Small Business Awards 2020

Sep20312 Social Entrepreneur of the Year - Canada Enterprise4Good sees the world slightly differently to other organizations. The firm uses the Social Enterprise model, defining Social Enterprise as “using business methodology to accomplish a public good”. Over the years, the team has achieved some truly enviable results, applying their unique angle to support people from a wide range of backgrounds. Enterprise4Good started as a program in 1979 by parents of children with cerebral palsy. The team provided information and education related to assistive technology to children with special needs and their families, and quickly grew to support adults with special needs to. In 1984, the program became the Technical Resource Centre, a non-profit charitable organization. Two years later, the team took a new approach and started to practice a self-sustaining social enterprise business methodology. For something so innovative, it has grown into a world- beating champion of the process. Everything that Enterprise4Good is involved in is slightly different to the traditional charity model. The team’s long list of programs and services are financially sustainable through business activity. This means that they are not dependent on traditional sources of charitable revenue such as fundraising, grants and special events to name but a few. Every operation must have two basic elements, namely they have to be self- sustainable and secondly every aspect has to be organized to provide a community benefit. This approach seeks to maximize Social Capital rather than simply Financial Capital. Any project takes into consideration the importance of Social Capital, defined as overall benefit to the community, through all of the top line revenue, such as the costs of goods and profit. An example of a project that has been tremendously successful for Enterprise4Good has been their seniors’ housing facilities. The vast majority of seniors’ housing existing in the world are built to solely to warehouse seniors. They exist in communities much like little “Lesotho’s” in the middle of “South Africa’s”. The buildings and infrastructure sit idle and do little for the surrounding community. Enterprise4Good opens idle infrastructure to the community, making pools open to special needs children, hair salons available for those with low incomes and theatres open for community events. These projects literally pay for themselves. The team are always trying to find ways in which their operations can serve a community better. The project above not only found a way of supporting the larger community, but also enhanced the quality of life of the seniors who now reside in a facility that has vibrancy and a sense of meaning. Social Enterprise thrives on this careful consideration of how we can best benefit people, but the team at Enterprise4Good have turned it into an artform. The firm is made of four units, each with a team that has its own speciality. Ability4Good provides clinical services for vulnerable children with special needs, mainly children with Autism. Home4Good provides residential housing for low income tenants as well as various types of seniors housing. Friends4Good contains all international community development projects such as schools, housing, health facilities, water, women’s social enterprises, etc. in various locations around the world and Good4U is a retail store that sells new or donated used merchandise from individuals or corporations. Each is an invaluable part of the larger whole. The non-profit sector is incredibly crowded in Canada, with about 240,000 non-profits currently in existence. This means that there is roughly 1 non-profit for every 150 Canadian citizens. The vast majority are small, geographically specific, issue specific and chronically under resourced, each vying for money, attention and self-preservation. This struggle to survive can make it a challenge for these worthy organizations, led by passionate people, to do the essential work that they originally intended to do. The challenge that Enterprise4Good has managed to avoid is that of Donor Fatigue where the pressure of constant fundraising by non- profits generates resistance. This relatively new model of doing charity avoids that entirely. Over the last twenty-five years, Enterprise4Good has grown from a typically small, struggling organization with four staff and an annual budget of $340,000 into a thriving business that encompasses close to a hundred staff, with annual revenues of approximately $6,500,000. 99% of this is developed through social entrepreneurial activity. All revenue is used not only for programs and services for vulnerable children and seniors, but also to create Social Capital in the communities that we operate. This allows the team to do so much more than a typical charity. The multiplier effect is astonishing, with the charity’s success quickly drawing in more support. It puts considerable daylight between themselves and 240,000 other non-profits too. Social Enterprise is a concept that is thankfully growing in Canada, but it is still in its very early innings. The team expect to enjoy the competitive advantage of their value proposition for many years to come. Looking forward, the team have major plans for the future. The intention is to grow the organization to a goal of $100,000,000 of assets within the next 5 years, with a regular revenue of $20,000,000 per year. Enterprise4Good is already on track to achieve these targets, which are not just numbers as a point of pride, but what must be reached in order to serve the needs of an even larger population of vulnerable children and seniors. Increasing demand creates the need for a proportionally increased organizational capability to serve the needs of an even larger population of vulnerable children and seniors. This remains at the heart of what Enterprise4Good has always done, and will always aim to do. With the help of dedicated staff and board and a pioneering business model that remains in demand today, the team at Enterprise4Good have created something truly unique. Their work not only supports hundreds of people, but has provided a way forward for the charity sector. This work builds on a long and rich history to achieve astonishing things, both now and long into the future. Company: Enterprise4Good Contact: Adrian Bohach Website: Email: [email protected] There aren’t many pioneers in the business world, but the team at Enterprise4Good have been innovators since the charity’s inception. It was one of the earliest Canadian users of the Social Enterprise model. We take a closer look at this astonishing organization to see how the team ensure their work not only generates a healthy profit, but uses business methodology to accomplish a public good.