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Provoking Innovation and Building Capacity in Social Entrepreneurship

FAQ: What’s the Definition of Social Entrepreneurship?

This is a blog series dedicated to the frequently asked questions we get during the Ask Me Anything About Social Enterprise (AMAASE) sessions. One frequently asked question we get asked is “what is the definition of social enterprise?”

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Prizes of $270,000 celebrate all stages of social enterprises across Canada

At its core, social entrepreneurship uses business models/ markets to solve social problems. Regardless of whether it’s an individual or an organization, regardless of their choice of incorporation- non-profit or for-profit, these elements are the driving and amplifying force.

We support social entrepreneurship.

We are a private foundation that believes in supporting social entrepreneurship through programmatic, grant making, and partnership approaches. We take a systems view to every decision we make and foster social entrepreneurship by supporting the ecosystem and providing social entrepreneurs with capacity building resources.

We are entrepreneurial.

We believe in making social entrepreneurship mainstream. We know we can’t do it alone. Which is why we don’t just fund organizations; we work with them and learn with them to move the sector forward, taking risks along the way.

Two common refrains – hoping for the day when every business is a social enterprise, and claiming that social entrepreneurship “is a verb, not a noun” – sound positive. In fact, they're holding us back from performing among the virtuosos of the world.

The funding ACWB received from IRP was used for a Feasibility Study to determine if a property in the downtown core of Fort McMurray could be purchased, turned into an arts incubator, and run as a social enterprise, providing sustainability for the incubator and for Arts Council.

Executive Director Sean Campbell of Union-Cooperative talks about their biggest learnings, partnerships, and next steps.

Funded by the Government of Canada, the Investment Readiness Program (IRP) supports social purpose organizations as they contribute to solving pressing social, cultural and environmental challenges across Canada. Its goal is to help social purpose organizations prepare them to be ready for investments and participate in Canada’s growing social finance market. The latest IRP round was overseen in Alberta by the Banff Canmore Community Foundation (BCCF) in partnership with Red Deer Community Foundation (RDCF). BCCF and RDCF utilized a jury of 14 community members to deliberate on the applications and Dan Overall, Executive Director of the Trico Foundation, was honoured to be part of that jury. Recently, BCCF sent Dan five questions about IRP. Some of his answers formed the basis of a BCCF blog that is available here. You can see the entirety of the questions and answers below.

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