Social Enterprises that Promote Employment Skills – Webinar Series Recording


The Counselling Foundation of Canada and Enterprising Non-Profits (enp) are pleased to host a FREE webinar series for organizations interested in learning more about social enterprises that promote employment skills. This three-part series will run on three Wednesdays in July. It will provide an introduction to social enterprise with a focus on those that promote employment training and employment opportunities, an exploration of three case studies of successful employment training social enterprises from across Canada, and the support that exists for organizations seeking to explore how they could potentially launch a social enterprise, including Innoweave and enp services.

Additionally, Innoweave will host a standalone introduction to social enterprise webinar on September 13. Please see below for further information.



Session #1: Wednesday, July 17 from 12PM to 1PM ET
Introduction to Social Enterprise featuring Employment Training Program models

Social enterprise is an emerging tool for non-profit and charitable organizations to enhance their service delivery and financial sustainability. They are businesses that blend both successful enterprise endeavours and social outcomes. Focusing on employment-based models this webinar session will be a good introduction to the concept, practice and process for social enterprise.

Specific questions that this webinar will answer:

  • What is social enterprise?
  • Why start a social enterprise?
  • What kind of business will support employment opportunities?
  • How do we measure success?
  • How do we start and who should be involved?


Presenter: David Lepage (Team Manager, Enterprising Non-Profits)

Here is a link to download the slides used during the webinar: To watch the video recording, follow this link:


Session #2: Wednesday, July 24 from 12PM to 1PM ET

Exploring different models: Three social enterprises that promote employment skills

Social enterprises offer a variety of employment models: training, transitional and permanent employment. The models cover a broad range of purpose and targeted populations: people with disabilities, immigrants, youth, people with multiple and complex barriers and others. They use many business models to achieve their goal.

Through interviews with managers of three programs, we will learn:

  • Different business models that can be used
  • The variety of employment models available
  • How to evaluate business types with employment objectives
  • Successes and failures to learn from
  • Key recommendations from practitioners

Facilitated by David Lepage (Team Manager, Enterprising Non-Profits)


Case Studies:

1) StreetSuds/BuandeRue, a program of Montreal’s St. James Drop-in Center, provides a laundry service for businesses and community organizations around Montreal. Beyond offering a professional and high-quality laundry service, StreetSuds/BuandeRue operates as a transitional employment program for formerly homeless individuals and individuals at-risk of homelessness who are looking to re-enter the workforce. The program provides job and life skill training opportunities to numerous individuals per year transitioning from a life of welfare dependency and instability to self-sustainability and autonomy.
Alain Spitzer (Executive Director, St. James Drop-in Center) and Alyshia Wagstaff (Program Coordinator, StreetSuds/BuandeRue)

2) Furniture Link, a program of Furniture Bank in Toronto, is one of the largest social purpose enterprises in Canada. This program provides job and life skills training and/or employment to at-risk youth, individuals suffering from minor mental disabilities, the learning disabled, people receiving Ontario Disability Support Program benefits and other marginalized people with limited employment opportunities. Furniture Link is a creative initiative that promotes the involvement of participants and has proven to be successful in lifting people out of poverty and into reasonable hope for financial independence.
Suzanna Kislenko (Executive Director, Furniture Bank)

3) The Smokehouse Kitchen Project, offered by The Prince George Native Friendship Centre in British Columbia, is a six-month pre-employment/employment training program that offers cook “Level One Curriculum”. This curriculum is designed to set participants up with the relevant prerequisites to “ladder” into an entry-level position in the hospitality industry, pursue further culinary training, or continue on with a more streamlined academic focus (grade twelve/hospitality management). The Smokehouse Kitchen Project includes three distinct but interrelated components; culinary Arts, Baking & Pastry Arts and Theory.
Barb Ward-Burkitt (Executive Director, Prince George Native Friendship Centre)

Here is a link to download the slides used during the webinar: To watch the video recording, follow this link:


Session #3: Wednesday, July 31 from 12PM to 1PM ET
Resources and options to further explore social enterprise development

Developing a social enterprise includes engaging your organization in a process of building organizational readiness, enterprise selection, business planning, launch and operations. Accessing the right tools and resources along the development path is essential. David will review the enp and other related resources you can access along your journey. Aaron will describe how Innoweave helps community organizations develop and launch their social enterprise ideas through workshops and coaching grants.

This webinar will provide:

  • Key components of the social enterprise development path and what you need to know to proceed
  • Review the Canadian Social Enterprise Guide
  • Updates on Social Enterprise Canada / enp-Canada web based tools and resources
  • Information on Innoweave workshops and coaching grants
  • The network of resources across Canada

Presented by: David Lepage (Team Manager, Enterprising Non-Profits) and Aaron Good (Managing Director, SiG@McConnell)

Enterprising Non-Profits (enp) provides resources, technical assistance, workshops, and grants and is collaborating on creating an enabling environment for social enterprise across Canada. Enp began in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1997 with a pilot project led by Vancity Community Foundation in collaboration with the Vancouver Foundation and the United Way of the Lower Mainland. Over the past few years, additional enp programs have launched or are piloting in Alberta, Toronto, Ottawa and Nova Scotia.

Innoweave is an initiative of The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, in collaboration with Social Innovation Generation (SiG), thought leaders, academics, and partners from the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors. Innoweave’s objective is to help community sector leaders learn about, assess, and implement with new tools and processes to effect large-scale change. Innoweave currently has seven modules including social enterprise, social finance, cloud computing, developmental evaluation, collective impact and others. During the webinar, we will describe how an Innoweave Social Enterprise workshops can help your team explore and develop its social enterprise idea and how Innoweave can help you connect with a social enterprise coach and access grants for coaching,

Here is a link to download the slides used during the webinar: To watch the video recording, follow this link:

If you have questions regarding this webinar series, please contact Mario R. Gravelle at


Additional webinar opportunity: Friday, September 13 from 12PM to 1PM ET
Introduction to Social Enterprise (with a focus on social enterprises that further a range of societal goals)
This stand-alone webinar hosted by Innoweave and presented by Enterprising Non-Profits will provide an introduction to Social Enterprise featuring examples of social enterprises that support a range of outcomes (e.g. social inclusion, environmental sustainability, child development, employment and others). This webinar, or something similar such as the July 17 webinar above, is a requirement to participate in the Innoweave Social Enterprise workshop on developing your social enterprise idea.


Date of publication: July 2013


Publisher: The Counselling Foundation of Canada

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About catherine

Catherine Ducharme is a bilingual communications specialist based in Toronto. She has been the Content and Communications Co-ordinator for the Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling (CERIC) since April 2012 and administers, an online community for career development professionals in Canada. She is also the editor of Careering magazine, the curator for the CareerWise newsletter and she leads francophone outreach at CERIC. Prior to joining CERIC, Catherine worked abroad for nearly two years and worked as a project manager for Quebec’s sector council for the community sector (CSMO-ÉSAC). She is also a translator.

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