Common Good Solutions team members go to a lot of conferences, as you may have noticed by now. As active members of a growing local, national and global sector, it’s part of their job to both bear witness, and contribute to, development and conversation wherever it takes place.
The distinction brought out by Power and Shea comes down to whether there can be an enterprising solution to an issue or need. I’ll admit that I myself was surprised when first hearing about Power’s concerns--working within the social enterprise sector, it can be almost too easy to forget that not every problem has a solution that may be reached through enterprise. Some services--which the organizations providing them would argue are essential--need continued financial backing through social infrastructure.
“Imagine a world where people wake up everyday inspired to go to work and return home at the end of the day feeling fulfilled by the work they do, feeling they have contributed to something greater than themselves.” - Simon Sinek
I have exciting news to share! This very week, a new social enterprise that has been working with CGS in the Impact Incubator since April has launched its pilot website! Andrea Telfer spoke to me from Sydney, Cape Breton about her social enterprise ChipIn, which “uses social technology to engage millennials with the world through volunteering.”
Social economic development for everyone, right? That’s an idea more and more people seem to be taking heed of, and one that Lauren mentioned proudly as a major take-away of the conference. “People that are outside of our little [social enterprise] world are starting to look in and realize that maybe there’s a piece that they’re missing that could be valuable, that could create more impact for more people.”
Last week we heard from Robert about his experience as a consultant with CGS. This week we’re shifting focus to one of our business developers, Lauren Sears, and hearing her step-by-step breakdown of our crucial service for budding social entrepreneurs, presented in partnership with the Social Enterprise Network of Nova Scotia: the Impact Incubator.
“There had been an awareness that things were changing in the sector,” Robert explained, “and also an awareness of the [DirectioNS Council’s] potential in the province as social enterprise leaders. And so collectively they had a vision for something that was a lot greater for the participants and for the province.” Where the Council brought the desire for something better for the sector overall, CGS provided the business tools to achieve those results.
If you’re just starting a social enterprise, or running a social enterprise that has recently changed strategic direction or experienced growth, it’s time to take a good look at whether your brand reflects who you are.
5 things that you can achieve through determining your Impact Statement that you must keep your eyes (and heart) on when going through the branding process with your social enterprise are...
If you happened to ask them, some of the participants may tell you that they did not win, but I have no doubt that all of the campers took away something valuable from their week at the New Dawn Centre for Social Innovation. They learned a solid few things about entrepreneurship: success, loss, and the courage it takes to put yourself out there. But perhaps most importantly, “the campers,” Chloe reflected, “may have even learned that sometimes the winners in business are those who are willing to consider people and the planet along with profit.”
A year that has reignited my faith in Nova Scotia and my place in this province as a professional, simply because I’ve been given the opportunity to try. When I started out here, whether I was going to succeed or fail was to be determined, but it all starts with someone believing in you. That’s something social enterprise does so well: believing in people, believing in communities and working with them to find solutions.
What if, we thought, there was a way to engage youth by producing fresh food for those who don’t have access to it, while providing a physical site that addresses the prevalence of mental illness? AND that actually turns a profit?
Now that sounds like a tall order. But you shoot for the moon, you may land on earth, and that’s what we were going for. Indeed, what we came up with was in fact earth--not in the ground, but in greenhouses.