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Giving Alberta’s Social Entrepreneurs Some TLC

Trico Charitable Foundation was extremely pleased to continue our social entrepreneurship ecosystem-building work with the inaugural SVI Alberta event on October 15-16th, 2018. (Read more about the partnership and Trico Charitable Foundation’s social enterprise work here.)

We at the Trico Charitable Foundation define social entrepreneurship as follows:

“Social Entrepreneurship: Using business models/markets-selling products or services-to solve social problems.”

With our definition of social entrepreneurship at the forefront, Trico Charitable Foundation is committed to the development of the social entrepreneurship ecosystem by helping social enterprises figure out their key issues. Through our work with a number of groups in this space we noticed that there are number of ways in which organizations blend the social and entrepreneurial aspects within their models. We found that social entrepreneurs most effectively tap into the pull of markets when their social model solves a customer need and that social model enables them to cover their costs or make surplus revenue while solving that need. While blending a social mission with an entrepreneurial model in this way can be powerful, it can be surprisingly tricky. We created The Blender to help social enterprise’s map how these aspects interact, identifying pressure points to keep an eye on as they move forward.

To pair or more appropriately “blend” with our research, we decided that social entrepreneurs needed some more ‘TLC’ and created the Alberta Social Entrepreneurship Support System: Tools, Links & Coaching (A.S.E.S.S. TLC) based around the 9 key issues social entrepreneurs face.

The A.S.E.S.S. worksheets condense the best expertise we could find to help you embrace the discipline of learning as quickly, cheaply and effectively as possible and navigating, in a step-by-step process, the key issues facing social entrepreneurs. This process is meant for organizations that have settled on a social enterprise idea that they wish to explore further (i.e. it’s post-ideation). If you have a specific social idea these tools should be able to help you, whether you are at the early idea/concept stage, ready to launch, looking to grow or looking to scale (and everything in-between).

SVI Alberta 2018

If an organization feels they have things figured out and need funding to help them get to the next level of their venture, we also offer A.S.E.S.S. Funding . The Trico Charitable Foundation believes that to truly serve social enterprises we need funding that transcends ‘business as usual’. In order to do this, we embrace the principle of flexible funding, we work to create a new type of funding relationship, and want to avoid funder-fundee power dynamics. If you are interested in A.S.E.S.S. Funding check out the above link to learn about our eligibility requirements and the steps in the process.

We always tell organizations and social entrepreneurs to start with their “why”. Your “why” drives you, it’s the core reason you are undertaking your journey. You have to be sure about your “why” and have a passion for it. Our “why” is our constant commitment to helping social entrepreneurs. SVI Alberta, which united 48 community leaders and social entrepreneurs to explore challenges and commonalities in their own social enterprises, is yet another amazing partnership opportunity to help Trico Foundation serve its “why”. Thrive’s survey results from the event showed that most attendees would like attend SVI Alberta again and would like to see the event be longer than a day.

Trico Charitable Foundation is looking forward continuing our work in the social entrepreneurship ecosystem in 2019 through a number of exciting and new opportunities that will be announced in the New Year.

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