Social Enterprises to benefit from $450,000 Fund through Waubetek

BIRCH ISLAND— Social enterprises are about to receive an investment of $450,000 to support First Nation businesses that focus on social and environmental well-being.

The money is being provided by the Social Enterprise Demonstration Fund, a $4 million fund that helps social entrepreneurs who are tackling Ontario’s pressing social and environmental issues as well as creating jobs. The fund leverages government contributions through private sector expertise and investments.

The Waubetek Business Development Corporation is one of 11 organizations in the province to receive support, and the only one which is part of the Community Futures Development Corporations, a network of economic development centres which serve rural communities throughout Canada. Funds will be invested directly into businesses and cooperatives with a social mandate.

“The very nature of a social enterprise is a business initiative that advances social, environmental or human justice agendas,” said Dawn Madahbee, general manager of the Waubetek Business Development Corporation. “They are generally businesses operated by non-profit entities that measure not just their financial results but their socio-economic impact on the community.”

The Waubetek Business Development Corporation serves 27 First Nations communities, primarily in Northeastern Ontario. Local social entrepreneurs will benefit with this access to capital in order to launch or grow their business.

“There is an incredible interest and need to foster the development of programs which benefit our social and environmental well-being,” Ms. Madahbee continued. “Interest in the fund has already been expressed from potential artist co-ops, fisheries co-ops and youth business co-ops. The future of our community is bright with a diversity of organizations. As much as we value traditional businesses, this funding will enable us to pay tribute to our heritage and culture by supporting social and environmental programs.”

Information sessions on the Social Enterprise Demonstration Fund will be announced in the next few weeks for those interested in learning more about this new initiative. Please check Waubetek’s website for more information.