Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) is identifying opportunities to support or lessen barriers to innovation and growth in the social enterprise sector. As part of this support, ISED has launched a Directory of Canadian Social Enterprises. The directory will serve to increase the visibility of social enterprises and provide procurement opportunities. The directory allows social enterprises to self-identify and promote the goods and service they provide. It allows corporations that have supplier diversity programs, government procurement officers, and companies looking to support social minded organizations to connect with social enterprises.
The directory is part of Canadian Company Capabilities (CCC) website. CCC is a free centralized, searchable database of some 50,000 Canadian companies. CCC is one of the more popular government websites with more than 5 million domestic and international visitors last year. Being listed in CCC means that companies will be seen by more potential buyers. Being listed in CCC can also improve the companies' rankings on Google and other search engines. The directory complements existing supplier diversity directories (Aboriginal businesses and women-owned businesses) on the site. The directory has just been launched, and ISED is working with partners in the community to promote the directory to get more social enterprises to register.
The directory defines social enterprise as an enterprise that seeks to achieve social, cultural or environmental aims through the sale of goods and services. The social enterprise can be for-profit or not-for-profit but the majority of net profits must be directed to a social objective with limited distribution to shareholders and owners.