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Government of Canada announces renewed Investment Readiness Program at CSI

Kyle Shantz

Kyle Shantz

Managing Director

Where Change Happens

CSI has always been “where change happens”, so we were thrilled and honoured (but not surprised) to be chosen to host The Honourable Karina Gould, P.C., M.P.. Minister of of Families, Children, and Social Development, and M.P. Ryan Turnbull, Chair of the Social Innovation Caucus on Monday, when they announced the renewal of the Investment Readiness Program at CSI.

“The Centre for Social Innovation provides a co-working space in Toronto for people who want to change the world. With 2000+ members working hard to make the world more sustainable and to fight inequality, CSI is helping grow and develop the social finance sector in Canada. ” – 

The Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

Social purpose organizations (SPOs), such as social enterprises, non-profits, charities and co‑operatives, are at the forefront of tackling Canada’s persistent social challenges and climate crisis. They are key contributors to the Canadian economy. However, many SPOs need support to expand their capacity and secure new funding. The Government of Canada is investing in them to overcome these barriers, so that they can have a greater impact in communities across Canada.


Social Innovation Canada Selected as Delivery Partner

We were also thrilled (and also not surprised) to confirm that incubated project and national charity Social Innovation Canada (formerly the Centre for Social Innovation Institute) was selected once again as a delivery partner. SI Canada will reach SPOs working on social innovation across Canada to strengthen the SI/SF ecosystem. It will do this by:

  • Building awareness and/or access to the existing tools and approaches, promoting the work and programs of the other ecosystem builders;
  • Bringing new audiences to educational, incubation and acceleration programs and other social finance investment/funding opportunities suitable for SPOs; and
  • Creating and distributing “what works” case studies and profiles of how SPOs working in social innovation have become investment ready.

“Our Government sees great potential in growing social innovation in our communities. More Canadian organizations and businesses are offering smart solutions to reduce poverty, reach social equality and fight climate change. The Investment Readiness Program will help them scale up and become investment-ready, so that they can create impacts for Canadians for years to come.”

– The Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development


What is the Investment Readiness Program?

The Investment Readiness Program (IRP) is a $50 million initiative that seeks to help advance social innovation and social finance (SI/SF) in Canada. The program supports social purpose organizations (SPOs) to build capacity and to get ready to access social finance opportunities. SPOs include charities, non-profits, social enterprises, co-operatives and businesses with a social mission. It will be delivered in two streams:

Stream 1: Readiness Support

The readiness support partners will provide funding to SPOs to build skills and capacity to access social finance investment. SPOs can use the funding to get help conducting market analysis, develop new products and services, build business plans, and acquire technical expertise.

Stream 2: Ecosystem 

The ecosystem builders will invest in projects that help grow and strengthen the social innovation/social finance ecosystem by being more inclusive and integrated. A strong ecosystem makes it easier for SPOs to be more socially innovative and to access social finance.

The Investment Readiness Program will be run over two years (2021–2023), is a core initiative under the Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy, which was announced in 2019. The IRP concluded a successful pilot program that took place between 2019 and 2021 and benefited 680 social purpose organizations across Canada. Based on the success of the pilot, the Government of Canada renewed the Investment Readiness Program in Budget 2021. There are an estimated 170,000 charitable and public benefit non-profit organizations and 25,000 social enterprises across Canada, according to Statistics Canada. They are all part of the Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy ecosystem. The non-profit sector plays a significant role in supporting women, who represent about 77% of this sector’s workforce.


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