July 18, 2022
Employment and Social Development Canada
Social purpose organizations (SPOs), such as social enterprises, non-profits, charities and co‑operatives, are at the forefront of tackling Canada’s persistent social challenges and climate crisis. They are key contributors to the Canadian economy. However, many SPOs need support to expand their capacity and secure new funding. That is why the Government of Canada is investing in them—to overcome these barriers, so that they can have a greater impact in communities across Canada.
Today, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Honourable Karina Gould, announced 26 partner organizations who will collectively deliver the $50 million renewed Investment Readiness Program, building on the successes accomplished during its pilot phase. These partners will work together to build the skills and capacity of SPOs to innovate and access flexible financing opportunities, strengthening the social innovation and social finance ecosystem and amplifying the reach of these organizations.
The Government selected these 26 organizations from two rounds of selection processes that took place in 2021–2022. The selected organizations have met all parameters set for their respective streams.
Four of the twenty-six organizations are readiness support partners. These organizations will select proposals and distribute funding to eligible SPOs across Canada. This enables SPOs to build capacity and get ready to access social finance opportunities. SPOs can use the funding to conduct market analyses, build business plans, develop new services and products and acquire technical expertise, thereby strengthening their operational capabilities.
Twenty-two organizations are ecosystem builders. Funding from this stream will be invested in projects that grow and strengthen Canada’s social innovation and social finance ecosystem and ensure its inclusivity of all Canadians. By growing the ecosystem, we are building stronger communities and the economy of tomorrow, founded on principles of social responsibility.
Through the selected organizations, the Investment Readiness Program aims to benefit diverse and underserved SPOs in Canada, including those led by or serving Indigenous peoples, Black Canadians and other racialized communities, women, official language minority communities, people living with disabilities, and other equity deserving groups. The Government of Canada recognizes the important work social purpose organizations do, and will continue working with them to help expand their reach and services to even more Canadians.
"Our Government sees great potential in growing social innovation in our communities. More Canadian organizations and businesses are offering smart solutions to reduce poverty, reach social equality and fight climate change. The Investment Readiness Program will help them scale up and become investment-ready, so that they can create impacts for Canadians for years to come."
– Karina Gould, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
“This renewed investment is welcome news, especially at this critical time. Social purpose organizations led by diverse women and Two-Spirit, trans and non-binary people are doing impactful work. They’re innovating to address major social and environmental concerns in Canada today, and these funds will help them keep moving forward. When the return on an investment is greater equity, well-being, justice, and economic prosperity for all, it’s always a smart investment to make.”
– Paulette Senior, President and CEO, Canadian Women’s Foundation
“The Chantier applauds the renewal of the Investment Readiness Program, an essential lever for the emergence and acceleration of numerous entrepreneurial projects that respond to needs in their communities, and bear witness to the commitment of actors that support these projects to work together to ensure its deployment in Quebec.”
– Béatrice Alain, Director General, Chantier de l’économie sociale
“Social purpose organizations from coast to coast to coast continue to uplift and support their communities following the pandemic. The Investment Readiness Program supports their purposeful ventures while growing Canada’s social finance market. At CFC, we are thrilled to once again be part of this program through this new funding opportunity. We look forward to working alongside community foundations to support the incredible efforts of social purpose organizations.”
– Andrea Dicks, President, Community Foundations of Canada (CFC)
“The NAFC is excited to continue its role as a readiness support partner for this iteration of the Investment Readiness Program. Having supported Friendship Centres in developing, starting and growing their social enterprises in the first years of the Investment Readiness Program, we are eager to continue this work as well as to expand the Program’s impact to other urban Indigenous social purpose organizations from coast to coast to coast. Urban Indigenous community organizations are leaders in the social economy, and we hope to facilitate the growth of these institutions and the collective intergenerational wealth of urban Indigenous communities.”
– Jocelyn Formsma, Executive Director, National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC)
- The Investment Readiness Program, a $50 million program over two years (2021–2023), is a core initiative under the Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy, which was announced in 2019.
- The Investment Readiness Program concluded a successful pilot program that took place between 2019 and 2021. The pilot benefited 680 social purpose organizations across Canada.
- Based on the success of the pilot, the Government of Canada renewed the Investment Readiness Program in Budget 2021.
- There are an estimated 170,000 charitable and public benefit non-profit organizations and 25,000 social enterprises across Canada, according to Statistics Canada. They are all part of the Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy ecosystem.
- The non-profit sector plays a significant role in supporting women, who represent about 77% of this sector’s workforce.
Interested in learning more? Connect with Sarah Leeson-Klym, Dir. of Regional & Strategic Initiatives (sleesonklym (at) ccednet-rcdec.ca) and watch the irp-ppi.ca site for updates coming soon.