The latest news, resources and events about social entrepreneurship in Northern Ontario from SEE Northern Region Partnership.
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[Vol. 4 Issue 20, December 2018]

Social Enterprise World Forum September 10-14, 2018 Scotland

Earlier this year I had the privilege of attending the Social Enterprise World Forum in Scotland.  It was the tenth anniversary of this event, first held in Scotland in 2008. Since then it has been held around the world.  This year there was a two-day Academic Symposium in Glasgow preceding the main event in Edinburgh.  I attended both.  The Academic Symposium had 100 delegates from around the world and the World Forum had 1200 attendees from almost every country on the planet!  The forum was an opportunity to network, share stories, learn, reflect on the last ten years of social enterprise development and look towards the future of this movement and its role in addressing the complex challenges we as a world collectively face.  
I was particularly interested in learning how other parts of the world utilize social enterprise in community economic development specifically in rural areas, similar to Northern Ontario. I was inspired and learned a lot but want to share three key takeaways.  In Scotland they actively invest in and support the commons and community ownership, including co-operatives. This is backed by both policy and capital from the Scottish Government and implemented by economic development organizations similar to our Community Futures Development Corporations. Check out the Highlands and Islands Enterprise webpage at  to read about some of the interesting work they have done in rural Scotland.
There is a growing interest in hybrid social enterprises and their contribution to social impact. We, as a society are facing social, political, and environmental upheaval. The list of issues that need to be addressed is long and the window of opportunity is diminishing. Making the impact is what is important and getting mired in precise definitions, entrepreneurial stages and legal forms can limit potential positive change. Hybrid social enterprises are ignoring traditional start up phases and definitions and making an impact. One example is private entrepreneurs starting social enterprises and then training the community to take them over. This model is gaining momentum particularly in rural areas around the globe.
And lastly, for your 2019 reading list I encourage everyone to read Kate Raworth’s Doughnut Economics. This book was widely cited during the Academic Symposium and it presents an alternative economic model that would allow all of us, (other species and ecosystems included), sharing this beautiful planet to thrive while living within the carrying capacity of the earth. 
I encourage anyone with an interest in social entrepreneurship to attend the Social Enterprise World Forum. You will come away inspired.  The forum will be in Ethiopia in 2019 but rumour has it that it could be coming to Canada in 2020!

The Fair Finance Fund

Small flock chicken coop? Incubator farm? Local pizza and brewery? Community cannery? Co-operative abattoir? All the dreams of new local food and farm social enterprises just got closer to reality.
The Fair Finance Fund (“Fund”) is a non-profit social finance fund dedicated to providing loans and mentorship services to local food and farm enterprises that value strong local food systems, local economies, and a healthy planet. The Fair Finance Fund builds on seed capital to implement an ongoing investment opportunity for community-minded investors, that is, individuals who want to invest their capital to build local food systems in Ontario to support food that is grown, raised and processed in their own backyards.
The Fair Finance Fund:

  • Strengthens and expands regional local food systems across Ontario
  • Creates equitable access to capital for social enterprises in Ontario’s food system
  • Supports food and farm enterprises offering social, environmental and community benefits
  • Improves rural economies through job creation and circulating money in local communities
  • Provides a vehicle for people to invest in their beliefs
Loan program
The target group for the fund is regionally owned food and farm enterprises with social purpose focused on local production and local markets. Local food stores, markets, new farmers, co-ops, community-scale processors and other agri-food based social enterprises consistently identify lack of access to capital as a key barrier to their development and growth. Applicants will be assessed on their business plan, previous track record, and ability to cite social and environmental benefits that result from their operations. The loans range from $10,000 (short term loan) to $100,000.
The terms are as follows:
  • Standard interest rate of 6%
  • Five and ten year terms
  • No security requirement on smaller loans; may be considered on larger loans depending on application
  • Flexibility in terms (option for grace period, for instance)
The Fund will provide an average of 17 loans annually over the next ten years, reaching a cumulative total of ten million in financing for social enterprises in the local food and farm sector.
The next loan pre-application intake is mid-March 2019.

Investment program

The revolving loan program is supported by initial seed capital and program support from grants, and community bond offerings as follows:
  • Community bonds with a par value of $5000 at 2-3% variable interest rate for five or ten year terms. This offering is available to all investors (including non-accredited investors).
  • Community bonds with a par value of $50,000  for ten year terms at 2-3% variable interest rate. This offering is only available to accredited and institutional investors.
  • Interest calculated and paid annually.
  • Seed capital is in place as first loss capital for the Fund.
  • Commitments to invest will be accepted in year one for year two investments once the initial offering target is reached.

If you would like more information as either a potential loan applicant or investor please visit the Fair Finance Fund webpage: or contact the fund at

Save the Date: Social Enterprise Round Tables

Join us February 27th 2019 in Timmins for our Social Enterprise Roundtable. Learn about social enterprises, discover funding opportunities and create a strategy to develop a social enterprise.


  • Birch Bark Coffee and La Maison Verte share their successes and challenges during our Social Enterprises in the North Panel
  • Develop your Social Business Plan in a hands on workshop
  • Craft your pitch in the Communicating Your Value Workshop
  • Find out about available resources for social enterprises with Soshent Centre for Social Innovation, Pillar Nonprofit Network and the Common Good Solutions & Social Enterprise Institute

Keynote Speaker:

  • Barb Stegemann, CEO and Founder of The 7 Virtues

For more information contact Natasha Chalwell at or 705-360-2600 x 7082

Subsidies available for social enterprises.

Students receive 50% off. Contact Natasha for discount code.


Buy Social for the Holidays

Are you spreading the holiday cheer this year? The CCEDNET guide is designed to help extend the reach of that cheer through encouraging thoughtful buying and giving. CCEDNET compiled some creative gift ideas and shopping guides to provide you with the tools and information you need to have a CED-filled holiday season.

Holiday Social Gift Guide

Save the Date : Social Enterprise Round Table

Spotlight Series: The 7 Virtues

Illegal poppy crops make up 90% of the worlds Heroin supply, but a lot of the people who work on these farms just need work to support themselves and their families. Citizens of war-torn countries often have no other choice than to turn to illicit means of steady income.
Perfumes and peace are not usually two things that people put together, which is why The 7 Virtues is so unique. Barb Stegemann started her company back in 2009 and has had amazing success since then. After her best friend was injured in a mission in Afghanistan, Barb saw an opportunity to continue his work while he recovered. She did this by supporting legal crops for orange blossoms and rose essential oil, which frees the farmers and saves their daughters from becoming opium brides.

The idea of perfumes for peace was something that came to Barb after reading about a farmer in Afghanistan, Abdullah Arsala, who was growing legal orange blossom and rose crops to help farmers get off the illegal poppy crop. So she bought his essential oil and started from there.
No matter how noble the cause, Barb was still starting a brand new social enterprise and face some difficulties. « The banks would not give me a loan. I had a perfect credit rating, I owned my own house, but I did not fit the typical cookie cutter plan they had for loans. I had never made perfume and I was working with risky supply chains in their mind. Back then in 2009 when I was starting out we didn’t even know what the word social enterprise was. I just knew it was the right thing to do. So I did it anyway on my visa card. I broke even and paid it all off in less than 6 weeks. That felt good! » Barb had enough passion for her plan to make it work, no matter the hurdles she faced.
In the beginning, Barb didn’t have a large support system, but she did have a few very good friends that supported her. The media coverage of her business also helped it’s growth. The biggest support she got was the venture capital deal she landed on the Dragons Den and made her fellow Nova-Scotians proud. After the episode aired, her circle of support grew to be much bigger than when she started, with positive messages pouring into her inbox.

To future entrepreneurs, Barb suggests getting a mentor. « Find someone who inspires you, has a vast network and someone who believes in you. » After the Dragons Den episode, Barb had philanthropist W. Brett Wilson helping her along the way and giving her the support she needed. «The world needs more social entrepreneurs. Go for it. Don’t let anything stop you from leaving a better footprint on this earth than you found. »
Before becoming the successful social entrepreneur that she is today, she was a flight attendant between university degrees at Dalhousie and the University of Kings College. This position gave her access to conversations with powerful business people on the plane. Eventually, she went on to become a business advisor for start-up companies in BC. With her experience, Barb had a tight business plan to go along with her strong vision and willingness to take action.

You can check out her products at and find her vegan, paraben free, phthalate free and animal cruelty free perfumes. You can also take a look at her book The 7 Virtues of a Philosopher Queen, or the documentary Perfume War in which she is a feature subject.
Thank you to our Partners and Funders!
Copyright © 2018, NORDIK Institute, All rights reserved.

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NORDIK Institute - [SEE] Social Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Northern Region Partnership · 1520 Queen Street East, Sault Ste. Marie, ON, Canada · Sault Ste. Marie, ON P6A 2G4 · Canada

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