VICTORIA - Social Enterprises are a relatively new business model, but they are quickly expanding throughout B.C. and around the world. These are organizations committed to a social mission that direct their revenue to drive social change.
To help raise awareness of the work social entrepreneurs are doing in B.C. and the contributions these businesses make to our communities and our economy, the Province has proclaimed May 2015 as Social Enterprise Month.
A Social Enterprise operates like a business, producing goods and services for sale and earning revenue. They range from thrift stores to businesses that provide skills training, affordable housing and jobs for people with disabilities. They can also be a for-profit business that is focused entirely on social objectives. What connects them all is that their primary purpose is a social one. They direct their revenues toward social and environmental goals.
In 2011, the B.C. government set out to promote Social Innovation in the province. Since then, the province has worked closely with the sector to help establish a framework to support innovation and growth.
The BC Partners for Social Impact (BCPSI) was established in 2012, a group that includes more than 100 partners from government, business, non-profit organizations, and academic and financial institutions. And in July 2013, B.C. created Canada’s first hybrid corporate model - the Community Contribution Company - to help social purpose businesses market themselves to both customers and investors. To date, 26 organizations have registered as “C3”s.
In 2014, BCPSI launched HubcapBC.ca, B.C.’s online social innovation hub.
This is the second Social Enterprise Month in British Columbia. There will be a number of events throughout May to increase awareness and recognize Social Enterprises in British Columbia and the hashtag #Impact4BC will connect people in a conversation about Social Enterprise and Social Innovation in the province.
Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation Michelle Stilwell -
“No single organization can solve society’s most difficult challenges on its own. With our partners, we are finding new ways to address social challenges and supporting innovators across the province to do the same. Social Enterprise Month is a chance to profile B.C.’s social innovators, the people and organizations that are creating meaningful, sustainable change in our communities.”
David LePage, principle, Accelerating Social Impact CCC -
“Social Enterprises are now common place and over the last few years in particular, we have seen the conversation change. When I’m talking with organizations and entrepreneurs, the discussion is no longer about the structure or the business model, now we talk about how this business model is effecting change in our communities.”
Tamara Vrooman, CEO, Vancity -
“There is a growing awareness of the impact business has on society and our communities. All businesses can learn from Social Enterprises because doing good for the community is also good for business.”
Colin Stansfield, executive director, Potluck Café Society -
"Potluck Cafe Society has two goals: to increase food security and to support inclusive hiring practices. At the core of our organization is Potluck Cafe & Catering, a social enterprise that embodies those goals, creates jobs for people with barriers to traditional employment, and provides revenues that we channel into our community programs. This is grassroots community economic development that is improving the quality of life for individuals in the Downtown Eastside."
- In 2011, government created the BC Social Innovation Council which produced the Action Plan Recommendations to Maximize Social Innovation in British Columbia released in 2012.
- The B.C. government co-chairs the BC Partners for Social Impact, created in 2012 to implement the Council’s recommendations and support social innovation in B.C. The Partners for Social Impact now includes more than 100 multi-sector partners such as Vancity, Simon Fraser University, Telus and the Business Development Bank of Canada.
- Partner resources like Hubcapbc.ca provide resources and opportunities for social innovators, entrepreneurs, educators, funders, and public policy makers to connect with each other.
- According to a 2012 Survey from the Canadian Social Enterprise Sector Survey Project, B.C. Social Enterprises provided services to nearly 700,000 people, generated at least $60 million in revenues and paid $37 million in wages to at least 2,400 people. The survey only covered a portion of the sector; out of 358 Social Enterprises in the province, 104 organizations responded, which means the sectors economic impact is actually larger. http://www.sess.ca/english/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/BC-Report-April-17-rev.pdf
To learn more about B.C.’s Social Innovation and Social Enterprise sector or find events and activities around B.C., visit: www.hubcapbc.ca/
Get information on the BC Partners for Social Impact and the Action Plan to Maximize Social Innovation in B.C.: www.sdsi.gov.bc.ca/social-innovation/index.htm
Find out how to start a social enterprise: www.socialenterprisecanada.ca
Join the conversation by following @HubcapBC on twitter and use #Impact4BC.
Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation
Phone: 250 387-6490