Embracing Social Enterprise

Social enterprises are strengthening communities, employing more than 3,000 Nova Scotians and generating $179 million in revenue, according to a recent survey of this emerging sector.

Hugh MacKay, MLA for Chester-St. Margaret’s, on behalf of Business Minister Geoff MacLellan, provided an update on social enterprise during a visit to the Dartmouth Adult Services Centre today, Feb. 26.

“Social enterprise is an exciting business model for socially minded entrepreneurs, especially youth, who want to earn profit, while making a difference in the world,” said Mr. MacKay, also the ministerial assistant for the Department of Business. “It is wonderful to see Nova Scotians, across the province, using social enterprise to start new organizations, create jobs and strengthen our communities.”

Dartmouth entrepreneur Sheena Russell is one of the many young people embracing social enterprise. Sheena is the co-founder of Made with Local, a local food company with products in Sobeys grocery stores across Nova Scotia. She is using three social enterprises to get her products to market, with most of the food packaging at the Dartmouth Adult Services Centre, a non-profit which runs four social enterprises that employ and enhance inclusion for Nova Scotians with intellectual disabilities.

“Using social enterprise to build a company feels good and it pays off,” said Ms. Russell. “By doing business this way, we are creating unique products that are nourishing and have social impact every day.”

“Social enterprise has the power to effect real change,” said Cathy Deagle Gammon, executive director of the Dartmouth Adult Services Centre and president of the Social Enterprise Network of Nova Scotia. “It enriches lives, strengthens communities, creates jobs and grows our economy.”

Government and the Social Enterprise Network of Nova Scotia are continuing to implement their joint strategies for advancing the social enterprise sector.

More than 250 social enterprises completed the 2017 survey. It demonstrates that the sector:
— generates about $179 million in revenue
— employs more than 3,000 people (full-time positions)
— strengthens communities, with eight in 10 social enterprises advancing their missions at the neighborhood/local level

Government’s Advancing Social Enterprise plan, launched in April, can be found at
https://novascotia.ca/business/about/ .

The Social Enterprise Network of Nova Scotia’s strategy is available at http://senns.ca/ .