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Looking Inward: Thrive reflects on its impact

In November 2015, Thrive hired an external consultant to assess its impact, as well as to capture important lessons and implications for Thrive as a social change initiative going forward. This brief shares an overview of the achievements, challenges and lessons that emerged between 2010 and 2015. In sharing highlights from the evaluation, we hope to advance our collective work to build a thriving local economy for all.

Sustainability for Breakfast: Cooperatives and Sustainability

Are you curious about cooperatives? More specifically, how do they grow from the grassroots, contribute to the well-being of their community and become financially viable? There’s more to it than you think!

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Join Thrive this Friday, June 24 for an in-depth look into cooperatives and learn how they embed sustainability into their business models. Four local leaders in the cooperative movement will join a panel discussion to look at sustainability using a broader lens, considering environmental, social, and economic sustainability.

The panel, moderated by Sarah Arthurs, founder of NewScoop, will include:

I spoke to Sarah Arthurs about the event and asked why she thinks cooperatives and sustainability are so closely linked.  “The fact they have a dual focus helps them be sustainable. They have a social focus, they came into existence from a social need. They’re not just beholden to a profit agenda,” she explained, “they’re not beholden to stakeholders and shareholders from somewhere else. Their vested interest is built into the community they exist in.”

If you’d like to learn more from Sarah Arthurs and the panel, access great resources, and meet others Calgarians interested in creating sustainable communities, join us on June 24th!

Sustainability for Breakfast is a monthly networking event hosted by REAP, aimed at connecting local change makers and fostering passion for sustainability in Calgary.

Directions and Information

June 24, 2016 from 7:30  – 8:00am

  • Networking and Breakfast 7:30 – 8:00am
  • Panel Discussion 8:00am – 9:00am

Momentum is located at 16, 2936 Radcliffe Drive SE (map).

  • By transit – Take the Blue Line to the Franklin LRT station. Momentum is located 2 blocks from the C-Train line.
  • By bike – Momentums is just off the Bow River Pathway. There are bike racks available in the front of the building.

 

Take Action

Get your tickets now! Entry is $10/person. Calgary Dollars are accepted.*

Check out other great REAP events and happenings

Learn more about cooperatives in Calgary and Alberta and find fantastic resources at the Alberta Community & Cooperative Association website.

*Limited number of spaces held for individuals paying by Calgary Dollars

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Bridgeland Riverside Farmers Market Kicks Off June 23rd

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With summer right around the corner, many seasonal Farmer’s Markets in Calgary are gearing up for a great year, and The Bridgeland Riverside Farmer’s Market (BRFM) is certainly no exception. Run by 10 resident volunteers, this local initiative will be making it’s 2016 debut on June 23rd at the Bridgeland-Riverside Hall (917 Centre Ave NE). This year BRFM has introduced extended hours – testament to the success of the 2015 season – and will now be running every Thursday from 3:30 – 7:30 until October 6th.

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The 2015 season was the first year the BRFM had dedicated special events. These included a Launch Market in June, a County Market in August, a Fall Harvest to wrap up their season and a Holiday Event in November that ran for two days. They saw unbelievable success with all these events, especially with the Holiday Market which sold out of vendor spots entirely. This success has allowed them to continue with these fantastic community events, with the Launch Market, Bridgeland Bike Fest, and Fall Harvest all slated for 2016.

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Being a community initiative, BRFM is dedicated to gathering feedback from clients in order to meet the needs of the community it serves and continually improve each year. Learning that the special events of 2015 were hugely popular and provided value to both vendors and market-goers, their plan is to not only continue them this season, but expand on them. One such improvement based on feedback is to have more free activities for children, after they were well received in 2015.  They also plan to build upon the inclusion of buskers and bands at every market, so local artists can share their music with the community.

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With an underlying commitment to supporting local farmers, producers, and artisans, last year BRFM decided to tackle potential financial barriers that some community members faced, especially  newer business and youths. To address the issue of accessibility, BRFM launched a unique program that was aimed at ensuring the Market is a true community space. The program gives participants access to a table and tent, waiving the fee that vendors would normally pay to have access to a space in the market. Aspiring entrepreneurs and/or youths with small businesses can apply to have one of the “community tables” for one week, giving them valuable exposure and an immediate economic benefit that can help them grow their business. This year the Aspiring Entrepreneur Community Table initiative is being sponsored by Luke’s Drug Mart, Bridgeland Market, and has a partnership with Momentum.

With this continuous dedication to improvement, community-building, and growth, the summer of 2016 is sure to be a fantastic year for The Bridgeland Riverside Farmer’s Market. Join them any Thursday between June 23rd and October 6th from 3:30 – 7:30 for your fill of fresh produce, local music & art, and community connection in our beautiful city.

 


Take Action

– Mark your calendars for the June 23rd Launch Market (and for the Bridgeland Bike Fest August 11 & Fall Harvest on October 6th!)

– Have a small business? Sign up to be a vendor! Love making music? Sign up to be a busker!

– Check out BRFM on Facebook and learn about all the fantastic vendors lined up for the 2016 season.

– Follow BRFM on Twitter and Instagram for delicious updates.

 

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Alberta Community Energy Workshop

On February 16, 2016, over 80 community stakeholders came together in Calgary to discuss community-owned renewable energy (RE) at the Alberta Community Energy Workshop. Hosted by the Pembina InstituteCalgary Economic DevelopmentTREC, and People Power Planet, the aim of the workshop was to build excitement around community renewable energy, to foster connections between those in attendance, and to begin a letter campaign encouraging change at the policy level. Those attending the workshop showed the broad interest that Albertans have in Community RE – participants included academics from universities, individuals from non-profits, energy retailers, First Nations representatives, plus many politicians and civil servants from the provincial government.

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The workshop identified three major barriers to community-owed RE development in Alberta: price stability, financing, and local capacity. Despite these barriers, renewable energy being driven and created by the community isn’t just a theory, it’s a practice with viable examples throughout our province. The town of Devon has taken a leadership role in its own energy production to combat the unstable costs of natural gas. By joining the forces of citizens, civil servants, and the provincial government, the town has undertaken a project that will see the installation of 48,000 solar panels. Through this renewable energy program, Devon has negotiated stable electricity prices for the next 30 years, with the added benefit of leaving a significantly smaller carbon footprint compared to their current natural gas and coal-based systems.

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Vulcan is also leading the way by developing the Vulcan Solar Park, the first project of its kind in Canada. Situated on privately owned land, this project will have an enormous impact on energy in Alberta, with the ability to power over 8500 Alberta homes using clean energy. The benefits for Vulcan don’t stop with a lower carbon footprint or lower energy prices; there is also a focus on community-building and education. With a focus on keeping the The Solar Park aesthetically pleasing, it’s being developed into a functional park, with the solar modules including information about solar energy to help educate visitors. By combining the solar farm with a new community green space, those living in Vulcan will also benefit from increased capacity for tourism and community-building.

A group of Calgarians have launched the Alberta Solar Co-op, which aims to take on the rising demand for renewable and community-driven energy options. Their intention is to a solar farmed owned solely by Albertans. This will be a significant step towards making Alberta’s energy greener by putting enough energy to power 400 homes onto the grid. The aim is to give individuals the opportunity to invest in and have ownership of renewable energy – to encourage renewable energy development in Alberta but also share in revenue created by the project.

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Community-owned RE has benefits beyond decreasing carbon footprints and making power more affordable. Citizens have the ability to be directly involved in the energy systems their cities and provinces are developing. Local energy projects also provide ongoing job opportunities through the creation, development, installation, and maintenance of the modules and structures. If you want to learn more or build on the excitement from the February meeting, see below for ways to get involved!


More Information on Community Owned Renewable Energy

Pembina’s Community Owned Renewable Energy Factsheet

Devon Dispatch Article on Solar Power

Prairie Post Article on the Solar Park Development

A brief history of Albert’as Solar Industry from the National Observer

You can check out all the presentations from The Alberta Community Energy Workshop


Take Action

Write a letter to your MLA (a form letter is available to download)

Become a Member of SPARK – The Alberta Renewable Energy Cooperative

Follow Pembina on Twitter and Facebook

Follow the Alberta Solar Coop on Twitter and Facebook

 

Written by Chelsea Detheridge, with support and resources from Barend Dronkers of the Pembina Institute.

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Awaken Your Company With Help From Catherine Bell

Author Catherine Bell hosts an inspiring evening during REAP’s Down to Earth Week

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Catherine Bell is the co-founder of BluEra – a business consultancy and one of Calgary’s fastest-growing companies in 2015 – and the bestselling author of The Awakened Company. For Down to Earth Week, Catherine will be presenting what this movement means.

An “awakened company” is one that challenges the status quo, that seeks to benefit its employees, community, and the planet – not just see them as resources.

“It’s not okay that a majority of people at work are disengaged, or that most people would rate doing chores above spending time with their bosses,” Catherine says.

In her book, Catherine and her co-authors Russ Hudson and Christopher Papadopoulos use real-life examples of awakened companies around the world to provide solutions to companies that want to reinvent themselves as such. The solutions are based on three pillars of thought: business research, wisdom traditions, and practical knowledge.

With the shifting political climate in Alberta, Catherine wants to provide a way of being that will “activate individual relationships and companies in a new way, and help them to sustain times like this.”

“It is going to take a community rising, and uplifting everyone to arrive at a new way of working together,” says Catherine. “I truly believe that the world’s greatest challenges will be solved by people working better together.”

Catherine promises a fun and inspirational evening. She will share her philosophy and the lessons she learned from writing the book and starting her own company from her own pocket, such as the importance of vulnerability and failure.

“I have failed, failed again, and failed better”, she says. “But is it necessarily failure if we learn something significant?”

The event will also incorporate Alberta BoostR Stage pitches – ATB Financial’s crowdfunding platform, which is like Kickstarter for social business. Five local social entrepreneurs will be pitching their business plans to the audience and a panel of judges (of which Catherine Bell is one) for a chance to receive a $1,000 boost from ATB Financial.

“Now is the opportunity for us in Alberta to build something new, and we can do it together.”

TAKE ACTION:

  1. Register now for the Awakened Company event on April 15, 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Civic on Third. You’ll get a copy of Catherine’s book as well as dinner, networking, and all the inspiration you can handle with your ticket.
  2. Unable to make it to the event? Purchase The Awakened Company from any of these retailers.
  3. Check out Catherine’s blogs on Awakened Company and BluEra.
  4. Follow Catherine and The Awakened Company on social media: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
  5. Win two tickets to an intimate evening with singer Sarah McLachlan for Project Warmth, courtesy of Awakened Company. Post to Awakened Company’s Twitter or Facebook pages and tag someone from your workplace who brings joy to your day to be entered to win!
  6. Curious about the other events we’re hosting during Down to Earth Week 2016? Click here for details of our local fashion and impact investing events on April 12 & 13.

(Cross-posted from http://www.belocal.org/living-locally/awaken-your-company-with-help-from-catherine-bell/)

 

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Agents of Change – Move Forward. Give Back.

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Real estate referrals between brokers and agents happen every day. With 20%-37.5% of the real estates agents commission typically going towards a referral service, Tracey Wood saw an opportunity to start a unique social enterprise. She and her husband Duane started Agents of Change – a referral service that uses a unique fundraising model to impact the community. Simply put, Agents of Change lets their clients move forward, but also give back.

Instead of keeping the entire referral fee they receive, Agents of Change designates 20% to the charity or non-profit of the client’s choice – with no cost to the buyer. With an average donation of $2000 per referral, Agents of Change is impacting local, national, and international non-profits without creating any additional work. “It’s a new revenue stream without ‘the ask'” says Wood, “that is extracting value from something happening every day in Calgary.” The client simply indicates which non-profit organization they would like to support during the referral process, and the organization receives the funds. This is so integral to the Agents of Change process, that it’s the very first question they ask when you begin your real estate journey.

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There are almost 50 charities already listed on their website, and clients are able to choose any non-profit they wish to support. Despite this ability to choose from almost any non-profit, the large majority of referral donations are kept within the community, or at least within the city where the client is purchasing their home. Clients have given their donation to their community schools, to charities that have assisted family members, or to non-profits that they work or volunteer for. You can read success stories on the website and see the wide range of non-profits that Agents of Change clients have supported.

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Agents of Change isn’t attracting clients just through their social enterprise model of real estate. They are also providing value to those looking to buy new homes by going above and beyond the standard referral model. Wood explains there is an art and a science to matching clients with real estate agents and that they want to create the perfect match. So far they have had 100% customer satisfaction. “It is the best way to find an agent” says Wood, adding that clients have a better experience from start to finish.

In 2016, Agents of Change will continue building capacity and creating lasting connections between clients and charitable organizations. They intend to amplify their impact in a variety of ways, including corporate partnerships and gift matching. As with many social enterprises, the question is about taking it to scale and expanding into new markets. “While there is no pressure to grow” says Wood, “there’s an opportunity.”


Take Action

Learn more about how Agents of Change works by visiting their website

Start a real estate journey with Agents of Change and support your favourite non-profit

Follow them on Facebook and on Twitter

Agents of Change is also a proud member of REAP! http://www.belocal.org/business/agents-of-change/

Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association

The Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association (HSCA) continues to grow community economic development through engagement in their community. Quentin Sinclair, Executive Director of the Association, says that “historically, the culture of this community has been one of activism.” A quick look at their website shows just how focused the HSCA is on creating a sustainable and vibrant community and local economy. Truly a Community Economic Development superstar in Calgary, the HSCA has had a busy few years: they’ve started a Winter Farmers’ Market, piloted a second summer market, created community gardens, and expanded into new businesses.

By far the biggest project of 2015 was a new social venture. HSCA acquired the tenant-run day care that had been in the building for decades. They were able to come to an agreement with the existing business and began implementing the plan over the second half of the year. With the acquisition, HSCA has doubled the child care staff and increased their engagement with neighbourhood families. Sinclair pointed out that the service was already there, but HSCA was able to grow it in size – and ensure that residents would be placed at the top of the waiting list. “We were also able to align our programs, interests, and business model” through the acquisition, added Sinclair, while also providing value to the community.

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HSCA also piloted a Saturday Farmers’ Market in 2015 for eight weeks during the summer months. As a result, there were two outdoor markets at HSCA per week for a short duration. “It brought out more residents,” said Sinclair, “the community came out to support it.” The fantastic success of this eight week trial has lead to HSCA adding the Saturday Farmers’ Market as a staple in 2016, with a full 20 weeks scheduled this summer. With this economic endeavor, they’ve been able to expand their customer base and support more local vendors, while at the same time engaging the community and city.

As for what else 2016 has in store, Sinclair says that HSCA is taking steps to become more sustainable, looking at a triple bottom line approach and new methods for waste management. They plan to hold focus groups with residents before moving forward, as they want to ensure they have the support of the neighbourhood before making any decisions. There is also the ongoing Flea Market, Farmers’ Market, and of course the continuing merger of the day care program. It may seem like a lot to have going on in one neighbourhood, but Sinclair pointed out that “ambition exists within the community and the staff have fed off of that.” When it comes to the community and programming within it – “when they see something that’s important, they make it happen.”

Image from makecalgary.com

Image credit to makecalgary.com

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Social Innovation with Mountain Munchkin Daycare

**This is a special blog post as part of a series highlighting social entrepreneurship in southern Alberta as part of Simon Fraser University’s CED Certificate program.


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Social Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Enterprise

Case Study: Mountain Munchkin Daycare

Prepared by Anita Hofer / Prepared for Brian Martin

Introduction to Mountain Munchkin Daycare

Peter Rawluk is the co-owner of Mountain Munchkin Daycare in Canmore, Alberta. Mountain Munchkin Daycare provides childcare for the children aged 12 months to six years. The philosophy of the day care is that the child is first and foremost! The organization believes that quality child care facilitates the healthy growth and development of the ‘whole’ child. Mountain Munchkin believes that for the child to feel accepted and loved that their program must blend and enhance that child’s family experiences with their experience in the centre, thus family participation is encouraged to enhance the quality of the experience for the child. Therefore they embrace multiculturalism and encourage acceptance that people are all different but the same. Programming includes music sessions, mathematics, Whole Child, Nature/GEO Awareness, reading and community/global consciousness.

As a Doctor of Medicine, Peter has always been interested in health, but this venture is of special interest to him. The first two thousand days of life (roughly the time between birth and kindergarten) are critical to brain development. Young children will develop a broader sense of compassion for those beyond their immediate group if they are involved with meaningful activities and experiences early and often.

The Mountain Munchkins team has made considerable efforts to create these empathy-building and multicultural experiences and activities. Their objective is to impact children so that they will become adults who don’t just “care about others” but “care FOR others” as Peter often says. The team’s efforts could be captured, codified and shared with other early childcare educators for a profit. The team is understandably focused on day-to-day operations and there currently is not a significant investment of time or funding to help them understand how to structure this potential initiative.

Peter is very collaborative, open to learning, and willing to be influenced. He has built strong relationships and Mountain Munchkin has even connected with local organizations but also other daycare providers internationally. Peter has a deep sense of social responsibility and a focused curiosity about the ways children can learn to be better stewards of the earth and each other.

Mountain Munchkin’s Social Enterprise Vehicle

Mountain Munchkin is a private, for-profit venture. Return-on-investment for the co-owners is consistent and predictable. Peter in particular has a focus on “non-financial currency”. The daycare provides a much-need service in Canmore but also influences community through projects that create social good, ignites momentum in the town and builds, explores and tests meaningful empathy-building programming.

Profits are re-invested into mini projects or invested into larger initiatives like the creation of new children’s garden. Many other new projects are funded privately by Peter. Peter was originally the sole owner, but after observing the amount of time and talent shared by the daycare’s director, he gave her a 35% share of the business. Peter does not draw a dividend or salary. Mountain Munchkin has also invested heavily in the personal development of the staff, paying for their academic enrichment by paying tuition fees for addition education as needed.

A dedicated staff person in the organization tracks all things financial. Because Mountain Munchkin Daycare is privately owned and operated, they are not required to produce public reports to the community. Mountain Munchkin embraces the culture of a for-profit venture with a philanthropic spirit and strives to become more self-sustaining.

Analysis of the Social Entrepreneur Ecosystem

A financial resource that was required by Mountain Munchkin to launch was funding from the owner. Because of a unique and emergent situation faced by the previous owner, the daycare was purchased at an opportune time by Peter and his business partner.

Creating or tapping into new revenue streams are an external element that could help Mountain Munchkin Daycare. (See the attached Business Model Canvas for streams already identified.) The dollars from these new revenue streams would help them fund the costly and resource-heavy development of their alternative early childhood education empathy programming that would be codified, packaged, marketed and sold. As well as identifying these new revenue streams, a market of individuals, groups and organizations will need to be found or cultivated to purchase the goods and/or services. Potential ideas for new revenue streams include renting the daycare space when it is empty or offering workshops for parents/caregivers or other childcare providers.

Recommendations for the Organization

The ecosystem in which Mountain Munchkin is embedded is rich in human capital. The organization has thrived in these due to a nurturing culture both in Canmore and within the team. Their ecosystem has meaningful engagement from the staff team, customers (parents), partner organizations that range from local to international, and also greater-Canmore residents. They have consistent, predictable revenues, reliable infrastructure, and policy frameworks that are not overly restraining.

What will be required for their venture to grow financially, and increase in impact is for their empathy programming to be codified, financed and marketed. For this to occur, it is recommended that Mountain Munchkin consider:

  • increasing their own internal capacity in program design or bring in a consultant to help them codify their empathy-building programming
  • investing in consulting expertise from a “serial entrepreneur” to assist with project planning and encouraging testing-and-redevelopment – since their leadership team has limited entrepreneurial experience
  • examine their network for potential partners that can help them extend their marketing and promotion when they are ready to launch. Some partners in community may have reasons to assist them, but these organizations are considerably larger and more bureaucratic so beginning this process early would be wise.

Outside of Mountain Munchkin’s influence are social assumptions that child care organizations should commit to the status quo and should not be innovative, particularly that they shouldn’t be testing child care programming unless in an academic setting, and that they should not make more than a modest profit. To help them overcome these external barriers, it is recommended they search for another entrepreneurial childcare organization that is further along the entrepreneurial path (understanding these organizations could be a challenge to source) and make personal connections for the purposes of sharing experiences and particularly to understand approaches to working through the cultural resistance that they could encounter in their ecosystem.

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Evergreen Theatre – A Unique Community Space

When faced with the termination of their lease, Evergreen Theatre wanted to do more than just move. They decided “it was time to take a big risk” and purchase a building that could be remodeled into viable and vibrant community space – a decision that lead to the creation of Evergreen Community Spaces. I had the opportunity to speak with Artistic Producer Valmai Goggin their move, their funding, and their integration into Mayland Heights. In terms of choosing a location, they wanted something central and accessible. The north-east, said Goggin, is an under-serviced area, with little access resources, and would benefit from the addition of a sustainable, collaborative, and socially responsible space.Studio Signs

Evergreen Theatre knew they would not be able to qualify for a traditional loan. After searching for non-traditional funding models and secured funding with the Social Enterprise Fund in Edmonton. After applying and securing a mortgage through the fund, the company was able to purchase their new home and begin revamping the space. Goggin and her team could not be happier with the results, saying “we have partners that are invested more than just financially. They want the entire project to succeed.” The funding through the Social Enterprise Fund also allows Evergreen Theatre to give back to the community in a unique way, with the interest they pay on the mortgage going back in to the endowment fund. “We’re supporting other projects in the community,” Goggin stated, “simply by making mortgage payments.”

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When asked about the impact that the new space has had on the community, Goggin was quick to point out that they are the new neighbour in the area and that they want to be respectful of the work already being done to revitalize the area. The introduction of Evergreen Community Spaces to Mayland Heights is just “part of the ongoing resurgence of the north-east”  she said. They’ve begun facilitating access to programming in the community, providing a dozen different programming streams. They’ve also started renting office spaces in the building to create a diverse internal community and to get more people coming through the building. “We want to be known in the community, to have good neighbour connections. True community building is the best form of integration,” said Goggin, excited for the work to be continued in 2016.

The new space is simply beautiful, featuring a brand new cafe, modern rooms for meetings and dance classes, and plenty of local art. Best of all, it’s completely open to the public. Encouraging all Calgarians to come experience Evergreen Theatre’s new home, Goggin said “we have an open door policy. We want people to wander in and poke around.”

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If you had time to think, what would you think about?

Written by Erin Melnychuk, Business Development Manager at Momentum

Everyone has one; an idea that percolates on the back of your mind, that you can never quite get to. I’ve had a few, but there’s one that I haven’t been able to shake. As a Community Economic Development organization, Momentum is often referred to as a social enterprise. In fact, we have a long history of earning our own revenue. However, the knowledge of how to enterprise resides with only a handful of staff. If Momentum really is an enterprising organization, then how can we ensure this part of our identity is embedded in our DNA and expressed through all of our staff? This is the idea that lives on the back burner of my mind that I’ve decided to stop thinking about and begin to do something about.

So how do you actually go about developing an enterprising culture exactly? The answer is, I’m not entirely sure. The Social Entrepreneur’s Playbook doesn’t have a chapter on this! The process we’re using consists of 3 functional elements; a staff committee to develop and oversee a work plan, formal learning events, and monthly design labs. The design labs are the secret sauce in this process.

The monthly design labs are a fun and innovative space. Its a few hours every month when staff have permission to drop what they are doing to come and create. It’s a safe space to bring ideas and to receive support from your peers in working up the ideas. There are more bad ideas than good ones and that’s the point.

We’re only a few months in and have learned a few things already. The first: We need to develop a compelling reason why we are pursuing this. We co-created our ‘why’ with staff and have decided that we would like to learn to see opportunities differently through an enterprising lens, build important skills that every staff person can use in their career, and earn a bit of money which will allow us to pursue more new & innovative activity. The second thing we learned is that our staff are really busy and favor the approach of maximizing existing assets by bringing those resources to new markets, rather than developing something from scratch.

Our design labs have already surfaced 7 ideas with potential that are in various stages of development. Four are currently being taken through feasibility testing. Our Big Hairy Audacious Goal is to launch something by spring!

The reason we all have these ideas that don’t get acted upon is because we generally don’t do work we don’t get paid for (which actually underscores the need for what I’m trying to pursue, but I digress!). Luckily, there’s support out there for groups to get paid to THINK! The opportunity I took advantage of was made possible through ATB’s Time to Think Grant. In my work I rarely have the luxury of ‘time to think’. Heck yeah, I’m applying for that grant! ATB makes this fabulous grant available to organizations, charities, social enterprises, and collectives to be strategic, innovative, and to strengthen their impact in Albertan communities.

Take Action:
• Check out ATB’s Time to Think grant to see if it’s a fit for your initiative
• Learn more about Momentum here
• Has your organization been through a similar process? Tell us about it! We’d love to learn what’s worked well and what’s been challenging. You can email me your story at erinm@momentum.org