In an effort to support social innovation, the Province is investing upwards of $180,000 for research and curriculum development to increase training and employment opportunities through a labour market partnerships agreement with Enterprising Non-Profits.
During an 11-month period, ENPs will partner with eight leaders in social innovation and social enterprise in Prince George, Trail and Vancouver.
For the Comox Valley, government is encouraging social enterprises such as the Salvation Army and Comox Valley Transition Society to contact the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation.
“Basically it’s training organizations or groups to become more self-sufficient and less reliant on grants every year, every three years,” Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation Don McRae said in an interview. “It’s an opportunity to grow a social organization that does good in the community.”
Social enterprises — a form of social innovation — are businesses that invest profits in a social purpose. Some focus on training and work experience for people with multiple barriers.
The project will provide an evaluation of skills training and employment opportunities that social enterprises provide. It will also make recommendations to better deliver training and employment supports throughout the province.
Along with investing money in communities, McRae notes that social enterprise is also about leveraging job training to enable people to have better positions in society.
“Government needs to also act as a bit of a catalyst there and see what we can do with some of our policy levers and tax levers and program levers to encourage social enterprise,” McRae said.
Based on a 2011 survey, B.C. social enterprises provided services to nearly 700,000 people and generated at least $60 million in revenues.