May 31, 2018 – Today sees the launch of an innovative new fund which breaks the mold of traditional community grant-making.
United Way CSO has joined forces with Interior Savings Credit Union and the social enterprise accelerator, Purppl, to create a Social Enterprise Accelerator Fund. The fund is designed to help charities build long-term sustainable revenue from a social enterprise – revenue which could fuel solutions to some tough community challenges.
Research from Okanagan College suggests that approximately half of charities in the Okanagan report access to long-term funding as their most significant challenge in achieving sustainability.
“Many charities are trapped in a perpetual cycle, chasing short-term grants and competing for donor dollars,” says Helen Jackman, Executive Director United Way CSO. “We want to try a new approach. The fund will invest in training and capacity building, giving community partners the opportunity to create reliable, ongoing sources of income to support their charitable goals.”
The Social Enterprise Accelerator Fund provides funding for 15 months of mentorship. Charity leaders will be matched with experienced Social Entrepreneurs. Using Purppl’s tried and tested tools, these new teams will work together to refine and scale social enterprises.
Purppl’s program is seeing the results of work with organizations like One Big Table – a cooperative grocery, café and catering company based in Kelowna – and Shoe Bank Canada – which provides no-cost shoes to people across Canada by selling excess shoes to a broker.
“We are excited to see this bold new approach from United Way and Interior Savings Credit Union,” says Purppl’s Andrew Greer. “ Long-term entrepreneurial mentorship can provide the right amount of structure, accountability, and support to enable social enterprises to succeed or fail faster, both are good outcomes.”
“We are proud to be part of this ground breaking new collaboration,” says Kathy Conway, President and CEO of Interior Savings Credit Union. “We love the idea that our investment will be the catalyst for some great new social businesses, and we want to hear from other like-minded funders who want to join our partnership.”
To apply, charities need a well-formed social enterprise idea or operating enterprise – one that, with the right support, could grow to deliver both economic and social outcomes. The deadline for applications is 29 June, and application information can be found on the United Way CSO’s website. Applicants will be invited to present their social enterprise to an experienced panel in Kelowna on 17 July. The successful applicants will be announced in September.
About United Way CSO:
For over 65 years, the United Way of the Central and South Okanagan/Similkameen has served the region from Lake Country in the North, to Osoyoos and Princeton in the South. Our mission is to improve lives and build community by engaging individuals and mobilizing collective action. The United Way invests in three focus areas that support all that kids can be, move people from poverty to possibility and builds strong communities. We also invest resources in local capacity building and community initiatives that support our mission. See www.unitedwaycso.com or call 1-855-232-1321.
About Interior Savings
Interior Savings is a member-owned, democratically-controlled credit union dedicated to creating local money while helping to build vibrant communities. The Credit Union offers personal and commercial banking and a full range of insurance and wealth management services to more than 70,000 members across 14 communities. In the last 15 years, Interior Savings has returned over $58 million to members through its Member Rewards Program and invested nearly $8 million in local community initiatives. See www.interiorsavings.com
Purppl is a social enterprise accelerator that provides structured mentorship, training, and tools to help implement and scale entrepreneurial revenue models. Purppl’s Social Enterprise Acceleration Program is for social entrepreneurs who need support to grow and scale sustainable business models to help solve tough community, social, and environmental challenges. Purppl is incorporated as a Community Contribution Company (CCC) which is BC’s unique incorporation model for social enterprises. See www.purppl.com