Like their counterparts across the country and around the globe, social enterprises in Atlantic Canada contribute to healthy and sustainable communities. They sell goods and services that may not otherwise be readily available in the community. They create employment, often for people who would be under- or unemployed without them. They help the environment by pursuing sustainable operating processes. They stimulate a rich arts and culture environment. And they contribute to the resiliency and sustainability of non-profit and other community organizations.
The Atlantic Council for Community and Social Enterprise (ACCSE) was founded to acknowledge, advocate for and support these important community organizations. It is a member driven, not-for-profit co-operative, made up of members from across the four Atlantic Provinces. ACCSE works on behalf of all organizations in Atlantic Canada who operate businesses that manage operations and direct surpluses in pursuit of social, environmental and cultural goals.
ACCSE’s purpose is threefold:
1. Make policy recommendations to government that support entrepreneurial solutions for a people-centred economy;
2. Create broad public awareness of the existing value of social enterprise in all communities in Atlantic Canada; and
3. Enhance management and financial capacity of social enterprises.
With this in mind, ACCSE is pleased to announce that it is bringing Enterprising Non-Profits (enp) to Nova Scotia, in partnership with the founders of the program in British Columbia, and with the financial support of the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education. enp-NS will provide training, resources, and technical assistance grants of up to $10,000 to non-profit organizations in Nova Scotia, to support the creation of new social enterprises or the growth of existing enterprises. While all nonprofits will be able to make use of the training and resources that will be provided, the technical assistance funding is limited and those seeking grants will be required to attend one of six, day-long enp orientation workshops that will be delivered throughout the province.
The first enp workshop was delivered in Halifax on February 24, with close to 30 participants from more than 15 organizations participating. The Minister for Labour and Advanced Education, Marilyn More, was on hand for this initial session and voiced her strong support for non-profits and social enterprise. All participants rated this session highly, and many indicated an interest in submitting an application for the first round of grants (with a submission deadline of May 24). Sessions in Sydney and Truro are schedule for March and April (see www.accse.ca for details). Sessions will be scheduled in other key centres in the fall for the second round of grants.
As part of enp-NS, ACCSE will also be providing training to financial institutions and technical assistance providers in Nova Scotia, to help prepare them to support their current and future non-profit social enterprise clients. And a social enterprise consultant institute, which will bring together non-profit and small business consultants, will be scheduled for the summer of 2012.
“We are very excited about the future of community and social enterprise in Nova Scotia, and enp-NS will play a vital role in providing the tools and resources necessary to fulfill that potential,” says David Upton, President of ACCSE.
For more information about ACCSE and enp-NS, please visit www.accse.ca.
Andy develops and sells professional development training for the Acadia Centre for Social and Business Entrepreneurship, is vice president of the Atlantic Council for Community and Social Enterprise, and has worked as an independent social enterprise consultant in Canada, the USA, and the UK since 1998. After several years abroad, Andy returned to his native Nova Scotia in 2010 to play an active role in vibrant local social enterprise sector. He calls the beautiful Annapolis Valley home.