We often hear references to ‘Social Enterprise’, but what exactly is it?
A definition I like is;
“A social enterprise is a revenue-generating business with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to deliver profit to shareholders and owners.”
These are sustainable businesses whose mission is to help support a segment of the community.
Some examples of these enterprises on Vancouver Island are;
- Coco Café in Cedar District of Nanaimo – operated by the Cedar Opportunities Co-operative and provides meaningful employment and socialization to adult children with developmental disabilities.
- Tofino Ucluelet Culinary Guild (TUCG) – assists restaurants, residents, and grocery stores to access healthy and affordable food from the region’s independent producers.
- Skookum Café – operated by Pacific Centre Family Services Association and provides youth in the West Shore Communities opportunity to gain employment and life skills in a safe, supportive environment.
- Code Brew – Coffee Kiosk in Nanaimo Regional General Hospital and café in Millstone Medical Centre operated by Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation, which directs all profits towards medical equipment and healthcare services across Central Vancouver Island.
- 2nd Chance Thrift Store – Located in Parksville this gives retail employment opportunities and training to those who have challenges obtaining work due to disabilities. Operated by the Vancouver Island Workability Society, income gained from this supports their programs.
- The Pie Factory – Operated by the Vancouver Island Workability Society, this gives participants real world work experience in the food preparation, creation, and restaurant fields
Perhaps you have an interest in giving back to the community and have an entrepreneurial spirit. What can you start that would support youth, seniors, disabilities, or perhaps the environment?
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