Congratulations, Ontario! Today, the Ontario government announced that it is investing $4 million to help finance social enterprise pilot projects across the province. The province’s new Social Enterprise Demonstration Fund (SEDF) is part of the government’s Social Enterprise Strategy and uses a social finance approach to kick-start enterprises that drive solutions to social and environmental issues while providing economic returns.

The 11 community-based, non-profit intermediaries were chosen from across Ontario. Each have partnered with private investors to co-invest in early-stage, high-potential social enterprises. These intermediaries were announced at the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) Spadina in Toronto to a celebratory crowd who have worked very hard to foster a growing social enterprise marketplace.

Get to know the successful applicants

  • Centre for Social Innovation
    The project will top up the existing Ontario Microloan Catapult Fund and establish a partnership among existing accelerators and microfinance initiatives to direct social entrepreneurs to the most appropriate resources in the ecosystem.
  • Community Foundations of Canada
    The program will provide debt and equity financing, as well as grant capital, to up to 15 early-stage social enterprises identified through the community foundation network.
  • Conseil de la Coopération de L’Ontario
    Focused on promoting Francophone social enterprises in Ontario, the project will partner with credit unions and other investors to offer loans and/or grants. Social enterprises will benefit from high-quality professional support adapted to their needs.
  • LIFT Philanthropy Partners
    LIFT will work with its social enterprise clients for up to three years to develop and implement a strategic plan that includes accountability, performance metrics and the capacity to deliver social impact.
  • Ottawa Community Loan Fund
    The project will provide grant and loan financing, as well as training, mentorship and business development support, to early- to mid-stage social enterprises in the Ottawa area.
  • PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise
    The project will develop an ecosystem that connects innovators, facilitates collaboration and helps social entrepreneurs access financing and training.
  • Pillar Non-Profit Network
    The project will provide capital in the form of loans as well as wrap-around supports to early-stage, high-growth social ventures in the London region.
  • RISE Asset Development
    RISE provides low-interest small business loans, training and mentorship to social entrepreneurs who cannot access traditional financing, specifically individuals with a history of mental health or addictions challenges or experience in the criminal justice system.
  • Ryerson University
    The project increases the amount of seed capital available to social entrepreneurs and helps potential social enterprises advance through a three-stage process: idea consultation, market validation and market readiness.
  • Toronto Enterprise Fund
    The project provides a hybrid form of capital—a loan and a grant—to make debt financing more accessible to social enterprises.
  • Waubetek
    Waubetek works with Aboriginal-owned, early-stage social enterprises in 53 First Nations communities, largely in North-eastern Ontario, to provide access to capital to create or expand social enterprises.

Want to learn more about social enterprises? Check out the video below featuring Adam Spence, the associate director of venture & capital programs at the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing, for more examples of social enterprises in Ontario.

Photo credit: Lucky Loonie by Sharon Drummond, used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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Joanna Reynolds

Joanna was the Associate Director of the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing and worked with MaRS and Social Innovation Generation National on the advancement of social finance in Canada. See more…