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Cultivating social enterprise: The Collaborative for Innovative Social Enterprise Development
by Denise Deby
on March 04, 2013
Article Index
Cultivating social enterprise: The Collaborative for Innovative Social Enterprise Development
A sounding board
Support for creative thinking
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CISEDYou’ve got a great idea for a business that would help make the world a better place. Or you think your nonprofit could sell some services to bring in additional revenue. In other words, you might have a social enterprise in the making. But where do you start?


In Ottawa, you start with the Collaborative for Innovative Social Enterprise Development (CISED). CISED helps individuals and organizations at every stage of their social enterprise, linking them with advice, training, financing and technical resources.


A spectrum of supports for social entrepreneurs


CISED began in 2009 as a collaborative initiative among six agencies.1 Through a partnership with Enterprising Non-Profits (enp), CISED also offers a Build Your Social Enterprise Workshop for nonprofits, which are then eligible to apply for Mission Multiplier grants, a matching grant program that provides up to $5,000 to hire technical expertise in business development. CISED also hosts learning and networking events.


The first step for social entrepreneurs seeking assistance is often a conversation with Jonathan Wade, CISED’s social enterprise sector developer. Coaching is a significant part of CISED’s training and grant programs. That ongoing support is crucial for organizations that are enthusiastic about social enterprise but hampered by institutional, human resource, financial or legal constraints, says Wade.


A valued resource


One organization that’s made good use of the combined expertise, financing and coaching that CISED brings is the Canadian Centre for International Justice (CCIJ). CCIJ, a nonprofit, charitable organization, helps survivors of genocide, torture and other serious human rights violations seek justice.


Jayne Stoyles, CCIJ’s executive director, is well acquainted with social enterprise as an Ashoka Canada fellow. Still, she says, exploring social enterprise options “really required a different level of human and financial resources.” Stoyles sought advice from CISED, which guided her to apply for a Mission Multiplier grant that covered part of CCIJ’s market research costs. Wade helped Stoyles find a consultant, explore financing sources and identify advisors. “It was quite a range of services, really - excellent connections and feedback and ideas,” comments Stoyles.


CCIJ Training Workshop

CCIJ training workshop


As a result, CCIJ is creating an institute that will offer continuing professional development training to lawyers and others interested in international justice. It’s a social enterprise that supports CCIJ’s social mission and uses its expertise and networks. “All of the revenue will come into our charity to pay for the services that we’re providing to survivors of torture,” says Stoyles.


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