Tag Archives: Anne Jamieson

Considerations Arising out of the 3rd CCSE

Overall the 3rd CCSE was a great event. Sarah Lang, Anne Jamieson and their team did a wonderful job and again I thank them for including me in the dialogue.

Canada is a great nation of innovators. As a nation we have contributed to the fields of science, technology, arts, business and more. Social Enterprise is an area that Canada has the ability to demonstrate for the changing world how to make it work and to expand its reach and ability to do good work according to their social missions.

To do this it is imperative that Social Enterprise in Canada, working collaboratively, adopt a definition of exactly what social enterprise is. Currently social enterprise means a lot of things to a lot of people. By adopting a single definition some of the fog that currently surrounds social enterprise in this country may be lifted.

This single definition would be central to beginning to tell the story of social enterprise in Canada. It needs to be constructed to ensure the widest possible understanding across multiple domains and in the general public. Social enterprise needs to be demystified if it is going to be broadly understood. That broad understanding is critical to the success of social enterprise.

It is also necessary for social enterprise to find a unified voice. That voice needs to be an organization that is capable of speaking on behalf of social enterprise from coast to coast.

The most important point that came out of the conference is that social enterprise needs to focus on ‘enterprise.’ Without the business the social mission cannot be worked on.

Accepting that this is the most important point it is paramount that social enterprise identify management and employees that have the ability to navigate the business, governmental and social sector worlds.

Moreover it is important that social enterprise in Canada start to work with the institutions in this country that can help it most. As such social enterprise should be approaching Universities and Colleges so that Canada can start addressing the skill needs of the sector.

In accepting this it is also important for social enterprise to start working with the private sector. Adopting best practices, next practices, management techniques, business acumen, etc. social enterprise will be able to deal with the very real challenges that face Canada in the coming decade and better address the needs of their social missions.

Social enterprise is an important sector in this country. Through their various missions social enterprises make a difference everyday in the lives of Canadians.

Over the coming decade there are certain to be challenges the social sector is going to become ever more important in light of shrinking government budgets. As such the time is now for social enterprise in Canada to address its needs so it can best deal with the needs of Canadians going forward. Canada can further demonstrate for the world we are a nation of innovators that always rise to meet the challenges of the world in which we live head on.

Lester B. Pearson once said: “As we enter our centennial year we are still a young nation, very much in the formative stages. Our national condition is still flexible enough that we can make almost anything we wish of our nation. No other country is in a better position than Canada to go ahead with the evolution of a national purpose devoted to all that is good and noble and excellent in the human spirit.

Be Inspired Today!

The New Currency SDM “Change…At the Speed of Thought”


3rd Canadian Conference on Social Enterprise – Policy Forum – Pillar 1 – Enhance Enterprise Skills

Again, I would like to thank Anne Jamieson, Sarah Lang and Tonya Surman of the Social Enterprise Council of Canada and Allyson Hewitt of SiG for the kind invitation to be included in this important national policy dialogue.

The stated goal of the policy forum was to develop a national policy agenda for the social enterprise sector. Working collaboratively during this forum various groups engaged in the social enterprise dialogue developed a detailed policy priority.

Marty Donkervoort of Inner City Development Inc and Bill Young of Social Capital Partners spoke eloquently about the urgent need to enhance enterprise skills. Both suggested that social enterprise has a unique set of skill requirements that represent a ‘blending’ of many different types of knowledge.

Mr. Young asked the question: “How do we do that?” He suggested that it was necessary for the social enterprise sector to start building those skills independently and with each other in the sector. Further while policy is useful as an institutional tool for action it does not address the urgency of that skills development.

He went on to say that we need to read more about successful social enterprise and magnify those successes to gain more insight into what makes them work. One such way to do this is to visit social enterprises and get a detailed primary information base. Understand the nuances of the business model and see how they can be used elsewhere.

Mr. Young said there is no shortage of ‘knowledge’ resources and that we need to better use those resources. Develop mentoring programs and other tools that can be broadly used in the application of social enterprises across Canada. He said that there is a need for ‘persistent education,’ as relates to skills development.

Finally, beautifully and succinctly Mr. Young expressed: “profit versus subsidy.”

Mr. Donkervoort emphasized the need for entry point education. That business schools need to be addressing the rising social sector and begin training the people that will inevitably run them. However, he stressed that you cannot teach passion and that passion is an essential element in the social enterprise sector.  Currently he is working with the University of Winnipeg to develop a case study to be used in schools around North America.

He also expressed, as so many have recently, that there has been a paradigm shift. With this shift there is an urgency to ensure that we are developing the skill sets necessary to build and sustain the social enterprise sector.

In the discussion document for the national policy framework the conference recognized that: “blending business operations and social outcomes in social enterprises require a particular set of governance and management skills.”

To address this need the conference put forward specific measures for the profit and non-profit sectors, the Federal, Provincial and Municipal Governments as well as educational institutions.

To develop a detailed policy priority the SECC conducted a survey of participants. Of the approximately 155 people who participated in the conference 50% or 77 replied.

For enhancing social enterprise practitioners’ skills it was decided that the following were priorities:

  • Skill development equivalence to that of for profit small business
  • Go beyond mentorship to partnership with private sector for skills development and incubator opportunities
  • Share experience and knowledge amongst social enterprise

The next post will address increasing access to capital for social enterprises.

Bruce Barton once said: “The five steps in teaching an employee new skills are preparation, explanation, showing, observation and supervision.”

Be Inspired Today!

The New Currency SDM “Change…At the Speed of Thought”

3rd Canadian Conference on Social Enterprise Gathering at the Centre for Social Innovation

From November 18th through 20th the 3rd CCSE was co-sponsored by the Social Enterprise Council of Canada, Causeway, SiG and MaRS.

I would like to thank Anne Jamieson, Sarah Lang and Tonya Surman of the SECC and Allyson Hewitt of SiG for the kind invitation to be included in this important national policy dialogue.

On the evening of November 18th the Centre for Social Innovation hosted a diverse collection of people for a lively gathering. Canadians from far and wide came together along with a wonderful group of participants from The Democratic Republic of Congo to learn more about each other and social enterprise.

The guest speaker was the Right Honourable Paul Martin who spoke eloquently about the need to create an enabling environment for social enterprise in Canada.

Mr. Martin, as a champion for social enterprise in Canada, demonstrated that a currently absent legitimacy is standing in the way of advancements. Without that legitimacy it remains difficult to attract the necessary capital to expand the impact of social enterprise across this country.

Explaining his dismay that the Americans are ahead of Canada in this important area he spoke of  new vehicles for investment such as the L3C (low profit limited liability corporation) that have enabled the ramp up of social enterprise.

In a particularly poignant moment Mr. Martin said: “Don’t let perfection be the enemy of the good. Let’s get this out there and not let divisiveness between us become a weapon.”

Further explaining that social enterprise and its champions have to stop being: “so damn polite.” A unified voice is required to rise up and assert the role social enterprise is playing in transforming individuals, employment opportunities and GDP.

Finally Mr. Martin illustrated the importance of demonstrating to governments that social enterprise is not looking for handouts. Instead, it is looking for a level playing field, in so doing social enterprise can flourish, continuing its transformative role in society.

The next posts will detail the key elements of discussion about social enterprise at the policy forums of the 3rd CCSE.

A great champion of Social Enterprise, Liam Black: “Be bold. Take risks. Don’t get caught up in the self-referential loop of entitlement that discourse about social enterprise too often becomes.”

Be Inspired Today!

The New Currency SDM “Change…At the Speed of Thought”