As public funds and philanthropy remain constrained, an increasing number of charities are looking to earned income activities and social enterprise to diversify and sustain their revenues. As they do so, it is important that they have access to relevant business development information. Unfortunately, much of the existing information is targeted to for-profit entities and fails to consider the unique operating context facing charities.
In response to this challenge, the Canada Business Network, a collaborative program among governments, regional development agencies, and nonprofits that promotes entrepreneurship and innovation, recently launched a dedicated page on its website highlighting both government and government-vetted resources that support social enterprises and charities’ earned income activities. The new page contains a wealth of information that is tailored to charities and nonprofits, including information on business plan development, regulations and taxation, and funding and financing.
The Canada Business Network’s recognition that charities can benefit from the same support as other types of businesses is a welcome gesture. It is also a great first step by government to improve access to federal business development resources and programs to charities and social enterprises more broadly, something that Imagine Canada has been advocating for over the last several years. The new Canada Business Network webpage, along with Imagine Canada’s Earned Income Framework and research report, contributes to a growing body of practical information available to charities and nonprofits on the topic of earned income and social enterprise.
Imagine Canada, along with representatives from Enterprising Nonprofits and the Social Enterprise Council of Canada, helped to ensure that the quality and relevance of the content would be useful to the sector. However, work to identify relevant resources is still ongoing and we would encourage you to provide your own feedback by using the mechanism at the bottom of the Canada Business Network page.
About the Author
Brittany Fritsch is the Manager of Public Policy and Community Engagement in Imagine Canada’s Ottawa office. She is a co-founding board member of JustChange, a microgranting organization whose mission it is to accelerate social and environmental innovation in the city of Ottawa. Brittany is also a Research Associate at the Carleton Centre for Community Innovation, where she writes about community economic development, social enterprise, and impact measurement, and a Connect the Sector Fellow with the Ontario Nonprofit Network. She holds a Master of Arts in Public Administration from Carleton University and a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Saskatchewan.