Social Enterprise

Launching a business to enhance impact while generating revenue.

Information session

For those groups interested in Innoweave’s Social Enterprise stream, we encourage you to review our Social Enterprise Information Session:

  • Watch a recording of the most recent session here.
  • Download the slides from the most recent session here.
  • Or register for the next upcoming session here (when available).

The information session covers:

  • Innoweave’s impact-oriented approach
  • Social Enterprise 101
  • Overview of Innoweave’s Social Enterprise stream
  • Key factors for coaching readiness

Social Enterprise 101

A Social Enterprise is…

  • …an ongoing organization or venture…
  • …created with the primary goal of achieving an environmental, social, and/or cultural mission…
  • …that uses earned income strategies by selling products and/or services in its operation.

Main types of Social Enterprises

Social Enterprises are often launched for one or more of the following three reasons:

  • Employment-based: To meet an employment need in the community that is not being met through traditional business models. For example, Eva's Phoenix Printing in Toronto trains youth at risk in the printing business, preparing them to leave their street lives and enter into the labour market.
  • Mission-based: To advance or achieve a specific environmental, social, and/or cultural mission. For example, Haida Gwaii Higher Education Society operates an accredited university-level academic program that brings students to their community to learn about the local First Nations culture and arts, as well as the unique biology in the local environment. In addition to the student learning, there is an important local economic impact for the isolated region of Haida Gwaii.
  • Profit-based: To contribute to the financial sustainability of a community organization. For example, the Prince George Aboriginal Friendship Centre rents out the excess space in the building they own. The income from rent covers the mortgage payment and their program administrative costs.
  • Learn more about Social Enterprise models (click to open)

    Social Enterprise models

    Depending on a Social Enterprise’s goals and resources, they may adopt different funding models and financial objectives:

    Social Enterprises can have many forms of incorporation, including:

    • Registered charity
    • Non-profit
    • For-profit
    • Co-op
    • B Corp
    • Community Contribution Company (BC)
    • Community Interest Corporation (NS)
    • Informal/not registered
    • Project of an existing organization
    • … and likely others

    And there are a variety of potential ownership models:


Innoweave Social Enterprise Implementation Coaching Support

Coaching can help with a variety of needs at different stages of the Social Enterprise development path, including:

  • Feasibility study
  • Market research
  • Business planning (including financial, governance, legal, operational, marketing, and other considerations)
  • Launch preparation
  • Start-up phase support
  • Evaluation
  • Scaling strategies
  • ...and more

Learn more about how to request support from Innoweave here. Before applying we encourage you to discuss your ideas and coaching needs with our team by contacting us at

Other resources

  • Social Enterprise Council of Canada: An alliance of leaders who leverage their networks, knowledge, and experience to build a strong and enabling environment for Social Enterprise.
  • Social Enterprise Institute: School for Social Enterprise, providing online learning, coaching, tools, and a supportive community.
  • S4ES Social Enterprise Ecosystem Project: Connects training, marketing, and impact measurement resources for Social Enterprises anywhere in Canada.
  • Soshent: Connects social entrepreneurs and innovators to the programs, opportunities, and funding they need to accelerate their success and amplify their impact.
  • Social Enterprise resources from the Government of Canada: A list of programs and services for Social Enterprises of all types.
  • …and many more local, regional, and international resources (as well as many available in French)