SUPPORT FOR YOUR WOMEN-LED SOCIAL ENTERPRISE
The Women of Ontario Social Enterprise Network (WOSEN) offers a suite of programs for women interested in starting or growing their own ventures that seek to have a positive social, cultural or environmental impact through their operations, and/or the sale of their products or services.
Although collectively the term ‘women’ is used throughout this page, WOSEN is dedicated to equity and inclusion, and seeks to support women-identified and gender non-binary entrepreneurs from underserved and underrepresented communities. This includes Indigenous women, women in rural or remote regions, racialized women, newcomer women, LGBTQ2+, women with disabilities, and those who identify as gender non-binary.
On This Page
WOSEN works to unleash the entrepreneurial energy and capacity of women who have solutions that put people and the planet first. Together, we are redesigning how business supports are provided so these entrepreneurs can build the skills, make the connections, and receive the coaching needed to achieve their missions.
CSI is offering four initiatives within the WOSEN program:
Creating a resilient, sustainable social enterprise model involves community – not only those who support your business, but also those who support YOU, the entrepreneur. Through CSI Coaches, we offer one-on-one coaching to help you create long-lasting positive impact.
Whether you are looking to:
- Looking to develop and validate your business model;
- Establish your value proposition;
- Build a sustainable financial model;
- Create an engaging and effective marketing strategy;
- Fundraise or secure investment;
- Hone your pitch and narrative;
- Refine your leadership style;
- Pivot or adapt your organization as the impact of COVID-19 continues to develop;
or want support in starting or growing your venture, we can help!
CSI in partnership with Lean4Flourishing and WOSEN is offering social entrepreneurship coaching spots to 25 women identified & gender non-binary social entrepreneurs that are creating social and/or environmental impact.
Through this program, we will match you with an expert coach to support you in navigating the challenges of social entrepreneurship.
Applications are now closed.
Investment Readiness Supports
As an entrepreneur it can be challenging to find and prepare for the right grant, loan, or investment opportunity. We are here to help.
The Women of Ontario Social Enterprise Network (WOSEN) is hosting Investment Readiness Supports for women and gender non-binary people who lead established social ventures, who have a defined capital need, and who are preparing for funding or investment in the coming year.
Meet us online: Zoom Classroom and on the Common Platform.
What You’ll Gain
As a participant, you’ll…
- Improve your venture story and presentation
- Get to know the funding landscape
- Map out a clear and actionable funding and capital plan
- Understand when a grant, a loan, or an investment is best for your venture
- Prepare for current funding opportunities matched to your needs
Participate in one 3-hour program orientation where you will begin to develop your funding and capital plan for your venture.
You then can choose to participate in the following offerings:
- Join a monthly workshop that dives deep into investment readiness with special guests and exercises that help you to develop a funding and capital plan
- Meet with us one-to-one to review your plan, or your funding submissions
- Participate in monthly peer circles where your peers share back valuable insights and peer support
- Our team will research funding opportunities matched to your needs
- Find funding and opportunity updates on The Common Platform
We aim to provide a tailored approach to meet the needs of your venture and industry.
The Start Program
Are you interested in exploring your purpose as a social entrepreneur?
Do you have an early-stage idea that will create positive social or environmental impact?
Join the Start program, a 9-week online program for women identified and gender non-binary aspiring entrepreneurs that covers the foundations of social entrepreneurship – from making sure you’ve identified the right problem, to developing a solution, to turning your idea into a sustainable business model. If you’re ready to roll up your sleeves, invest in your personal and professional growth, and turn your idea into impact, this is the right course for you!
Applications for the Spring 2021 Start cohort are now closed. Start will be offered one more time throughout 2021-2022. Sign up to get notified when the next round of applications open in August 2021.
PEER ENGAGEMENT SESSIONS
TOOLS AND RESOURCES
AND CSI COMMUNITY MEMBERSHIP
WHEN AND WHERE
There will be an onboarding session on Wednesday, April 28, 2021, then classes will run:
May 5, 2021 to June 30, 2021
Wednesdays: 5:30 – 8:30 PM ET
Online: Zoom Classroom and Slack workspace
WHAT YOU’LL LEARN
We’ve designed this program to foster a collaborative, supportive and inclusive virtual community for our cohort. Together, we will explore social entrepreneurship and various tools and resources to help refine your social enterprise idea, while gaining valuable skills that will give you the confidence to move your idea forward.
Throughout the 9-week program, you will:
- Explore your purpose as a social entrepreneur within a supportive online community
- Discover your problem space
- Map opportunities for impact & discover your key stakeholders
- Build your business model
- Identify funding options
By the end of the 9 weeks, you’ll gain experience, confidence and practice in core areas such as critical thinking, systems thinking, active listening, storytelling, decision making and business modelling.
In addition to the 9-week Start Program online curriculum, participants will also gain:
- Four one-to-one coaching sessions with an experienced social enterprise coach
- Access to online CSI Community perks: CSI Community Membership & invitations to additional online workshops
- Extra support through weekly (virtual) peer engagement sessions
- Access to valuable tools, guides and worksheets for your future use
WHO YOU’LL MEET
You will form deep connections with a diverse cohort of 15 women-identified and gender non-binary changemakers who are passionate, driven and committed to making a positive impact. In this program you will also have an opportunity to connect with a coach from our diverse community of social enterprise coaches, because we believe representation is important and highly valuable.
The Start Program was developed in partnership with the Women of Ontario Social Enterprise Network. WOSEN is dedicated to equity and inclusion, and seeks to support women-identified and gender non-binary social entrepreneurs including those from underrepresented and underserved communities.
Note: Start will be offered one more time throughout 2021-2022. Sign up to get notified when the next round of applications open in August 2021.
Questions? For more information, please contact Mitalie Makhani, Senior Programs Manager & WOSEN Central Ontario Program Lead, at mitalie[at]socialinnovation[dot]ca.
The Grow Accelerator
Ready to take your social purpose business to the next level? This program is for you!
Grow is a three-month accelerator launching in 2021 designed to support women-led, validation-stage social enterprises. Participants will benefit from one-to-one coaching with experienced coaches, in-class learning opportunities, and workspace at the Centre for Social Innovation.
To qualify for Grow you will need to meet the following criteria:
- You are woman-identifying or gender non-binary
- 50% or more of your business is women-owned
- Your business or start-up is a for-profit or a nonprofit
- You have a social purpose business with some initial traction
- You are motivated and open to learning, feedback, and new ideas
- You want to be part of an outstanding community of women
- You are available to join daytime programming in Toronto held at CSI Annex (720 Bathurst Ave.) or online programming
Canadian citizenship is not required to participate.
Interested in Grow? Sign up to be notified when applications open!
Support for you every step of the way
More About WOSEN
The Women of Ontario Social Enterprise Network (WOSEN) is a collaborative led by Pillar Nonprofit Network alongside Centre for Social Innovation (CSI), SVX, NORDIK Institute and Lean 4 Flourishing. WOSEN proposes to broaden and diversify the entrepreneurial ecosystem supporting women through inclusive program design. This will support 150 new women-led social enterprises across Ontario and help grow 75 existing ones, as well as offer 10 women-centred innovation training sessions to 250 people in 12 communities. CSI, along with members of the WOSEN partnership are committed to moving forward a set of key design principles in our Start program & Grow accelerator.
Our programs are designed to be:
- Inclusive and accessible
Inclusion and Diversity
CSI is dedicated to equity and inclusion, and encourages participation of women entrepreneurs from underserved and underrepresented communities – including Indigenous and two-spirit women, trans women, women with disabilities, racialized women and newcomer women, and all other women-identified people experiencing systemic barriers to success.
Partners and Funders
WOSEN is funded in part by the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. The Government of Canada is advancing gender equality, women’s economic empowerment, and supporting women entrepreneurs through the new Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, announced in the Budget 2018. It is a $2-billion investment that seeks to double the number of women-owned businesses by 2025.
Fed Dev Ontario
Women of Ontario Social Enterprise Network
Part of the CSI Accelerates Initiative
At CSI, we support entrepreneurs’ success with resources, mentors, expertise and connections that lead to viable enterprising solutions. Learn more about our approach here.