Ontario Centres of Excellence Expands Program for Social Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs / 15th September 2016

Ontario’s social entrepreneurs and enterprises are being actively encouraged to create jobs and attract investment while promoting positive social and environmental impacts through the new Ontario Social Impact Voucher (OSIV) program.

Launched by Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) in collaboration with Ontario’s Ministry of Economic Development and Growth (MEDG), the OSIV program will provide services and resources through the distribution of up to 200 Social Impact Vouchers with a value of up to $3,000 per voucher to social entrepreneurs and enterprises. The vouchers will be distributed through delivery organizations selected by OCE after an open call and assessment process.

OCE President & CEO Dr. Tom Corr says the success of the pilot bodes well for the future of the program.

“This program is all about partnering with government to give opportunities to promising social entrepreneurs and allowing them to literally take their ideas and transform them into experience which creates viable, scalable, socially conscious businesses here in Ontario.”

Interested social entrepreneurs and enterprises will apply for entrepreneurship skills training and knowledge-building opportunities via Access OCE, OCE’s online application system. OSIV program vouchers will flow directly to the delivery organizations and be redeemed by the selected social entrepreneurs and enterprises. Following the model established by the pilot program, social entrepreneurs and enterprises applying for a voucher must seek endorsement from a member of the ONE network such as a Regional Innovation Centre (RIC), Campus-Linked Accelerator (CLA), Small Business Enterprise Centre (SBEC), On-Campus Entrepreneurship Activities (OCEA), or an OCE Business Development Manager.

Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development and Growth, Brad Duguid, says the expansion of the program is a natural fit for both OCE and the province.

“Social enterprises contribute to Ontario’s economy and their growth is a key part of our government’s long-term economic plan. Through initiatives like the Ontario Social Impact Voucher program, we’re doing our best to create the right environment for social enterprises so that these profitable and positive businesses can generate jobs in our communities and contribute to a dynamic economic climate.”

Earlier this year, OCE invited organizations with expertise in social enterprise development to apply as service providers. The following were selected:

  • Schlegel Centre for Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation, Wilfrid Laurier University
  • 80-20 Growth Corporation
  • PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise
  • Centre for Social Innovation
  • Impact Hub Ottawa
  • MaRS Centre for Impact Investing (MCII)
  • The Conseil de la coopération de l’Ontario
  • Centre for Innovative Social Enterprise Development
  • Community Innovation Lab.

The deadline for social enterprises applying for vouchers is July 31, 2017.  OSIV is managed by OCE on behalf of MEDG.

More details on the Ontario Social Impact Voucher (OSIV) Program.

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