season, check your local pet store for Pet Treat Bakery items. This 2014 Social Enterprise Heroes winner not only bakes up wholesome pet treats sold at many pet stores on Vancouver Island, it also provides on-the-job training and employment for local people with developmental disabilities.
As an active member of the BC Partners for Social Impact, government works with leaders in the social innovation field to promote and support social innovation and enterprise throughout the province.
Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation Don McRae -
“Part of my job is to raise awareness about social innovation throughout the province, and over the last year, I’ve seen some great examples of social enterprise and the benefits they bring to communities in B.C. I hope people will consider the extra social benefit their holiday dollars can provide by purchasing products or services from a social enterprise.”
Buy Social Canada partner and B.C. Partners for Social Impact member, David LePage -
“When you buy your holiday gifts from a social enterprise, it’s actually a triple-giving gift — one to the person on your shopping list, another gift to the community by helping to meet social needs, and you’re giving to the local economy. So please join the ‘Buy It Forward’ campaign this holiday season and make a positive impact in your community.”
- Part of the mandate of the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation is to ensure government is providing the legislative and policy framework to better support social innovation and enterprise in B.C.
- For example, B.C. was the first jurisdiction in Canada to create the Community Contribution Company — a corporate entity recognized by people who want to use their purchasing dollars to support a positive social impact, and by investors who are interested in both a social and financial return. There are now 23 Community Contribution Companies.
- A social enterprise can be as simple as a charitable organization having a thrift store to support their social programs or the YMCA running fitness centres to generate revenue to shelter the homeless.
- New forms of social enterprise have begun to emerge where businesses that provide services or products to the public also have a social purpose such as providing on-the-job training and work experience to their employees, who may have disabilities or other barriers to employment.
- Based on a 2011 survey, B.C. social enterprises provided services to nearly 700,000 people and generated at least $60 million in revenues.
Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation: http://www.sdsi.gov.bc.ca/social-innovation/index.htm
For more information on the social enterprises referenced in this release, visit:
For other examples of social enterprises in B.C., visit: http://www.hubcapbc.ca/
Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation