THUNDER BAY – Living – PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise has partnered with a dynamic collaboration of purpose-driven agents of change to ignite social enterprise in Northern Ontario. Today PARO, Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC), Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre, Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre, Nordik Institute, BDC and RBC announced Social Enterprise Northern Ontario (SENO) Costarter for Change.
The new program is the blueprint that will build a bigger and stronger social enterprise in the region.
“Those coming to the table today, want to lead the way in doing better business. As Social Enterprise continues to expand across the globe, we need to embrace this business trend in Northern Ontario;” says PARO Executive Director, Rosalind Lockyer. “It’s all about businesses that make a difference in the community. Social enterprise is a growing part of the wider economy and it means fundamental changes in how we do things. SENO Costarter for Change will inspire community drive through learning and creating social entrepreneurship.”
Start-up funding has been identified as a major challenge when establishing social enterprise.
SENO Costarter for Change will provide support through engaging community and private funding sources. SENO Costarter for Change participants will partake in an application development program that officially starts today until September. During this time, they will have access to mentors and one-on-one counselling to develop their business idea to its fullest potential.
SENO CoStarter for Change Program Manager, Melissa Cook explains; “The program will help applicants throughout the entire process. After a series of workshops, participants will submit their completed application form to the review committee and successful funding recipients will be selected by the end of September.”
Social enterprises are broadly defined as organizations that make money and deliver social or environmental benefits. “No single organization can solve society’s most difficult challenges on its own”; continues Cook. “It’s about thinking about big problems and how we can use social enterprise as a tool to move forward. It’s about jobs for young people, recycling, helping those in need, rejuvenation and much more. Our goal is to create a vibrant social enterprise ecosystem and build a mass of successful social enterprises that supports the fostering of social and public partnerships”.
In conjunction with the launch, today SENO Costarter for Change is also hosting a special “Change Makers Café” event in Thunder Bay, featuring two very successful local social enterprises. Habitat for Humanity Restore and Bullyguard will share their knowledge and experiences in how they turned social and environmental challenges into opportunities through entrepreneurial activism.
For further in formation about the Social Enterprise Northern Ontario (SENO) Costarter for Change please visit paro.ca.