Meet the social entrepreneurs: Ontario Social Venture Registry

Register now for the Social Venture Registry

Confused about what exactly a social venture IS? Looking for a social venture that you can partner with or use as a supplier? Maybe you’re starting up a social venture and want to identify yourself to others in the field. Well, it’s time to meet the social entrepreneurs.

MaRS is pleased to announce the launch the online Ontario Social Venture Registry, made possible with generous support from the Province of Ontario.

The registry delivers on one of Ontario’s commitments to further encourage social investment, innovation and collaboration in the Poverty Reduction Strategy (December 2008), where Ontario announced the development of a website to profile social businesses and provide details on the social and environmental benefits they generate.

The listings highlight each venture’s social/environmental mission, the income-generating product or service they offer to the market and the social and environmental benefits that they are generating. In addition, there are eight in-depth profiles of Ontario-based social ventures, which provide more details about the organizations and the variety that exists in this space, helping explain the difference between non-profit social enterprises and for-profit social purpose businesses.

MaRS’ social innovation program, SiG@MaRS, works with both “social enterprises”, which we define as revenue-generating non-profits (those who generate income other than through grants, donations or fundraising) and “for-profit social purpose businesses”, which are those who incorporate as for-profits but have a double (social) or triple (environmental) bottom-lines.  This does not refer to companies employing Corporate Social Responsibility – which we encourage – but rather, we’ve included those with an embedded social or environmental mission along with a profit motive.

The registry provides an online form for social entrepreneurs to register their organizations and share information about their mission, products or services and the benefits they are generating.

How to use the registry

  1. Social ventures: Populate the registry
  2. Social entrepreneurs, organizations, individuals: Purchase products and services from social ventures
  3. Funders and investors: View information about Ontario’s emerging social venture asset class of social enterprises and social-purpose businesses.

From time-to-time, we’ll add new profiles to our sample organizations, so check back often for the latest stories.

We’re interested in your comments, particularly during this soft launch period. We encourage you to help us make the registry as useful as possible for Ontario’s social ventures and those that support them.