This page contains answers to commonly-asked questions about social enterprise and social entrepreneurship.

What is a social enterprise?

Social Enterprises have a mission to address social, environmental or cultural challenges by reinvesting profits above operational expenses back into their missions, and use a triple bottom line (people, planet, profit) to measure their success. Social Enterprises take many forms including, non-profits, co-operatives and sole proprietorships to name a few.

What is a social entrepreneur?

Social Entrepreneurs are Changemakers – those driven to develop innovative solutions to today’s most pressing social, environmental and economic issues by combining entrepreneurial skills with a passion for positive impact. Social entrepreneurs in the truest sense have had contact with a social injustice and are compelled to do something about it.

Why does Social Enterprise matter in Northern Ontario?

  • New approaches are needed to respond to community needs;
  • Opportunity to creatively address social/environmental/cultural issues in your community or on a larger scale;
  • Provides non-profit organizations an alternative way to generate funds;
  • Increasing interest of entrepreneurs in social/environmental/cultural returns and impact – become part of a movement;
  • Employ people in your community who typically face barriers to employment & empower;
  • Social Enterprises can be formed by people with little capital;
  • Profits are not removed from the community, rather they are reinvested in the overall mission of the organization;
  • Social Enterprises measure their success differently – although they must ‘balance their books’, they also measure the social return on investment, for example:
    • Number of people they employed/trained;
    • Quality of the employment;
    • Promotion of long-term sustainability and stewardship of the environment;
    • benefits extended to the local economy/local people/environment.

How do you define a ‘changemaker’?

Everyone is a changemaker! What that means is different to each one of us.

Changemaker is a term coined by the social entrepreneurship organization, Ashoka, meaning any person who aims to address a social/environmental/economic problem and strives to make change happen in innovative ways.

Where can I get advice on starting up a social enterprise?

Check out our resources page for helpful tools and a range of supports to get you started.

Discover upcoming events and workshops on our website to gain insights into the world of social enterprise, innovation and entrepreneurship.

We are here to help you with all your needs and questions. We can assist in a range of services, from sharing information and resources to connecting you with others doing similar work. Contact us today and we can set up a time to chat about how we can support your journey as a social entrepreneur.

How can I learn more/get involved with SEE?

To stay connected and informed, join the movement!

For more frequent updates, follow our Facebook page for news and alerts from the movement on a regular basis.

Here are some suggestions for how you may want to contribute to the SEE collaborative:

  • Mentor a social entrepreneur
  • Be a link
  • Host a workshop or webinar
  • Provide contacts/resources/investments
  • Provide business expertise
  • Spread the word!

If any or all of the above interests you, contact us to learn more!