By Michelle Stilwell
Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation
No single organization, government or business can solve society’s most difficult challenges on its own.
We must work together and embrace new ways of thinking, doing business and building partnerships to find solutions to complex issues like poverty or affordable housing.
Social enterprises embody this belief. These are businesses committed to making a difference in people’s lives and building healthy, secure and happy communities. They find innovative ways and new ideas to help solve social, cultural, economic and environmental challenges.
Social enterprises produce goods and services and use their revenue to achieve their social and environmental goals. They range from thrift stores and farmers’ markets to businesses that provide work experience, affordable housing and jobs for people with disabilities, or others who face barriers to employment.
Social enterprises throughout B.C. are making a difference in our communities and neighbourhoods each and every day.
That is why our government has proclaimed May 2015 as Social Enterprise Month. We want to celebrate B.C.’s growing social-enterprise sector and honour the contributions that these organizations make to improve our lives, communities and the economy.
Our government is committed to strengthening B.C.’s social-innovation sector and helping social enterprises thrive.
In 2011, government started a conversation about social innovation and enterprise with the creation of the BC Social Innovation Council. Since then, we have been working to ensure social enterprises have access to government’s small- and medium-sized business programs and created Canada’s first hybrid corporate structure - a Community Contribution Company, or C3 - to help socially driven businesses market themselves to both customers and investors.
Government is now a key collaborator and partner in helping social innovation and enterprise thrive in B.C. As a co-chair of the BC Partners for Social Impact, we work with 100-plus members from a variety of sectors to leverage government, business and community resources in support of social innovation.
Partner resources like Hubcapbc.ca provide resources and opportunities for social innovators, entrepreneurs, educators, funders, and public policy makers to connect with each other.
This month and beyond, I encourage you to support and visit your local social enterprises and also go to HubcapBC.ca to get involved, and learn more about social innovation and social enterprises in your community.
Let’s work together to support social enterprise and social innovation throughout our province to help create a better British Columbia for us all.