Study tracks impact of social enterprises
Social enterprises contribute significantly to employment creation and economic generators, according to a new report co-authored by Simon Fraser University researcher Peter Hall, an associate professor in urban studies.
The report, Strength, Size, Scope: A Survey of Social Enterprises in Alberta and British Columbia profiles data from 140 of 295 social enterprises in both provinces gathered in the spring and summer of 2010.
Social enterprises are businesses operated by non-profit organizations for the dual purpose of generating income and creating social, environmental, and cultural value. Those participating in the study are engaged in a wide variety of social, cultural, environmental and revenue raising market activities.
Of the 4,500 employees involved in the study, 60 percent were members of a designated target group such as persons with a mental or physical handicap or a member of a marginalized population.
Businesses that responded to the survey engaged 6,780 full- and part-time volunteers and 27,870 people as members. These social enterprises were responsible for training 11,670 people and providing services to an additional 678,000 people.
The sale of goods and services in the market generated $78 million in revenue across the two provinces and an aggregate net profit of $7.9 million, in the 2009 financial year.
Like other nonprofit organizations, social enterprises solicit non-market funds from a variety of funders, including foundations, government and individual donors.
Hall and co-author Peter Elson, senior research associate at the Institute for Non-Profit Studies at Mount Royal University, hope that the survey will establish a template for similar surveys of social enterprises across Canada and provide a basis for tracking the progress of social enterprises in Alberta and B.C.
The research was funded by the B.C. – Alberta Social Economy Research Alliance (BALTA) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), in collaboration with Mount Royal University and SFU.
To download the full report: www.mtroyal.ca/nonprofit
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