Alberta’s resilient communities highlighted in 2014 Alberta Social Enterprise Sector Survey

June 29, 2015

Alberta’s growing cities, rural communities share a common bond: an entrepreneurial mindset for social good

On June 17th Mount Royal University, Simon Fraser University and Trico Charitable Foundation released research that shows that communities across the province, in urban and rural environments, are active in and benefit from social enterprise. The Alberta-wide research marks the third installment of a survey seeking to better understand the profile and activities of social enterprises in Alberta. The timing of the research is complemented by the recent Alberta Speech from the Throne which articulates a need for both urban and rural community issues to be at the forefront of a new government mandate. The survey research shows a strong role for social enterprise across the province by enabling employment, generating volunteerism, and creating social capital for the development of healthy, resilient communities.

Social enterprises are business ventures owned or operated by a non-profit organization selling goods or providing services into the market for the purpose of creating a blended return on investment, both financial and social/environmental/cultural. The survey, based on over one hundred social enterprises across the province, examines how social enterprises in Alberta engage in their communities. In addition to the survey responses, Trico Foundation has helped advance the 2014 Alberta Social Enterprise Survey through the inclusion of interviews with key intermediaries around the province and questions to advance the field. The results uncover that many social enterprises are community-based, community-driven, and have strong social and cultural missions.

  • Social enterprises in Alberta revealed that they are most likely to operate at the scale of a neighbourhood or local community (60%), at a city or town scale (69%), and/or a regional district scale (51%).
  • Survey results suggest an individual may have multiple, intersecting connections within a social enterprise. These connections may be as a customer, but extend to engagement as a member, a recipient of training or services; as an employee and/or as a volunteer.
  • Results revealed that social enterprises exist for a number of different purposes with the most commonly cited responses as follows:
    • 64% of social enterprises operate to achieve a cultural mission.
    • 79% of social enterprises operate to achieve a social mission.
  • Responding social enterprises provide paid employment to at least 3,590 workers in the province, which includes full-time, part-time, seasonal and contract workers. In 2013, employees in the responding social enterprises earned at least $28 million in wages and salaries.
  • Total revenue in 2013 for the respondents who reported financial data was at least $57 million. This includes the sale of goods and services of $32 million, accounting for 56% of total revenue reported.

Download the Alberta Social Enterprise Sector Survey Report 2014

SOURCE: Trico Charitable Foundation