Is your social venture investment ready?
How three EDGE members received Investment Readiness Program support to implement innovative solutions to social challenges
Before you seek funding for your non-profit or social enterprise, it’s valuable to show you have validated the idea, possibly with a smaller test project for example.
That’s why the Investment Readiness Program (IRP) exists — to help enable your social purpose organization to seek social finance funding in the future.
The IRP supports innovative, sustainable and inclusive approaches to pressing challenges in communities across Canada. The program is funded through a $50 million dollar investment by the Government of Canada.
Sheridan is part of a consortium of 6 Community Foundations in Brant, Halton and Peel administering IRP funding in this region. Eligible organizations receive between $10,000 and $100,000 in non-repayable capital to develop, design, measure and scale their social enterprises and prepare them for social finance funding.
In the first round of the program, 23 social purpose organizations in Brant, Halton and Peel regions received $715,550 in non-repayable capital.
EDGE Members Supported Through the Investment Readiness Program
More than 1300 applications were received across the country, with 17% selected for investment. Meet the EDGE ventures were selected:
Afro Caribbean Business Network
The Afro Caribbean Business Network (ACBN)supports entrepreneurs of African and Caribbean heritage by connecting them to experts, resources and funding opportunities. Over the past year, Founder Ryan O’Neil Knight and his team launched their first Business Grant Competition, received an Ontario Trillium Fund grant for a youth-led grassroots initiative (Entrepreneur Innovation Space for Black Youth) and launched the Empowered 4X Co-working Space. Detailing Knights, a social enterprise of ACBN which supports young entrepreneurs, has successfully set up its licensing program with sales made in Buffalo and Nova Scotia.
With the support of the IRP, ACBN plans to create the ACBN Creative Works Agency, a marketing agency that provides economic opportunities to self-employed Black men in the creative economy facing mental health challenges (who face significant barriers when participating in the labour market). For customers, ACBN Creative Works Agency aims to provide affordable services and inclusive marketing campaigns.
LinkMentalHealth connects people to mental health services regardless of what they can afford. Founder Radwan Al-Nachawati and his team’s vision is to make mental health support accessible to everyone. Through EDGE, LinkMentalHealth has benefitted from access to a centrally located co-working space, support in pitching practice to help them go on to win significant pitching competitions internationally and locally, mentorship supports and industry connections. To date, 1,500 people have accessed their mental health services through their platform providing access to over 100 therapists from diverse backgrounds.
With the support of the IRP, LinkMentalHealth aims to continue scaling their venture to expand their reach, and to support employers across Canada to deliver more accessible mental health supports to the workforce.
Diversity Trainers Plus
Diversity Trainers Plus works to reduce social inequalities by equipping organizations and jurisdictions with knowledge, strategies and tools to engage effectively and equitably with diverse populations. Founder Maureen Brown aims to build an understanding of how diversity impacts relationships, support inclusive change and educate others on how to leverage the benefits of diversity to enrich organizations and communities. Diversity Trainers Plus gives organizations the tools to sustain in-house diversity competence.
With the support of the IRP, Diversity Trainers Plus will continue to develop their scenario-based app prototype that managers use to identify non-inclusive behaviours in work and service environments.
Support for Your Application — Apply by October 9
EDGE supports social purpose organizations in Peel and Halton with mentoring, learning opportunities, support to access funding and a vibrant community of changemakers.
Charities, non-profits, co-ops and for-profit social enterprises are all legible for the IRP. Learn more through the Community Foundations of Canada website here.
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