THUNDER BAY – BUSINESS – To help create jobs and build a fairer, more prosperous province, Ontario is providing funding to PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise in Thunder Bay to create jobs and grow the economy.
The Social Enterprise Demonstration Fund (SEDF) will support 11 social finance projects throughout the province, including PARO in Thunder Bay.
“Ontario launched our Social Enterprise Strategy back in 2013. Progress, to date, on that commitment has met the aim of the Strategy to support and attract both entrepreneurs and investors to do business in our province, while contributing to the social good. The goal is to ensure that Ontario is the leading jurisdiction for social enterprise in North America. With this investment of $250,000, it is our hope that PARO’s project will have a positive impact on the community and region,” said Bill Mauro, MPP Thunder Bay-Atikokan.
“Social Enterprise is the business of today, tomorrow and the future. Partnering with Nordik Institute, the NE and NW Innovation Centres, individual, community, and private investors, PARO will inspire and support social entrepreneurs from Northern Ontario to work on social solutions with a profitable bottom line. We are very excited to be among 11 grantees for this new project,” commented Rosalind Lockyer, Executive Director, PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise
“Social enterprises present a huge opportunity for the economy while fostering values that matter to Ontarians, such as creating a fairer society. This new social finance fund will help connect the province’s high-potential, early-stage social enterprises, including those in Thunder Bay, with the capital they need to grow and create jobs. It will also help position Ontario as a global impact investment leader,” stated Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure.
PARO’s “Social Enterprise for Northern Ontario (SENO) Co-Starter for Change” project will connect innovators, facilitate collaboration, and help social entrepreneurs to access financing and training. The project will include a specific focus on youth and Aboriginal people, which aligns with SEDF’s priorities.
Ontario’s $4 million contribution will leverage over $6 million in private investment.
The government wants to make Ontario the leading jurisdiction in North America for social enterprise. Sustainable social enterprises provide jobs for youth, women, newcomers, Aboriginal people, persons with disabilities, and those with mental health or addiction challenges.
Growing the province’s social enterprise sector is part of the government’s economic plan for Ontario. The four-part plan is building Ontario up by investing in people’s talents and skills, building new public infrastructure like roads and transit, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives, and building a secure retirement savings plan.