Tag Archives: social enterprise

“Let’s Change the World”: Lessons from Mission-Driven Banking

By Brenna Atnikov

Before its closure in 2010, ShoreBank Corporation was the United States’ leading social enterprise. A certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), ShoreBank envisioned a different approach to address the twin problems of access to capital and urban decay. The goal was to make money more easily available in marginalized, inner-city neighbourhoods so that folks could buy a home, build a business or develop a community. Investments were thoughtfully considered from a holistic perspective, and guided by an ethos that moderate financial returns should be paired with strong social returns.

So why did the bank succumb to the continued financial crisis in the United States?

More importantly, what can we learn from ShoreBank’s legacy? How can we apply that learning here at home?

Read more from the Stanford Social Innovation Review article: Too Good To Fail


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Vecova (formerly VRRI) supports adults with disabilities and enriches our community through leadership, innovation and collaboration. Vecova owns and operates two social enterprises – a bottle depot and a baggage cart retrieval service at the Calgary airport.

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Cooperatives: Locally Owned Businesses Build Strong Communities

By Heather MacIntosh

In the social economy, a range of models for social enterprise, cooperatives, and green jobs abound.

El Ceibo is an organization of cocoa farmers in Bolivia that combines all three. El Ceibo not only introduced a fair trade, organic, democratic production model to Bolivia, it is a leading voice in the social economy movement nationally and in South America. The organization consists of over 40 smaller farmer co-ops throughout the Alto Beni region.

El Ceibo buys raw products (cocoa beans) from its participating farmers, produces chocolate in its factory in the migrant city of El Alto, and offers factory jobs to its members and their immediate family members on a rotating basis. Workers in the production section of the factory are on 3-year contract and those in finance, administration, marketing and management have 3-5 year positions. New workers arrive and have cross training between 1 and 6 months, depending on the person and the role.

Continue reading “Cooperatives: Locally Owned Businesses Build Strong Communities” »

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Social Enterprise After-hours: Bringing Gurus and Newbies Together!

Written by Thrive

You’ve spoken. We’ve listened.

Enterprising Non-Profits Alberta, Thrive (Calgary’s Community Economic Development Network) and Servants Anonymous Society have joined up to create a mentorship and learning space for new, emerging and established social enterprises. Our goal is to come together, as thinkers and practioners, to support the growth of this business model as it takes off in Calgary.

Some of the things we’ve heard that you want to chat about include:

  • What is social enterprise?  What types of social enterprises exist in our community?
  • What do we mean by ‘blended value’? How do social entrepreneurs create this?
  • Is the ‘mainstream market’ ready for social enterprise? Will people buy from my social enterprise?  Would you invest in a social enterprise?

Join us as we get these conversations (and others) rolling in order to build a movement around social entrepreneurship in Calgary!

The event is free & is generously sponsored by the Trico Charitable Foundation.

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Neighbourhood Revitilization

RiverWalk in East Village

Calgary’s East Village is being transformed. What was once a neglected inner-city neighbourhood is becoming a hub for creativity, recreation and community. RiverWalk officially opened on the August long weekend, is central to the revitalized look of the East Village and means a better quality of life for all Calgarians.

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Meaningful Employment

Green Collar Job Initiative

A meaningful job that pays a living wage, helps the environment and strengthens the economy? That’s a green collar job. Thrive and its partners launched the Green Collar Jobs initiative with the release of the report Green Collar Jobs: New Workforce Development Opportunities for Alberta. The report provides a strong foundation from which to stimulate a green economy in our city.

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Innovative Social Finance

Community Capital Networks

Passionate about supporting a sustainable local economy, REAP and its partners host a monthly webinar series called Community Capital Networks. If you are interested in unleashing the flow of capital to support a greener local economy, join the conversation to learn about promising practices across North America and to discuss how to bring them to Calgary.

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Local Business Development

Enterprising Non-Profits Alberta

With the launch of Enterprising Non-Profits Alberta, Calgarians can expect to shop from more and more socially conscious businesses. ENP-AB is providing grants and technical assistance to non-profit organizations engaged in social enterprise, the kind that brings both financial and social returns.

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