This fall, Mount Royal University will host Economic Reconciliation & Social Enterprise: A Workshop for Changemakers & Problem Solvers – a two-day workshop that hopes to shift the paradigm between non-profits and government agencies that are working to change social issues in Calgary.
Manitoba-based social entrepreneur, Shaun Loney, will be hosting the workshops, bringing to the table decades of experience in government and social enterprise development – having been the Director of Energy Policy for the Government of Manitoba and a political advisor before co-founding and mentoring 11 social enterprises. Loney is also an author of two books: Build Prosperity, and An Army of Problem-Solvers.
“The purpose of the workshop is to help non-profits become more entrepreneurial and be able to sell their outcomes – rather than giving them away,” he explains. “And to work with people from government to help them with their priciest problems by bringing them together with problem-solvers like non-profits.”
Loney uses incarceration as an example of a “pricey problem,” stating that it costs approximately $80,000/year for each new inmate, and $220,000 for each new jail cell. The cost of homelessness is $50,000/year.
“As non-profits, we know we can change the trajectories of these problems, but we need resources. That’s where Economic Reconciliation & Social Enterprise comes in.”
The workshop will cover practical advice and real-world examples of these efforts from around the world – Scotland, for example, has 5,600 social enterprises – and will also examine how we can strengthen the local economy to be more inclusive for all.
“I want to get people excited about the fact that it’s possible for non-profits to bring about this paradigm shift.”
Loney chose Calgary to host the workshop for its “lively non-profit sector” and costly social issues. “It seemed like a good intersection to talk about solutions,” he says.
“It’s fertile ground for these partnerships to emerge.”
Loney has an extensive background in non-profit and social entrepreneurship, having worked for the Government of Manitoba for several years before founding BUILD (Building Urban Industries for Local Development) – a social enterprise contracting company that hires individuals facing “multiple barriers to employment” in Winnipeg such as Indigenous Peoples and those with criminal records.
Since starting BUILD in 2006, Loney has helped create 10 more social enterprises, and regularly teaches other social enterprises how to create similar impact.
“Things have to change, and if we look in the mirror we’ll find people who have the tools to make it happen.”