Municipal Support of Social Enterprise - Innovative Local Governments

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25 November, 2014

Wondering what social enterprise really looks like? What it takes to succeed? What impacts social enterprises can have?

A small rural municipality and a small city board of education both see running a social enterprise as an effective strategy to fulfil part of their mandate. This session discussed the many ways social enterprise and local government can benefit each other. 


Jason Smith, Manager of Fusion Youth Activity and Technology Centre described how and why the municipality of Ingersoll decided to develop, own and run this social enterprise that has successfully engaged and trained local youth for over 10 years. Jump to full bio >>

Paul Finkelstein, shared the story of the Screaming Avocado Cafe, how it connects youth to local food and how it benefits the students, school, and community. Jump to full bio >>

Presenter Biographies

Jason Smith has been working with youth on both the front lines and at the management level since graduating from Fanshawe College in 2001.  Recently he completed his Municipal Administration Program through AMCTO with plans to complete his Chief Municipal Officer designation in 2015. 

Jason balances his time between his responsibilities of running a successful marketing company he founded in 2005, while working full time managing the Fusion Youth Centre since September 2006 with the Town of Ingersoll Parks and Recreation Department.

Jason brings over 14 years’ experience working in the private and public sector, as well as 6 years experience in the non-profit sector as anexecutive director of a youth organization. He brings his passion for community development, drive for success, and dedication to change to everything he does. Jason sits on several local and provincial boards including being the President of the Oxford Small Business Support Centre (CFDC), Chair of the Woodstock and Area Community Health Centre, and a member of the County of Oxford Sustainability Committee to name a few.     

His entrepreneurial spirit, experience, dedication and the incredibly talented staff team has helped move the Fusion Youth Centre concept into the international limelight it enjoys today. Jason enjoys spending time with his wife and three kids (6, 9 and 11yrs old), family vacation and camping.

Paul Finkelstein is a Stratford high school foods teacher, $4 chef, writer for Best Health Mag, and host of a show called Fink that was once on TV.  Paul is also a father of three who values family, freedom, and above all adventure and creativity in his kitchen classroom and the Screaming Avocado Canteen that feeds student prepared fare to the 200 customers that line up daily. The Screaming Avocado is supported by the 3000 square feet of the organic Seeds of Change garden in the school courtyard and a vibrant greenhouse run by students. Over the past few years Paul’s students have been on food travels to Japan, NYC, Italy, Cuba, and coast to coast to coast in Canada.

Paul is a graduate of Queen’s University and the Stratford Chef’s School and was recognized for his creative and energetic approach to teaching with both the Prime Ministers and Premier’s Awards for Teaching Excellence and The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. His motto is "Food As a Tool for Change."

Related Sessions

  • Session 1: Developing Multiple Enterprises - An Effective Growth Strategy, November 13
  • Session 2: Shared Space - for Co-workers, for Communities, November 18
  • Session 3: Municipal Support of Social Enterprises - Innovative Local Governments, November 25
  • - Ontario's community-driven showcase of social enterprise and the social economy

For more information, contact Paul Chamberlain at pchamberlain at

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