Whole Note’s COVID-19 reinvention story

For 25 seasons CSI member The Whole Note magazine has built the bulk of its content around providing 300 to 500 listings for live music — particularly classical, new, early & world music, jazz, opera and musical theatre. Each issue has been distributed via 960 shops, cafes, venues, etc around Toronto.

Then came COVID-19.

As a result of the pandemic, those 300 to 500 events were postponed or cancelled. And 960 distribution points available to the magazine shrank to 10.

As The Whole Note’s publisher David Perlman explained to the Toronto Star, he and his team have responded to this new normal by reinventing the magazine’s content:

What is different in the July-August issue is the replacement of listings with essays covering specialized subject areas, with Brian Chang, for example, writing about how choirs face the challenge of social distancing and Lydia Perovic interviewing Katherine Carleton, executive director of Orchestras Canada, on how orchestras are coping.

Just as Perlman asserts there was no actual model for his enterprise in the first place, there is obviously none for the age of COVID-19. “We are always improvising,” he says.

FULL ARTICLE HERE

So far, the improvising seems to be working! The Whole Note’s distribution numbers are creeping back up! The September issue will be available in 140 places in the city. If you are still sheltering in place (good for you!) you can read it online.

 

 

“We can prove new models are possible” – Tonya Surman

Startup Canada is celebrating and putting the spotlight on a leading Canadian social innovators driving change in one of the United Nations Global Goals.

Goal 17 is Partnerships for the Goals. As the UN explains:

A successful sustainable development agenda requires partnerships between governments, the private sector and civil society. These inclusive partnerships built upon principles and values, a shared vision, and shared goals that place people and the planet at the centre, are needed at the global, regional, national and local level.

Our CEO Tonya Surman was of course a perfect fit to interview about Goal 17.

She explained how CSI is working to build a New Economy:

What keeps me going is the drive for systemic change; that we can prove new models are possible. That’s what CSI is fundamentally about. It’s not just making the world better, it’s fundamentally changing the system on which we operate so that the change can scale and have an impact—not just for a small group of people—but for an entire community, country, and world.

Caring is at the foundation of everything that we do. I care about the world, I care about other entrepreneurs, and how we work together is just as important as what we’re doing.

We have to remember that the objective is not some faraway thing; the objective is to live well right now. The act of caring; the act of empathy; the sense of belonging—these are the things that actually enrich our lives. Putting that at the center of everything I do gives me the clarity to remember that it’s not how big I grow, or how many staff I have, or how big our budgets are. It’s actually about how we treat each other as a community and reach our potential.

You can read the whole interview here. And if you think CSI can help you read your potential, learn more about how to become a member!

“Social entrepreneurs are shifting the game on what success is.” – Tonya Surman

Ever wondered if your business could solve more than just your customers’ problems? Tonya Surman — our co-founder and CEO — wants to talk! Tonya is one of Canada’s leading social entrepreneurs. Her clients: people and planet. Her superpowers: visionary ideas that inspire, models that harness collaboration, and spaces that accelerate systemic change.

Tonya says: “I hope entrepreneurs reflect on what entrepreneurship is, as it’s ultimately a tactic to get some outcome out of the world, a tool to make the change we want to see in the world.”

In this episode of the #StartupCanadaPodcast, sponsored by Mastercard and Ceridian, Tonya discusses how your business can make the change your community needs – whether that community is local, national, or global.

Listen here:

A celebration of women innovators

To celebrate International Women’s Day, check out these profiles of phenomenal innovative women across sectors, throughout history, and around the world. Take some time to scroll through. We predict you’ll get inspiration, education, and motivation. You’ll even see some CSI members on the list!


Seven CSI members making the world better for women

CSI Members smiling

CSI is filled with dynamic women, from staff to visitors to of course our amazing members.

This International Women’s Day we’re taking the chance to highlight the work of seven of those members who are working locally and globally on women’s equality.

THE EQUALITY EFFECT

The equality effect uses international human rights law as a crowbar to pry open justice for women and girls around the world. Drawing on a team of feisty international lawyers, the equality effect initiates creative legal advocacy projects to achieve systemic change like conducting research, collecting evidence, and developing test case litigation. In Kenya, the equality effect coordinated a constitutional claim against the government for failing to protect girls who had been raped; Kenya’s High Court agreed that the police failure to enforce existing rape laws, and police failure to protect them from rape, is a violation of domestic, regional, and human rights law. Click here to be part of this phenomenal work through donating or volunteering.

YOUNG WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP NETWORK

The Young Women’s Leadership Network advocates for young women’s political leadership at all levels. They provide skill-building workshops encouraging young women’s social and political empowerment, while also studying and dismantling the existing barriers to that empowerment. A group of activists themselves, they know that women who participate in any political action regularly deal with threats (or worse) of sexual violence. So they are working to create a Sexual Violence Support Toolkit, to provide resources for creating harassment-free spaces that encourage young women’s civic engagement. Click here to join their network.

LADIES LEARNING CODE

Ladies Learning Code, now a subchapter of Canada Learning Code, aiming to promote collaborative, technological learning among women and youth. This program seeks to close the gender gap among those adept at technology by offering courses and workshops to empower and educate women in particular. They also run Girls Learning Code, which teaches girls from the ages of 3 to 12 years old technological skills through workshops, camps, and other events, and Teens Learning Code that teaches girls from the ages of 13 to 17 years old various technological skills such as webmaking, gamemaking, and even app inventing. Click here to sign up for their next workshop.

MOMMY MONITOR

Elsie Amoako created Mommy Monitor after learning that African, Caribbean and Latin American women in North America are about four times more likely to experience complications in childbirth. Mommy Monitor launches in collects personal information from expectant mothers to predict and mitigate any risks. It then creates a maternal care package, including a tailored list of resources. Mommy Monitor will also connect the mother-to-be with a maternal mentor who is from the same country, and speaks the same language.This person will serve as a peer mentor and patient navigator. Download the app here.

G(IRLS)20

Launched in 2009 at the Clinton Global Initiative, G(irls)20 places women aged 18-25 at the centre of decision-making processes. Through their signature programs, Global Summit and Girls on Boards, they make strategic investments in young women through education and training, building networks, and access to unparalleled opportunities at home and abroad. While advocating for change at the global level through the annual G(irls)20 Global Summit, we are invested in changing the status quo for women at decision-making tables in communities across Canada by placing Girls on Boards. Click here for more information about how you can coach a young woman or get a young woman on your Board.

AFRICAN WOMEN ACTING

Founded in 2011 by artist Sonia Aimy, African Women Acting is an incorporated non-profit organization that aims to empower, preserve and promote women’s issues and African cultural heritage through African music, theatre, dance, visual art, and other media. AWA looks to create a variety of artistic and educational workshops and events, which promote inclusiveness, community engagement, and a lasting-positive impact on community members. To that end, AWA collaborates with various artists and art organizations to service, educate, innovate, and provide free and affordable art programmes to under-resourced communities. Click here to check out their blog.

WOMEN’S HEALTHY ENVIRONMENTS NETWORK

WHEN is a Toronto-based non-profit charitable organization that teaches individuals and communities how to reduce their risk of illness and injury that arise from elements of the environment that surrounds us – this includes the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe. WHEN uses the influence and knowledge of women to become champions for change. WHEN is a trusted source of credible tools and information for women on today’s relevant and emerging environmental health topics. Since 1994, WHEN has been educating the general public, media and policy makers that environmental health is a key determinant of public health, and has promoted public action for the prevention of environmental health harms. Click here to find out how they can help you be Toxic Free.

 


Can’t get enough stories about fantastic women innovators? Check out our #womeninnovate hashtag for dozens more examples from past to present, famous to fledgling.

Muhammad Yunus Fireside Chat

Tonya speaking to Muhammad Yunus at CSI Annex

Speaking to a packed room CSI Annex, Muhammad Yunus – founder of Grameen Bank and father of modern social entrepreneurship – shared his insights on how business can change the world.

A fervent believer in business structures imbued with “selflessness,” Yunus spoke with our CEO Tonya Surman as part of our Fireside Chat series to educate and connect social entrepreneurs.

By the end of the chat, it was clear the crowd was inspired by his story.

Beyond overcoming rumours, hurdles, and challenges – something all entrepreneurs have to go through – Yunus touched on scaling a business model that isn’t inherently profit-driven and explained how he believes capitalism should fundamentally shift.

Sexism and Grameen’s founding story

The Grameen Bank had humble beginnings. So humble, in fact, that it was not even an organization; it was simply a problem that Yunus thought he had a solution to.

He noticed, while teaching at a university in Bangladesh, that women entrepreneurs had a difficult time getting capital. Seeing that their only access to funds were loan sharks charging high interest, Yunus simply started loaning out his own money as micro-loans.

Yunus explained that, even from the beginning of this impulse that would become a movement, he didn’t want to give women money as charity because then the money could only be used once. Instead, he “took the objective of charity but put a business engine behind it.” That way, he explained, the money “goes out, does its job, and comes back,” able to be used again.

With this model his money grew, as did the impact he was able to make. Grameen was born.

Many women were keen to make use of the micro-loans, but some of their husbands felt disrespected. Loan sharks also grew angry about their lost profits. Yunus explained that the two groups worked together to spread a rumour that Grameen was actually an army of Christian missionaries, giving money out to eventually seduce locals to convert to Christianity. They said that Yunus offered money only to women because they are more gullible than men and thus could be made to convert more easily. Further, they said that a true Muslim would not allow a woman out of the house and in the markets, as that’s against religious practice.

“When you do something new, you invite trouble for yourself,” he joked.

Instead of pushing back against his attackers with an ad campaign extolling the virtues of his operating model, or trying to convince women to go against their husbands’ wishes, he reminded the public of how a good Muslim must follow the footsteps of the Prophet. He explained that the Prophet took a job under a business woman that was older than him.

“So if you wanted to be a good Muslim, you had to take a job under an older businesswoman,” he said. “And if you can’t find a businesswoman in your village, we have a lot of them.”

Lawyers and other corporate types

“Everything the traditional banks do, we do the opposite,” explained Yunus. “We go to the poor, not the rich. We go to small villages, not business centres, And we have no lawyers.”

Sharing a story that applies to any renegade business founder, profit-seeking or not, Yunus explained that the current banking infrastructure around the world is like a “super tanker” made for deep oceans and large expeditions. They are big and have to work with a lot of money to be successful. However, they don’t get to the shallow waters, where folks with not a lot of money aggregate.

That’s where Grameen goes, and it works. Grameen’s expansion is also unique when compared to many businesses. Instead of looking for outside capital to fund development, Grameen sends someone into a local community to get acquainted with the town. Their first task is to walk around the whole village and identify the core people and communities. From there, the individual proposes a Grameen branch, but only if the locality commits enough of their own money to make it happen.

Grameen’s expansion, then, is entirely based on localized money. “With localized money, you can make as many branches as you want,” said Yunus.

After founding what became Grameen in 1976 and becoming a formal, legal bank in 1983, Grameen grew to successfully operate in most villages across Bangladesh. Many would stop there, call Grameen a social entrepreneurship success story, and move on.

However, Yunus’ model took on a life of its own.

Capitalism and global expansion

Inspiration struck a Norwegian government worker who’d seen Grameen in action; she brought the Grameen model to remote fishing villages in Norway. Something similar happened in France, where a woman created a network of micro-credit programs in small towns. Even in New York City, Grameen boasts nearly ten branches in multiple boroughs.

This expansion came once again not from outside investors, but from localized capital. The Grameen model is community-focused from day one, based on Yunus’ belief that capitalism is fundamentally flawed.

“Capitalism assumes all human beings are driven by self-interest,” he said. “So the whole world becomes a selfish world… and everything we do is for selfish reasons. As a result, all the wealth of the world concentrates into a few hands.”

Far from being an anarchist who hates business, Yunus evangelizes using business structures to solve problems, because they are more scalable and repeatable than charity. He feels that a system that only allows selfishness can never solve problems like systemic poverty.

“Poverty is not created by poor people – it’s created by the system that we practice,” he said. “We need to bring in social business, powered by selflessness. Social business does not contribution to wealth centralization. All the wealth remains with the business, not the person.”

To enable this around the world, Yunus recommends a laser-focus on self-sustainability, ensuring each operating unit covers its own costs.

“If you know how to get five people out of unemployment [in a self-sustainable way], you can get five million out because it’s the same system [repeated over again],” he said.

While the tone of focusing on solving problems is attractive to any entrepreneur, some might want to still focus on profit-seeking work with a social mission versus a profit-neutral social business.

Further, many very wealthy people are incredibly philanthropic – Yunus cited Bill Gates’ billionaires pledge to donate at least half of your wealth upon your death as a prime example. Being profit-seeking does not mean one doesn’t care about changing the world for the better.

To Yunus, the idea of being profit-seeking with a social mission is great, too. The system just needs to be tweaked a bit.

“Don’t take capitalism away,” he said. “Just give people the option to invest in social initiatives over only giving to charity.”

“There are traditionally two ways to solve problems: create a business or create a charity,” he continued. “The problem [with business] is that people take advantage of problems to make their own money. But when you solve a problem with charity, the money goes out and doesn’t come back – you only have one time use of the money.”

“Instead, I built a social business: a non-dividend company built to solve problems.”


Want to hear more? Check out the livestream of the entire conversation:

From fish grown in shipping containers to low-carbon fashion, an accelerator for climate change solutions

FISH GROWN IN SHIPPING CONTAINERS, LOW-CARBON FASHION, AND MORE
The Centre for Social Innovation holds a demo night for graduates of its accelerator program

(TORONTO) Last year, with the support of the Government of Ontario, the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) launched an accelerator program called Agents of Change: Climate Solutions. The selected startups are Ontario-based startups building the low-carbon economy of the future. Collectively over the year, they have had GHG reductions of nearly 10,000 TCO2e.

Some of the participants include: Ripple Farms, who build aquaponic systems in shipping containers that produce fish and vegetables; SWTCH, an app that makes residential electric vehicle chargers available to the public; and Peggy Sue Collection, who are building a Canadian-made, low-carbon and sustainable fashion brand.

Along with their fellow participants, these grads have been supported with business and impact model coaching, impact measurement, peer circles, advisors, workspace and membership at CSI. And on February 20th, Torontonians will get the chance to see the benefits of this support, as all graduates participate in a Demo Night to pitch for prizes and funding.

“We’re inviting potential investors, collaborators, and anyone concerned about climate change,” said Manager of Impact and Accelerators Barnabe Geis. “We want to give the public a chance to meet these entrepreneurs, to hear their pitches, and to get involved in supporting their growth.”

The Demo Night will also provide an opportunity for the next crew of climate change innovators to make themselves known. Applications have just opened for the 2018 cohort.

The accelerator is funded in part by proceeds from the Government of Ontario’s carbon market, as part of Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan. The action plan and carbon market work together to support innovative initiatives that provide residents and businesses with more choices to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and save money.

When: Tuesday , February 20, 2018 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM EST
Where: CSI Annex 720 Bathurst Street (Ground Floor)

For more information contact:
Barnabe Geis, Manager of Impact and Accelerators
barnabe@socialinnovation.ca


About Agents of Change
Agents of Change is our flagship accelerator, having supported over 175 enterprises working in community health, city building, climate solutions and other areas. Past cohorts of Agents of Change have seen impressive growth over a one-year period such as a 461% increase in revenues, and 214% increase in paid staff in Agents of Change: City Builders, and a 195% increase in revenues, and a 97% increase in the number of people impacted in Agents of Change: Community Health.

About the Centre for Social Innovation:
The Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) is a nonprofit social enterprise, a global pioneer in coworking, a community and catalyst for people and organizations that are changing the world, with four Toronto locations, one in New York City, and an affiliate space in London, ON. The CSI Community is home to over 1,000 nonprofits, charities and social ventures in Toronto that employ over 2,500 people and generate combined annual revenues of around $250 million. CSI members are turning social, environmental, economic and cultural challenges into opportunities to make the world a better place.

 

Tim Nash eats, sleeps, and breathes Good Investing

In July of 2008, Tim Nash moved to Toronto ready to take the investment world by storm.

He had just completed a Masters in sustainability in Sweden, after graduating with a BA in economics from Dalhousie University in Halifax. While on exchange in New Zealand during his undergrad, Nash was introduced to triple bottom-line economics, which focused on people and the planet and profit.

“For the first time I started to have a language for all of the problems I was having with all of the economic models I was being taught,” says Nash.

Nash had also witnessed extreme poverty during a recent trip to India and realized that the economic system wasn’t working for the vast majority of people, or the planet. In Sweden, he had worked with the man who (quite literally) wrote the book on sustainable investing, Bob Willard.

“Everything that I was learning was that there’s a business case for sustainability,” says Nash.

Nash’s arguments for sustainability are pretty solid: Sustainable companies use less energy, less water, and less materials. Their employees are more productive because care about the business and there is lower turnover. On the revenue end of things, customers are more loyal and willing to pay a premium.

Back in Toronto, his signature enthusiasm was put to the test.

“Three months later the markets crash, and they keep crashing, and it’s the worst crash since the great depression,” recalls Nash.

He moved back in with his parents in his hometown of London, Ontario. In January 2009 (after “banging his head against the wall for a few months”) Nash made a decision.

“Fuck it,” he thought. “I’m starting my own company.”

His first client was the “radical nuns” at the Catherine Donnelly Foundation, who he met with for tea on the fourth floor of CSI Spadina. The Foundation, whose top holding was previously Exxon Mobil, divested from fossil fuels.

With a glowing recommendation from the nuns to get him in the door, Nash’s plan was to go after big fish like foundations, pensions, and endowments.

“I thought that was my golden ticket, that of course foundations would be lined up around the block to hire me,” says Nash. “Meeting after meeting was no, no, not yet, sorry, no. They weren’t ready.” Nash was broke and had to accept that his business model wasn’t working.

Nash picked up a “side hustle” teaching intro to micro and macroeconomics at Sheridan College two days a week — and an early inheritance from his grandfather — helped him pay off his student loans and credit card debt. With the small amount of money he had left, Nash started thinking about how he would invest it. He was drawn towards the idea of DIY index investing.

“I looked at the companies that were inside these index funds and I was like ‘hell no’,” he says. The list included tobacco, military, tar sands, and pipelines. This didn’t mesh with Nash’s deeply held values. So he started researching socially responsible and green index funds, but it was difficult to find information about them online.

That’s when he launched his Sustainable Economist blog, and posted his first model portfolio, The Organic Couch Potato (riffing off of the popular the couch potato investing strategy).

Then he started getting emails from prospective clients. He says the majority of the messages were “I don’t really understand what you’re talking about but I want to invest my money in this way.”

Nash joined CSI in 2009 on the advice of a friend. The advantages were immediately obvious. Having the address 215 Spadina (with a space to have private meetings that included green roof with a view) gave him instant credibility. Being able to rent rooms for private meetings cut costs dramatically. But it was the sense of community that sold him.

“These were people were working on social and environment issues near and dear to my heart,” he says. His fellow hot deskers made him feel like he wasn’t alone. Seeing them survive and thrive inspired him.

“More than anything, it was someone to high five me when I landed a new client or a big contract … and a shoulder to cry on when I lost a big contract,” says Nash.

Nash received a CSI Catapult Loan to fund a new website for Good Investing, his new brand, which he launched in late October.

Good Investing is based on education and empowerment. Nash teaches his clients the basics of investing, learns about their values, and provides options that they can evaluate together. Clients can focus on gender diversity, renewable energy, or community bonds (for example).  Nash calls himself an investment coach, not a manager, advisor, or a broker.

On February 21, 2018 Nash is holding the third annual Good Investment Fair – which he calls “a farmers’ market for impact investments” – at the CSI Annex location. Attendees are given five million dollars in fake money to “invest” on site. Last year over 300 people attended the fair at the Annex location.

Nash describes himself as a big nerd, and proud of it.

“This is my life, this is what I do, I sort of eat sleep and breath it,” he says, eyes gleaming. “I love this shit.”

Do you also love this shit? Find out how you can become a CSI member today!

Accelerating your growth and impact in 2018

Agents of Change: Climate Solutions Program Timeline

To our esteemed members,

Happy new year!

I’m excited to share our plan and vision for acceleration programming. This plan reflects a lot of learning from this past year, and many very helpful conversations with members and others in and out of the sector. We want to thank members who participated in our focus groups, and who took the time to give us their feedback. So… thank you!

If you’re short on time, the takeaways are this: Through a new “101 to Social Entrepreneurship” course that will be offered throughout the year, monthly workshops (please fill out this short survey), and peer circles (please fill out this other short survey ;), we plan to better serve our members and to help build a more meaningfully inclusive social entrepreneurship and innovation movement. We will continue to elevate our work with our accelerator, Agents of Change, and to seek opportunities to grow this program, as well as continue to provide CSI HookupCatapult, and Soshent. You’ll also get to use a new tool, the Impact Dashboard, launching soon for members to track and visualize their social, environmental and financial impacts. The strategy we’re pursuing is all about “building a ramp” – providing supports all along the way as people move from idea to impact. The early stage supports will be easily accessible, and the further people move along the ramp, the more targeted and advanced the supports become. See the table below for an overview of where we’re at, and where we want to go!

Program

Description

Story to date

2018 goals

Hook Up Available on the intranet, connects members to experts in the CSI community 530 connections to experts and counting! Increase member use by 10%
Catapult Microloan fund of loans of $5,000-$25,000 $315,000 in loans, 0 defaults Provide $75,000 in new loans in 2018
Agents of Change One-year accelerator program providing business and impact measurement coaching, training, peer support, advisors, connections, free workspace, access to capital, and more. Last year we supported 55 startups in various acceleration programs (in all 176 enterprises have gone through CSI accelerators). Agents of Change specifically has supported 102 enterprises, including 30 in 2017. Cohorts in our recent Agents of Change programs have seen impressive results such as a 461% increase in revenues, and 214% increase in paid staff in Agents of Change: City Builders, and a 195% increase in revenues and a 97% increase in the number of people impacted in Agents of Change: Community Health. New Climate Solutions cohort with 20 new enterprises for year-long accelerator program launching in April.
Soshent Soshent.net connects social entrepreneurs & innovators to the programs, opportunities and funding they need to accelerate their success and amplify their impact. Since launching a few months ago we have registered 91 Partners and over 700 users, and have nearly 50 opportunities listed. So far, registered innovators have connected to opportunities nearly 600 times. We’re currently focused on growing our number of users, adding new opportunities, and exploring partnerships in other provinces.
Impact Dashboard The Impact Dashboard allows social enterprises to track and report on their social, environmental, and financial impact. The platform is currently in Beta and will soon be launched to the community. As of now, 90 organizations have been trained to use the platform as early adopters. Our goal for 2018 is to launch this tool to our CSI community and to the public!
Peer Circles Peer circles bring people together around shared learning opportunities and for support. There are currently 5 active peer circles in the community that we know of. Our goal is to become more intentional in supporting the formation and continuation of peer circles. We will soon be launching a pilot for a skills-based peer circle program, and will look into ways to support a handful of other member-led circles.
Workshops Workshops provide “just in time learning” learning opportunities to our members. We partnered to deliver over a dozen workshops and talks, reaching hundreds of people. Based on feedback from our members, we will partner on a dozen workshops throughout the year to complement other learning opportunities and support the needs of our members.
Education We will be launching a 101 to Social Entrepreneurship this year. N/A Our goal is to reach at least 30 enterprises during this year’s pilot.

If you have a few more minutes, here are some more details about all of that:

Training and Capacity Building

  • 101 Training Delivery: Some members shared their concerns that our acceleration work, namely Agents of Change, does not serve enough of our members, and we heard you! AoC plays an important role (see below), but we are going to be rolling out a 101 to Social Entrepreneurship course that will cover all the basics, and business coaches will also be available to hire at discounted rates for consultations. Why this is important: 1) It will help ensure our current early-stage members have access to the knowledge and templates they need to get their ideas off the ground, 2) By making the course low-cost to non-members we will make it accessible to those interested in social entrepreneurship. Combined with other supports such as our Catapult microloans, this will help remove some of the barriers to becoming a social entrepreneur or innovator, as we know this movement is only a movement if everyone can be a part it.

  • Workshops: We will partner with experts to provide workshops that are more advanced than the 101 training. Workshop dates will be in our events calendar and promoted to members. Please fill out this form to let us know which workshops you would be interested in attending.

  • Peer Circles: We will be looking to support a handful of peer circles, and we will soon be rolling out a pilot for a skills-based peer circle program. Would you be interested in leading or joining a peer circle, let us know!

Accelerators

This past year has been an amazing year for Agents of Change with many improvements to our methodology and Agents achieving many important milestones, growing revenues, reducing CO2 emissions, winning awards, securing significant funding, and being covered in the press. Applications for Agents of Change: Climate Solutions 2018 are open, and we have made some improvements to the methodology that will make it an even more effective program. AoC is about deepening our practice and investing in enterprises at the validation stage with the potential to create huge impact.

Ongoing Programs

We will continue to run Hookup and Catapult, to seek partnerships and funding opportunities for emerging programs, and you can expect to see several great events related to our impact and acceleration work, such as Impact Fest 2018 and events connected to AOC: Climate Solutions.

So in nutshell, that’s what we’ll be pursuing and evolving in early 2018. These efforts will help to complement the work of our awesome community animation team, such as their summits, lunch & learns, Salad Club, Innovator Drinks, etc.

So expect to hear more about all of this throughout the year, but if you want to discuss further, please reach out at any time.

To your impact!

Barnabe Geis
Manager of Impact & Accelerators
barnabe@socialinnovation.ca

Not yet a member of CSI? Join us!

The Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) is a nonprofit social enterprise, a global pioneer in coworking, a community and catalyst for people and organizations that are changing the world, with four Toronto locations, one in New York City, and an affiliate space in London, ON. The CSI Community is home to over 1,000 nonprofits, charities and social ventures in Toronto that employ over 2,500 people and generate combined annual revenues of around $250 million. CSI members are turning social, environmental, economic and cultural challenges into opportunities to make the world a better place.

Your story could shape federal policy

A great story can spread knowledge. It can connect people. It can change minds.

It can sometimes even shape legislation and policy. Like right now.

The Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy Co-Creation Steering Group and the Government of Canada are collecting stories right now that answer the following questions:

  1. Have you seen or done something new, innovative or creative in your community or workplace to address a social problem?
  2. Have you seen any improvements that you think are worth sharing?

If you are reading this (especially if you are one of our members) we know you have fantastic answers to both of those questions. If you take some time to share those answers, they could inform a national strategy to strengthen communities through social innovation and social finance.

More background here:

To better inform the development of the Strategy, the Steering Group has launched an online consultation to hear about new and innovative ideas in communities and regions across Canada.

We want to enable and support communities and organizations to advance new and innovative approaches to persistent social problems.

The overall goal is to improve the lives of the most vulnerable Canadians, and help our communities and regions thrive and flourish in an inclusive and sustainable way. This means helping all Canadians access good jobs and homes, healthy food and strong social connections.

Does that sound like work you or your organization or social enterprise are doing? Then submit a document, photo or video to share your ideas or success stories!

The consultation ends January 31.