A community-led initiative co-created by the Canadian CED Network – Manitoba and the Province of Manitoba, this document is a comprehensive collection of concrete policy and program recommendations to support non-profits creating jobs and training opportunities for people facing barriers to securing employment.
While we recognize there are many types of impacts social enterprises can make in our communities, the MSES is focused explicitly on employment outcomes. This is because of the strength Manitoba has in this field, as well as the opportunity recognized by the Manitoba Government for social enterprises to play a key part in labour market development.
By connecting individuals facing multiple barriers to a comprehensive program of social supports and job training, social enterprises have proved effective at providing a sustainable pathway toward prosperity, while reducing poverty and crime, growing our labour market, increasing our tax base and decreasing the costs associated with health care, justice and social services.
The MSES utilizes the Six Pillars of Social Enterprise Development developed by the Social Enterprise Council of Canada. These policy areas have been repeatedly demonstrated themselves as necessary and effective areas of development for a healthy enterprise eco-system.
Pillar 1: Enhance Enterprise Skills
Blending innovative business operations with social outcomes requires a unique set of management and governance skills that are not common in traditional for-profit and non-profit communities. Manitoba has seen a grassroots growth in education and training opportunities for this emerging business model, helping the non-profit sector and experienced business managers integrate social values and business operations. Social enterprises need on-going learning opportunities along the entire business development path, from early learning and feasibility through business planning and into operations. Supporting the community-organized best-practice programs being developed will enhance the existing strength in the social enterprise sector and foster more successful businesses providing for our communities’ needs.
Pillar 2: Ensure Access to Capital & Investment
All businesses require access to capital, and they need the right money at the right time. Social enterprises, generally non-share incorporations, have limited options beyond traditional grant models and straightforward loan arrangements. By strengthening existing Manitoba-made solutions, such as the CED Tax Credit and the Jubilee Loan Fund, and drawing from best-practice Canadian examples, such as Québec’s Chantier de l’économie sociale, Social Enterprise Manitoba will work to reduce social enterprises’ barriers to accessing the different types of capital they require. Integrating finance opportunities with supports for skill development to ensure the investment readiness of our social enterprises will strengthen the social and financial return on investment.
Pillar 3: Expanding Market Opportunities
Every purchase has a ripple effect and multiple impacts in our communities, whether unintentional or intentional. Intentional purchasing can ensure the greatest impact opportunities for social enterprise. Both the private market and public sector purchasing provide opportunities to support social enterprises.
For public sector purchasers, employment-focused social enterprises can provide the goods and services they already purchase with the added value of providing someone facing barriers with an employment opportunity. For the government, this means decreased crime and justice-related expenses, savings in health-care costs, reduced strain on social assistance system, and employment in the community. Public sector purchasing stands to be one of the most lucrative opportunities presented to social enterprises.
Of course, private sector purchasing is sought by social enterprises as well. Community-minded businesses and consumers have a long history of supporting initiatives that build stronger communities. Integrating social enterprises into their supply chain is another way community-oriented employers can support social and economic outcomes in Manitoba.
Pillar 4: Promote & Demonstrate the Value of Social Enterprise
For the social enterprise sector to be supported and celebrated by the economy and public, its success and impact must be widely known. In order to demonstrate value, social enterprises need tools to clearly articulate the success and impact of their work. The profile of the social enterprise sector and its contribution to our economy and communities must be raised.
Pillar 5: Regulatory Frameworks
Legislative tools greatly shape the ability of social enterprises to do their work. The actions, decisions and policies of all levels of government have significant impacts on social enterprises in our communities. There are strong international examples, including Québec and the United Kingdom, of policy frameworks that work to ensure that legislative decisions are supportive of the important contributions the social enterprise sector makes.
Pillar 6: Networks & Community Engagement
Building the strength of the social enterprise sector and increasing its ability to impact local communities requires enhancing social capital and creating the opportunities for sharing learning, designs and models. A multitude of network-building options must be created and sustained to facilitate engagement and exchanges.
Wraparound supports for social enterprise employees are needed to ensure their success. These include affordable housing, child care, mental and physical health care, cultural reclamation programming, and a streamlined supportive system to transition individuals from social enterprise employment into the private sector. Without a comprehensive system of social supports for social enterprise employees, the impact of the social enterprise sector will be severely held back. It is unlikely all social enterprises will provide all these supports internally, so this strategy suggests networks and connections to existing or new resources be established.
The various groups that are over-represented in poverty statistics such as people with disabilities, or newcomers, will have specialized needs for success in the labour market based on the barriers they face for inclusion. For instance, and elaborated on in these recommendations, Indigenous people are over-represented in unemployment and poverty statistics in part due to the history of colonization and their social exclusion. For some, success is more likely if the effects of colonization are tackled head on and fully integrated into programs that train Indigenous people for employment, usually in programs delivered by Indigenous organizations. For instance, Urban Circle Training Center has successfully integrated decolonizing pedagogy and cultural reclamation into its programming and consistently has a high graduation rate. Despite its important role, specific funding for cultural reclamation programming is limited.
See the full Manitoba Social Enterprise Strategy: https://ccednet-rcdec.ca/sites/ccednet-rcdec.ca/files/ccednet/pdfs/mb_social_enterprise_strategy_2015.pdf