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Calling Canada’s Social Entrepreneurs: Win $100,000 and Help Build a Movement

[box] Created by the Trico Charitable Foundation in 2011, the biennial Social EnterPrize celebrates and advances leadership and excellence in social entrepreneurship in Canada. Since 2019, Trico has collaborated with the Haskayne School of Business to present the award.

Social enterprises are organizations – for-profit, not-for-profit or Charitable – that use business models to solve social problems. The social enterprises the Social EnterPrize celebrates are truly special. They are innovative and ingenious blends of the social and the entrepreneurial that fully harness the power of business models to address a gap in society (i.e. an imbalance of power consistently marginalizing one group or individual so as to cause exclusion, suffering, or dehumanization. For example, economic exclusion/poverty, social exclusion, gender inequality, challenges to good health or well-being, children and/or youth at risk, or the aged/seniors at risk.) See examples of these types of Canadian social enterprises below. [/box]


For the 2021 edition of the Social EnterPrize, one recipient will:

  • Receive $100,000 prize money;
  • Be featured in a video profile;
  • Be featured at an award ceremony scheduled for the evening of November 18, 2021 (if the ceremony is in-person travel & accommodation will be provided);
  • Be featured in an in-depth profile in a case-study undertaken by a Canadian post-secondary institution; and
  • Help advance Canada’s social entrepreneurship movement.

Dan Overall, Executive Director of the Trico Charitable Foundation explains that last bullet:

“In our decade-long study of social entrepreneurship we have learned that there are really many conversations within this space: ‘How do we generate revenues to serve a social purpose? How do we spend profits to serve a social purpose?’ ‘How do we hire and conduct other business operations that serve a social purpose?’ And many more. We have noticed a question that is often neglected but has incredible potential is ‘How can we fully harness the power of business models to address the power dynamics that hold social problems in place?’ It’s a conversation that needs to happen, one where Canada can be a leader, and it’s what the Social EnterPrize is all about.”

Key application information:

To begin the application process, please complete and submit the idea submission form by March 25th, 2021. You can access the idea submission here*** (APPLICATION NOW CLOSED) Submissions that are selected to move forward in the awards process will be contacted on April 12th, 2021 and given access to the full application to be completed by May 10th, 2021.


The 2021 recipient will join a ‘who’s who’ of amazing Canadian social enterprise leaders.


Accolades: Fogo Island Inn has since gone on to be profiled in a Harvard Business Review case study (You will have to pay to have access to the case study).

Power imbalance addressed:  Fogo Island was in jeopardy when its key economic driver, cod, was fished to near extinction. Rather than be trapped in a slow decline, Fogo Island Inn tapped into the community’s strengths and unique assets to build both cultural and economic resilience. It is now looking at helping other communities do the same thing.

Accolades: Recipient of the 2020 Governor General’s Innovation Award.

Power imbalance addressed: Many day labourers in East Vancouver were trapped in poverty, watching their very low wages shrink even further when they paid fees for their day labour equipment. ESS created a day labour service that pays higher wages and now offers extended medical and dental benefits and a van shuttle, all while hitting revenues of over $10 million.

Accolades:  The only Canadian entry in Time Magazine’s 2018 list of the World’s Greatest Places.

Power imbalance addressed: In addition to introducing hotel guests to the culture of First Nations, Skwachàys Lodge has an Artist in Residence program providing live/work studios, personal and professional development, support, services and peer mentoring for 24 Indigenous artists on three-year tenancies. The Lodge also features a Fair Trade gallery showcasing Indigenous artistic and cultural work.

In the words of Skwachàys Lodge CEO, David Eddy:

“When I heard of the Trico Foundation and the work they were doing to support the practice of Social Enterprise it was like someone had shone a spotlight on an area too long kept in the dark.”

Canada’s Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy Co-Creation Steering Group seems to agree, noting that a lack of awareness was holding back social enterprise in Canada and specifically citing the Social EnterPrize for its awareness-building efforts.

View Videos & Case Studies of previous Social EnterPrize recipients.


[box] The Haskayne School of Business and the Trico Charitable Foundation believe Calgary can be a global hub for social entrepreneurship and leaders in the evolution of capitalism. The Trico Foundation Social Entrepreneurship Centre was established at Haskayne in 2019 thanks to a $5-million gift from the Trico Foundation to support student experiences inside and outside the classroom including community-based learning, internships, curriculum development and research. To build on this momentum, both organizations are collaborating on the Social EnterPrize award for outstanding Canadian social enterprises and What’s Next YYC, which awards prize money to Calgary & area based social enterprises. Learn more. [/box]

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