Ken sent me this great article from The Toronto Star titled, Beyond Profits.
The article provides a great introduction to social enterprise and it’s inspiring to see how advanced the social enterprise system is in Quebec. It’s also nice to see the movement getting attention in Ontario.
Some good quotes:
“”Our goal is not to make billions of dollars,” says Jerry Thistle, kitchen manager at the Raging Spoon. Instead, profits are used to build the business so more people can be helped in more ways, not to simply generate more profits.”
“These enterprises are self-run, self-financing and just as entrepreneurial as any small business, but with a guiding philosophy closer to a social service agency.”
“Most people continue to have trouble pinning down what exactly the social economy is, this much is certain: the projects are run like businesses, but the profit motive comes second to helping such groups as the mentally ill, the homeless or struggling immigrants.” [I'd say the profit motive comes second to addressing social issues]
“Social economy enterprises… can be as single-minded about growing their businesses as the most ardent capitalist, but they measure success differently. It’s not about the bottom line, but about making society a little better any way they can.”
Finally, two great things to take away from the article:
1) “We are building a movement,” Absolutely the movement is growing, and for good reason. Retune’s focus is to build the movement in Hamilton and the surrounding Golden Horseshoe region.
2) “Neamtem’s group now administers a $53 million fund, made up of contributions from corporations, pension funds and the federal and provincial governments, that provides seed money for social economy enterprises”.” This is a huge thing to understand – the ecosystem that supports for-profit start-ups can be mirrored to support early-stage social enterprises. More on this later.