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Social entrepreneurship 101: What is social entrepreneurship?

What do you do if you want to change the world, but you can’t even figure out what people are talking about? First of all, don’t feel bad. The social impact sector has a lot of terms that sound like they all mean the same thing, but it is important to make sure you are using the right one.

Once you have an understanding of the language, you are really able to level-up your impact. Using content from our Social Entrepreneurship 101 program, let’s get you the vocabulary you need.

WHAT IS SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP?
We like this definition from the Ashoka Foundation: Social entrepreneurs are individuals with innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social, cultural, and environmental challenges. They are ambitious and persistent — tackling major issues and offering new ideas for systems-level change. They create value, whether through a social sector organization or a business, that sustains and spreads their solution.

WHAT IS SOCIAL INNOVATION?
Here at CSI, this is the definition that resonates with us most: Social innovation refers to the creation, development, adoption, and integration of new and renewed concepts, systems, and practices that put people and planet first.

WHAT IS A SOCIAL ENTERPRISE?
One key element of all social enterprises is the fact that some percentage of revenue is directed to addressing a specific issue. The Government of Canada uses this definition: A social enterprise seeks to achieve social, cultural or environmental aims through the sale of goods and services. The social enterprise can be for-profit or not-for-profit but the majority of net profits must be directed to a social objective with limited distribution to shareholders and owners.

WHAT IS A B CORP?
A B Corp is a company that adheres to specific legal and ethical requirements, but does not direct part of its revenue towards making social change. The official definition is: Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.

WHAT IS NOT A SOCIAL ENTERPRISE?
A business that practices ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ – These days, virtually every large corporation has a department that works on corporate social responsibility. But this work sits apart from the core business lines, it does do not shape those business lines. These departments can do a lot of good, but they do not make the company a social enterprise.

A ‘good’ business – There are a whole lot of “good” businesses that operate in socially responsible and sustainable ways. Generally, businesses that do not make their money through addressing a social or environmental issue are not considered social enterprises no matter how ethically they operate.

A businesses where impact is a by-product, not a strategy – There are companies who deliver a good or service that improves the life of a group or an individual, but this does not make them a social enterprise. You might buy a book at a book store that changes your life, but that doesn’t make the book store a social enterprise.


Is it your dream to create a social enterprise? We can help! Learn more about our Social Entrepreneurship 101 program. It covers all aspects of social entrepreneurship, from making sure you’ve identified the right problem, to turning your solution into a sustainable business model.

#StayAtHome Activity: Listen to Literary Classics

Books and television have always proven to be wonderful escapes from reality. In quarantine, a couple of actors have brought the two worlds together.

Jennifer Ehle, who played Elizabeth Bennet on the 1995 BBC Pride and Prejudice series, has taken to YouTube to read snippets of the book.

If you’d like to read along with her, the first installment is here:

Similarly, Sir Patrick Stewart committed to reading one of Shakespeare’s sonnets a day as we continue to physically distance.

As he put it: “When I was a child in the 1940s, my mother would cut up slices of fruit for me (there wasn’t much) and as she put it in front of me she would say, ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away.’ How about, ‘A sonnet a day keeps the doctor away’?

Here is Sir Patrick’s most recent offering. It has a bonus cat in it!

 

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A post shared by Patrick Stewart (@sirpatstew) on

Well Sir Pat, sonnets and English literature won’t cure COVID-19. But they might cure boredom — and give us a brief but welcome distraction from what’s going on in the real world.

You can listen to Pride and Prejudice on Jennifer’s YouTube channel, and Shakespeare’s sonnets on Sir Patrick’s Instagram.


We might not be as eloquent as Austen and Shakespeare, but we’ve pulled together a pretty substantial volume of COVID-19 resources that you can find here!


Photo by Elaine Howlin on Unsplash.

#StayAtHome activity: Record a message for an isolated senior!

An older woman holding a phone up to her ear and smiling.

Being quarantined can be hugely isolating, which has demonstrable negative health impacts. Seniors are especially at risk for this, as well as being in a high-risk group for the COVID-19 virus itself.

As a means of keeping older Canadians engaged and connected during the COVID-19 crisis, a team of Canadian high schoolers created a hotline that plays pre-recorded messages of positivity. The Joy4All project offers regularly updated selection of jokes, stories, guided meditations, and educational messages for quarantined seniors across North America.

If you want to be part of it, click here to find out how you can submit written or audio content to share!

Self-care ideas in the time of COVID-19

Photo of red couch pillow and cup of hot chocolate looking out through a window to the road

Right now, we’re sailing through uncharted waters. There’s a shared sense of anxiety and uneasiness about the future. And physical distancing, while necessary, can amplify the loneliness we feel.

That’s why, right now, the priority shouldn’t be to spend all of your “newfound” time working, or learning a new skill, or picking up old hobbies. As we navigate through these stormy seas, what’s most important is putting your physical and mental health first.

Here are some self-care ideas and online mental health resources to help get you through the next little bit!

Connect from afar

Friends and family are, quite literally, one phone call away. Our screens are connecting us to the people we can’t see in person.

This could mean calling up an old university roommate for a virtual coworking session. This could mean watching a TV show or movie with a good friend using Kosmi or Netflix Party. This could mean joining one of CSI’s virtual rituals and chatting about the mundane with some familiar faces.

Make time to relax

Take a moment to ground yourself, calm your breathing, and clear your mind. Light a scented candle, take a long hot shower, or bask in the afternoon sun.

Headspace is offering a free selection of meditation, sleep, and other resources to help guide you through this!

Get some fresh air

Breathing in fresh air and absorbing the sun can do wonders for your mood. This can be as simple as watching the sunset or doing some reading on your balcony or front porch!

When you feel ready to stretch your legs, take a stroll around the neighbourhood. (Don’t forget to smile at other wayfarers you pass by — from a safe distance apart!)

Channel energy into a good workout

Lots of gyms, yoga, and dance studios are offering virtual classes to help pass the time while we stay inside. Some instructors and choreographers are also teaching classes online, so check their Instagram or YouTube pages to see what they’re up to!

CSI member Catherine Chan launched FitIn Live. A $10 day pass gives you access to a full day of livestreamed fitness and mental health classes run by local instructors!

Find solace in art and photography

Art is a wonderful way to express emotions! You could have your own paint night by following along a Bob Ross video, or spend an afternoon colouring in images based on the collections of over a hundred libraries, archives, and cultural institutions.

Peer-to-peer mental health support

CSI Regent Park member Big White Wall is an online community where users can support each other. They also offer self-guided courses, self-assessments, and creative tools to help you express how you’re feeling. Trained practitioners are available 24/7 and each user is protected by anonymity, so they can feel safe sharing how they feel.

Big White Wall is free for all residents of Ontario aged 16 and older, thanks to funding from the Ontario Government and Ontario Telehealth Network.

Tools and coaching for mental wellness

BounceBack® is a free skill-building program for youth and adults delivered through online videos and phone calls with a coach. It is designed to help adults and youth 15+ manage low mood, mild to moderate depression and anxiety, stress or worry.

Self-care looks different for everyone! As long as it helps take your mind off of the world and brings you a bit of joy, it doesn’t matter what you choose to do.

#StayAtHome activity: Be part of a time capsule

This pandemic has inspired a lot of introspection. In a recent Globe and Mail essay, writer Alice Irene Whittaker asked How will my children remember this pandemic?

Her conclusion inspires a lot of hope:

“I hope they remember how to ask a neighbour, “How are you?” and really listen to the answer. I hope they remember the slow pace of a week where the to-do list on the kitchen counter was never filled in. I hope they remember reading more books and baking more cookies, and how many things there are to learn outside of school. I hope they remember spending more time outside and how nature was our greatest solace.”

The Department of Imaginary Affairs wants to do more than just wonder about how we’ll look back on this time. The Toronto-based story collectors want us all to help them document it, as part of their new project Life in the time of COVID-19: A Time Capsule. They are inviting people from across the country to send along letters, stories, and, and artifacts from this moment, to be revealed to our future selves.

Participants are invited to write a letter to their future selves, to be read when the pandemic is over. If you like, they will email your letter (and any files you include) back to you, to make sure you don’t lose track of it. They offer an audio file to guide you through the exercise, or you can just read through the transcript if that suits you better. The instruction ends with this:

Paint a picture for your future self. Tell them where you are, what you’re thinking, how you’re feeling, what you’re doing, how you’re spending your days, and what you think is yet to come. That last piece, imagining the future, may feel tricky right now, when so much is uncertain. But what better time to imagine a new world than when so much of the current world is falling apart and falling away? 

It’s always a good idea to make sure that when you look back on your life, you’ll feel like you were on the right side of history. Maybe this pandemic can help you develop that habit. If you are able to carry it with you, it will go a long way towards helping you build the world you want.

 

CSI Supports: CERB application walk-through

IMPORTANT NOTE: The requirements for the Canada Emergency Response Benefits program have opened up.

You are now eligible if all the following apply to you:

  • You reside in Canada
  • You are at least 15 years old
  • You earn less $1000/month
  • You have not voluntarily quit your job
  • You have had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of your application. (Note: This $5000 does not have to have been earned in Canada

… and at least one of the following applies to you:

  • You have stopped working because of COVID-19
  • You were expecting a seasonal job, but it’s now gone
  • You’ve run out of EI since January 1

Additional note: If you are on EI, you will be automatically moved to CERB while it is available. Once the CERB program is closed, you will be moved back to regular EI.

As COVID-19 is increasing economic uncertainty and insecurity across the country, we want to make sure that everyone gets the support they need.

One of the programs that has been launched is the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (aka CERB). This taxable benefit would provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you determine that the CERB is the best fit for you, you’ll be able to apply this week. Here is a screen-by-screen breakdown of what that process looks like. (We are including the address bar in the images so you can check to make sure you are on the right page!)

Step one: Check out this chart to determine which day you should apply:

Step two: On your application date, go to CRA MyAccount. You should see the screen below. Choose from one of these two options to log in. If you use online banking, you can choose “Sign-in Partner Login / Register” and sign in the same way you would to your online banking. (For the purpose of this walk-through, we will be demonstrating sign-in via sign-in partner.)

Step three: When you click “Sign-in Partner Login / Register” you will get this pop-up. If it is your day to apply, click the “Sign-in Partner Login / Register” button again.

Step four: Click on the logo of your bank or credit union. If your bank or credit union isn’t on the list, you will have to navigate back to the login screen and login via CRA. If you do not have a CRA login, this video shows how to sign up for one.

Step five: You will be taken to your online banking sign-in screen, with a “Secure Key Concierge” logo in the top right corner. This is what that screen looks like for TD Canada Trust; all the interfaces are pretty similar.

Step six: After you have logged in via your online banking details, you will be taken to a screen that looks like this. There will be a light cyan box specifically about the CERB. Click the “Apply” button in that box.

Step seven: You will be taken to this screen, which breaks down the Eligibility for CERB. If you meet the criteria, click on “Select a period”. A drop-down menu will appear that says “March 15 to April 11, 2020” (that will be the only option).

Step eight: You will be taken to a screen to certify that you meet all of the criteria. You will need no documentation to prove your eligibility. (The $5000 you are required to have earned could have happened between either January 1 2019 to January 1 2020 or April 11 2019 to April 11 2020.)

Step nine: You will be taken to a screen to confirm that your banking information is correct. Make sure the money is being deposited into an account you have access to! If it is not, click “update direct deposit” and navigate through that process.

Step ten: That’s it! You’re done! You should get your $2000 deposit in three business days!

We hope this has been helpful; remember that you will have to do it again next month! If you use an online calendar or day planner, make a note to remind yourself to go through the process again the week of May 11. We will update this doc if any part of the process changes. If you are looking for other types of information or support right now, check out CSI Supports.

#StayAtHome activity: listen to inspiring food innovators on Marion Kane’s podcast

Self-isolation doesn’t have to be boring. To keep you inspired, we are passing along things that social innovators can read / do / listen to while we #StayAtHome.

For 18 years, CSI member Marion Kane was a food editor and columnist for The Toronto Star. Julia Child cooked breakfast for her. She had lunch with Sophia Loren. Nigella Lawson declared them to be “kitchen cousins” and Keith Richards signed her full-page tribute to shepherd’s pie (his favourite meal).

Sittin’ in the Kitchen®” is her podcast series about food; each episode features a 10 to 15 minute chat with a compelling person. Some are chefs, some are enthusiastic home cooks, and others are changing the world through food.

With more than 150 episodes in her archives, you’ve got hours of listening to look forward to. To get you started, here are eight episodes with food innovators we think CSI members will love:

  1. Joshna Maharaj Creates an Institutional Food Revolution: Joshna is driven by a passion for social change. She rejects the processed, dreary and bland food served in most institutions.
  2. Shawn Adler Taps into Native Roots at Pow Wow Café: Shawn’s father is Jewish; his mother is Ojibway. His restaurant features Indian tacos: fried bannock crowned with a selection of toppings.
  3. Olivia Chow at Home – A Message of Hope: Olivia and Marion share a wish for a Canadian national program offering nutritious food for all school children. Like her late husband Jack, she has a message of hope.
  4. From Patriarchy to Pâté, Restaurateur Jen Agg Tells All: Jen named her memoir “I Hear She’s a Real Bitch”. Hear her thoughts on being a successful woman in a food industry rife with sexism, misogyny and the bro culture.
  5. Street Nurse Cathy Crowe: A Fearless, Passionate Activist: Cathy has been on the front lines of Toronto’s housing emergency for decades. Her memoir recounts her lifelong commitment to social justice.
  6. Marlene Benedicto Is Tasting Toronto on Wheels: Marlene has been in a wheelchair since she was three years old. She writes a blog called ‘Tasting Toronto on Wheels’.
  7. Men Who Have Known Homelessness Cook Up a Taste of Home: Street nurse Roxanne Danielson and health promoter Kristen Ireland lead cooking workshops for men who are or have been homeless.
  8. Dynamic Chef Jagger Gordon Wages War on Wasted Food: Jagger has declared war on food waste. His non-profit Feed It Forward recycles food that would be wasted by the food industry.

Added bonus: If you are looking for cooking challenges right now, here are some of Marion’s favourite recipes. You can try them out while you listen!

CSI Supports: Six ways to stop the spread of COVID-19 misinformation

Stopping the spread of COVID-19 is the most important thing we are all doing right now. But also crucial at this time is not spreading inaccurate information about the virus.

From our social media feeds to our inboxes, we all have a lot of articles coming at us right now about this disease. It can be difficult to know what is worth taking seriously, what is worth ignoring, and what is worth passing on to others. Melissa Ryan — author of Hope Not Hate’s weekly newsletter — has put together good guidelines to help you sort that out.

Here are some highlights:

  1. You have probably been hearing the phrase “Flatten the curve” a lot. Well for simple, clear, actionable science about how you can do that, check out Flattenthecurve.com. (This is also a great link to send folks who won’t stay home!)
  2. Mike Caufield is working to improve civic discourse by developing web literacy skills. He offers a simple and effective method for how to gut check information you see online, specifically for COVID-19. You can see him apply this method to daily examples on his Twitter feed.
  3. Reporter Jane Lytvynenko tracks disinformation about world events in real-time both on her Twitter account and in articles she files.
  4. Journalist resource First Draft has built a searchable archive of COVID-19 debunks, and pulled together a great list of reliable sources from around the world.
  5. Journalism professor Jeff Jarvis has created this COVID Twitter list of 500 epidemiologists, virologists, physicians, researchers, NGOs, and selected specialist journalists.
  6. Pinterest has limited COVID-19 searches to only show results from internationally-recognized health organizations. So if you’re going to search social media for information, it turns out Pinterest is your most fact-checked option.

There are lots more gems in Melissa’s full blog post. It is something that is unquestionably worth checking out and sharing.

 

CSI Supports: How to get financial support during COVID-19

UPDATE: Applications for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit are now open! Click here to see our walk-through of what the application process looks like!

As COVID-19 is increasing economic uncertainty and insecurity across the country, we want to make sure that everyone gets the support they need. So we are sharing the most recent information we have about how to make this happen.

First and foremost, if you are eligible for Employment Insurance you should apply as soon as possible. You can get details about eligibility requirements here, and you can start an application here. (Before you begin, make sure you have all of these documents handy.)

For those who don’t qualify for EI, the Government of Canada has announced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. This taxable benefit would provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. (The CERB is a simpler and more accessible combination of the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit.)

Applications will begin in early April, and Canadians would begin to receive their CERB payments within 10 days of application.

You will be able to apply for these benefits starting in April 2020, in one of two ways:

  1. Via CRA MyAccount
  2. Via My Service Canada

To access these funds, you must have an account set up in one of those places; do this now. That way, money can be deposited straight to your account without delays in April. You should also make sure you have online banking already set up as you will need this for the registration of your account.

Additionally, the Government of Canada has shared a number of resources for small businesses during this time:

Also applicable to small businesses:

We will update this page as new information becomes available. Best of luck, everyone.

Black-led Businesses In Toronto and the importance of Supplier Diversity

2017 saw the publication of Black-led Businesses In Toronto: Building Opportunities for Growth and Prosperity. The study was conducted by the Black Business and Professionals Council Advisory Body of the City of Toronto and co-sponsored by the City of Toronto. For #ThrowbackThursday today, we’re going to pull out a section of this report from three years ago:

The Black Business and Professionals Council Advisory Body was created to review and make recommendations on how the City can improve its outreach to the Black small business community. To get started on this work, the BBPCAB conducted a survey of the Black business community.

Among respondents, 23% had done business with the City of Toronto. Most of these firms expressed positive experiences working with the City. While a proportion of those who have not engaged with the City in the past due to firms not operating in sectors that would have this opportunity (such as various forms of retail), many entrepreneurs claimed they never viewed the City as a potential client or that they were not informed about the possibility of doing business with the City.

When asked about methods to improve the working relationship between Black-led businesses and the City of Toronto, some individuals called for contracts designated for visible minority businesses or to establish a quota for awarding contracts to visible minorities in order to encourage greater diversity in the City’s procurement processes.

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Also in 2017, the Canadian Government released a report called The Business Case for Supplier Diversity in Canada, which found that diverse supply chains may help:

  • better represent a corporation’s diverse customer base, thereby increasing customer satisfaction and revenues;
  • better reflect the diverse backgrounds of employees, thereby increasing their job satisfaction and retention;
  • build more robust supply chains by identifying a wide range of qualified suppliers and reducing the risk associated with streamlined supplier pipelines;
  • open new markets (e.g., in the United States), which can lead to economic development for the corporation and the local economy.

The City of Toronto Social Procurement Program aims to create jobs and drive economic growth in the city. It is comprised of two components: Supply Chain Diversity and Workforce Development. In the City’s Social Procurement Program, Supply Chain Diversity applies to Departmental Purchase Orders from $3000 to $100,000.

A diverse supplier is a business that is at least 51% owned, managed and controlled by an equity-seeking community or social purpose enterprise. City staff who are purchasing goods and services between $3,000 and $100,000 are required to invite at least one certified diverse supplier to submit quotations as part of the three-quote process. A monthly list is produced and circulated among City divisions.

If you are a Black business owner in Toronto, find out how your business can become a Certified Diverse Supplier.

To find Canadian Black businesses to support, check out the By Blacks Online Business Directory.