Speak with any social entrepreneur and they will be able to tell you about all the highs and lows of developing a social enterprise organization. There are challenges, successes and everything in between as this unique breed of entrepreneur aligns their organizational purpose with positive social outcomes.
This work is happening all over the world and, in our region, the Social Enterprise Network of Central Ontario (SENCO) is working on developing the entire sector in our region. SENCO is a project of the Centre for Changemaking and Social Innovation at Georgian College.
In 2018, SENCO compiled highlights of significant strategy work on developing the social enterprise sector in Central Ontario. This document is now available through the senco.io website here.
The document identifies the mission as the following:
SENCO inspires, connects and equips those looking to engage in social enterprise to face cultural, environmental and social challenges in our region.
The work takes the form of both a connector stream, aimed at increasing partnership and action at the community level, and a catalyst stream, aimed at directly empowering individuals and organizations interested in pursuing social enterprise. This two-tiered approach to sector development covers an array of stakeholders and allows for a collaborative, interconnected approach to social enterprise development.
The strategy guide also highlights the role of Social Enterprise Sector Development Groups (SESDGs) in Georgian College campus communities across the region. These groups are composed of members from non-profit, for-profit, municipal and intermediary organizations. These groups are helping bring social enterprise ideas to life in their communities through events, fundraising and through the SENCO Traction Grants.
When we see this work being done at a regional level, all stakeholders can connect the dots between their work, community partners and the sector as a whole. The role of Georgian College and the Centre for Changemaking and Social Innovation is also crucial to this work, as it engages students and builds on community connections between Georgian College and the broader community.
For the full report and to view other opportunities and resources available through SENCO, visit senco.io.