It’s our pleasure to release our newest report, Connected and Ready: The Impact of the Manitoba Social Enterprise Strategy. This report is an impact analysis of the Manitoba Social Enterprise Strategy (MSES), a 3-year partnership between the Government of Manitoba and the Canadian CED Network – Manitoba which sought to develop and nurture an ecosystem that facilitates the strengthening and growth of social enterprises creating job and training opportunities for individuals facing barriers to employment.
Summary of Findings
The feedback from the stakeholders involved in the impact evaluation suggests that:
- Social Enterprise Manitoba as the project manager of the MSES played a critical “backbone” function much in the way that an industry association supports the work and members of any sector through information dissemination, professional development, bridge-building, advocacy and sector innovation.
- The MSES was seen as vital to “ecosystem development” in that significant preparatory work was needed in the sector to allow the true potential of the sector and its member organizations to emerge and be realized. This involved bringing diverse stakeholders together, developing a shared understanding and language, identifying barriers to implementation, defining new market opportunities and beginning to work on possible solutions to problems all while expanding capacity in both the supply-side and the demand-side of the sector. Based on feedback from stakeholders and the frequency of certain responses, this development work seemed to be following the typical AIDA path of creating awareness, interest, desire and then action. There was a strong sense that the MSES had accelerated awareness, interest and desire for further business development opportunities in the social enterprise sector, but that so much more was possible.
- Based on all feedback, the most significant impacts of the MSES were in the areas of:
- Formal and informal learning for organizations
- Networking between organizations and between stakeholder groups
- Awareness-raising and advocacy with the public and with decision-makers
- Supply chain engagement and market development for social purchasing
- Sector Readiness
Summary of Recommendations:
Based on a review of impact, activities, and a final community consultation, these recommendations begin to form the basis for a new phase of sector development.
#1: Sector development requires investment
The Province of Manitoba should tap into the potential and momentum built by the MSES by investing $200,000 per year for at least 5 years in a second phase of the MSES.
#2: Co-create with Social Enterprise Manitoba as a sector backbone
The proposed investment should be a partnership with Social Enterprise Manitoba, acting as a sector “backbone” to support work integration social enterprise through information dissemination, professional development opportunities, bridge-building, advocacy and sector innovation.
#3: Build a second phase of activities from what we learned
a. Organizational Development in business development, evaluation, accessing capital and financial management, scaling and replication of proven models/activities and marketing.
b. Market Development through Social Procurement:
- Social Enterprise Manitoba should continue to incubate a social procurement intermediary while also supporting the developing Buy Social Prairies1 model.
- The Province of Manitoba should develop and implement a social procurement strategy using co-creation principles.
c. Networking and Relationship Building
d. Investments in Strategic, Time-limited Opportunities
#4: Make sure a second MSES phase also considers unanswered questions
a. How the social enterprise model can best support problem solving in rural and northern Manitoba.
b. How to ensure social enterprise opportunities better serve women.
c. How to strengthen connections with Manitoba’s Indigenous communities.
d. What are the gaps in wrap-around supports, and what are the limitations of the WISE model?
e. How to offer a wider range of career options and open up untapped markets by developing new social enterprises in new industries.
f. How to capture the monetary and non-monetary outcomes and results of social enterpise.