SUPPORT FOR YOUR WOMEN-LED SOCIAL ENTERPRISE
The Women of Ontario Social Enterprise Network (WOSEN) offers a suite of programs for women interested in starting or growing their own ventures that seek to have a positive social, cultural or environmental impact through their operations, and/or the sale of their products or services.
Although collectively the term ‘women’ is used throughout this page, WOSEN is dedicated to equity and inclusion, and seeks to support women-identified and gender non-binary entrepreneurs from underserved and underrepresented communities. This includes Indigenous women, women in rural or remote regions, racialized women, newcomer women, LGBTQ2+, women with disabilities, and those who identify as gender non-binary.
WOSEN works to unleash the entrepreneurial energy and capacity of women who have solutions that put people and the planet first. Together, we are redesigning how business supports are provided so these entrepreneurs can build the skills, make the connections, and receive the coaching needed to achieve their missions.
CSI is offering five initiatives within the WOSEN program:
Creating a resilient, sustainable social enterprise model involves community – not only those who support your business, but also those who support YOU, the entrepreneur. Through CSI Coaches, we offer one-on-one coaching to help you create long-lasting positive impact.
Whether you are looking to:
- Looking to develop and validate your business model;
- Establish your value proposition;
- Build a sustainable financial model;
- Create an engaging and effective marketing strategy;
- Fundraise or secure investment;
- Hone your pitch and narrative;
- Refine your leadership style;
- Pivot or adapt your organization as the impact of COVID-19 continues to develop;
or want support in starting or growing your venture, we can help!
CSI in partnership with Lean4Flourishing and WOSEN is offering social entrepreneurship coaching spots to 25 women identified & gender non-binary social entrepreneurs that are creating social and/or environmental impact.
Through this program, we will match you with an expert coach to support you in navigating the challenges of social entrepreneurship.
Applications are now closed.
Investment Readiness Sandbox
As an entrepreneur it can be hard work searching and preparing for the right grant, loan, or investment. You want to use your time well when looking for opportunities and being positioned to succeed.
The Women of Ontario Social Enterprise Network (WOSEN) is hosting the Investment Readiness Sandbox for women and gender non-binary people who lead established social ventures, who have a defined capital need, and who are preparing for funding or investment in the coming year.
Program Dates: January 2020 – June 2021, meeting once a month on the first Wednesday of the month.
The Start Program
Are you interested in exploring your purpose as a social entrepreneur?
Do you have an early-stage idea that will create positive social or environmental impact?
Join the Start program, a 9-week online program for women identified and gender non-binary aspiring entrepreneurs that covers the foundations of social entrepreneurship – from making sure you’ve identified the right problem, to developing a solution, to turning your idea into a sustainable business model. If you’re ready to roll up your sleeves, invest in your personal and professional growth, and turn your idea into impact, this is the right course for you!
PEER ENGAGEMENT SESSIONS
TOOLS AND RESOURCES
AND CSI COMMUNITY MEMBERSHIP
WHEN AND WHERE
Classes will run:
February 3rd, 2021 – March 31st, 2021
Wednesdays: 5:30 – 8:30pm ET
Online: Zoom Classroom and Slack workspace
WHAT YOU’LL LEARN
We’ve designed this program to foster a collaborative, supportive and inclusive virtual community for our cohort. Together, we will explore social entrepreneurship and various tools and resources to help refine your social enterprise idea, while gaining valuable skills that will give you the confidence to move your idea forward.
Throughout the 9-week program, you will:
- Explore your purpose as a social entrepreneur within a supportive online community
- Discover your problem space
- Map opportunities for impact & discover your key stakeholders
- Build your business model
- Identify funding options
By the end of the 9 weeks, you’ll gain experience, confidence and practice in core areas such as critical thinking, systems thinking, active listening, storytelling, decision making and business modelling.
In addition to the 9-week Start Program online curriculum, participants will also gain:
- Four one-to-one coaching sessions with an experienced social enterprise coach
- Access to online CSI Community perks: CSI Community Membership & invitations to additional online workshops
- Extra support through weekly (virtual) peer engagement sessions
- Access to valuable tools, guides and worksheets for your future use
WHO YOU’LL MEET
You will form deep connections with a diverse cohort of 15 women-identified and gender non-binary changemakers who are passionate, driven and committed to making a positive impact. In this program you will also have an opportunity to connect with a coach from our diverse community of social enterprise coaches, because we believe representation is important and highly valuable.
The Start Program was developed in partnership with the Women of Ontario Social Enterprise Network. WOSEN is dedicated to equity and inclusion, and seeks to support women-identified and gender non-binary social entrepreneurs including those from underrepresented and underserved communities.
Note: Start will be offered two more times throughout 2021-2022. Stay tuned for the next round of applications in March 2021.
Questions? For more information, please contact Mitalie Makhani, Senior Programs Manager & WOSEN Central Ontario Program Lead, at mitalie[at]socialinnovation[dot]ca.
The Grow Accelerator
Ready to take your social purpose business to the next level? This program is for you!
Grow is a three-month accelerator launching in 2021 designed to support women-led, validation-stage social enterprises. Participants will benefit from one-to-one coaching with experienced coaches, in-class learning opportunities, and workspace at the Centre for Social Innovation.
To qualify for Grow you will need to meet the following criteria:
- You are woman-identifying or gender non-binary
- 50% or more of your business is women-owned
- Your business or start-up is a for-profit or a nonprofit
- You have a social purpose business with some initial traction
- You are motivated and open to learning, feedback, and new ideas
- You want to be part of an outstanding community of women
- You are available to join daytime programming in Toronto held at CSI Annex (720 Bathurst Ave.) or online programming
Canadian citizenship is not required to participate.
Interested in Grow? Sign up to be notified when applications open!
Digital Transformation Program
Trying to transform your business digitally but don’t know where to start?
The Digital Transformation program is designed to support woman-identified and gender non-binary entrepreneurs in transforming their business digitally and learn more about social media marketing, search engine optimization, e-commerce and other digital marketing categories.
Step 1: Digital Onboarding & Group Orientation
This is an opportunity for you to introduce your business to fellow cohort members and digital marketing experts. The expert will then help unpack some digital marketing categories you may be wondering about, such as:
Social media: Strategic Planning, Creative Calendars, Paid Targeted Ads, Analytic Reporting, Community Interaction
Website & SEO: Logo design, website development, eCommerce, SEO
Google Ads: Google Adwords, Online Review, Generation, Social Media Marketing, Google My Business
Step 2: Individual Coaching
You will have individual sessions with an expert digging deep into your digital marketing category of choice. You will also have an Account Manager as a point of contact for support to ask any questions.
Step 3: Graduation
During the second half of the program, entrepreneurs will successfully complete a product on their own and will have an opportunity to share it with the wider group at graduation
Support for you every step of the way
More About WOSEN
The Women of Ontario Social Enterprise Network (WOSEN) is a collaborative led by Pillar Nonprofit Network alongside Centre for Social Innovation (CSI), SVX, NORDIK Institute and Lean 4 Flourishing. WOSEN proposes to broaden and diversify the entrepreneurial ecosystem supporting women through inclusive program design. This will support 150 new women-led social enterprises across Ontario and help grow 75 existing ones, as well as offer 10 women-centred innovation training sessions to 250 people in 12 communities. CSI, along with members of the WOSEN partnership are committed to moving forward a set of key design principles in our Start program & Grow accelerator.
Our programs are designed to be:
- Inclusive and accessible
Inclusion and Diversity
CSI is dedicated to equity and inclusion, and encourages participation of women entrepreneurs from underserved and underrepresented communities – including Indigenous and two-spirit women, trans women, women with disabilities, racialized women and newcomer women, and all other women-identified people experiencing systemic barriers to success.
Partners and Funders
WOSEN is funded in part by the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. The Government of Canada is advancing gender equality, women’s economic empowerment, and supporting women entrepreneurs through the new Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, announced in the Budget 2018. It is a $2-billion investment that seeks to double the number of women-owned businesses by 2025.
Fed Dev Ontario
Women of Ontario Social Enterprise Network
Part of the CSI Accelerates Initiative
At CSI, we support entrepreneurs’ success with resources, mentors, expertise and connections that lead to viable enterprising solutions. Learn more about our approach here.