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Social enterprise partnership will help Northern businesses grow

The Northern Region Social Enterprise Partnership will be a collaboration between organizations in Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay, and Timmins.
NORDIK operates out of Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie.

A new Northern Region Social Enterprise Partnership will assist social enterprises across Northern Ontario to grow.

NORDIK Institute, Algoma University’s community-based research institute, announced it has received $250,000 from the Ministry of Economic Development and Growth to lead the initiative.

The initiative is a collaboration of the Northwest Regional Innovation Centre in Thunder Bay, the Timmins Economic Development Corporation’s (TEDC) Business Enterprise Centre, YouLaunch with the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, and PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise in Thunder Bay.

“Through this project, we will demonstrate that social enterprises are a viable opportunity to expand the Northern economy,” NORDIK director Dr. Gayle Broad said in a release.

“Not only will it assist in overcoming challenges to launching and/or expanding social enterprises, but it will also address providing culturally appropriate services. Many communities and economic development services are looking for more resources to assist them in better serving social enterprises and entrepreneurs, and this program is designed to do that.”

Social enterprises engage citizens and spark change through developing innovative ideas and employment opportunities while meeting communities’ social, cultural and environmental needs.

Social enterprises differ from other small businesses in that they use the “triple bottom line” (people, planet, profit) to assess their success and their governance structure often reflects community and/or collective control. Examples are cooperatives or non-profit organizations.

“As a partner in the Northern Region Social Enterprise Partnership, we are excited to continue to help pave the way for social enterprises in Northern Ontario,” said Maggie Matear, director of community economic development of the TEDC, in the release.

“Through this regionally tailored approach, we are able to ensure the unique environment of Northern Ontario is adequately covered in scaling up and growing social enterprise.”

The Northern Region Social Enterprise Partnership project catchment area stretches throughout Northern Ontario from Parry Sound to the Manitoba border and all areas in between.

NORDIK’s goal is to build Northern Ontario’s capacity to conduct research that contributes to social, economic and environmental justice in rural, Indigenous and Northern communities and provides evidence for informed policy and decision-making.