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Partnerships, Flag Shops and a whole lot of thread with Melanie Conn

An interview with Melanie Conn, founding member and director of Common Thread and the Women’s Economic Council. Read the story of Common Thread from its beginnings to its collaboration with a local for-profit company, The Flag Shop. The interview and write-up were prepared by Joanna Flatt on behalf of the Social Purpuse Enterprise Network (SPEN) and the Canadian CED Network . 

Phase II of Social Economy Stories (2010)

Complimentary to the first phase, these stories are designed to provide practitioners’ perspectives on what the social economy means to them and their communities. In particular, the stories you find here seek to highlight the voices of Aboriginal, immigrant and women practitioners.

Social Enterprise: The Alternative Business Model with Karim Harji

Meet Karim Harji, Manager of Partnership Development at Social Capital Partners (SCP) in Toronto. SCP is a national non-profit that provides growth financing and strategic advice to successful businesses that demonstrate a social mission in their human resources model and are looking to expand career opportunities for disadvantaged populations. Karim is also co-founder of the dynamic website www.socialfinance.ca and a member of the Canadian Community Economic Development (CED) Network’s Emerging Leaders committee.

Building Relationships with Yvonne Chiu

Meet Yvonne Chiu, Co-Executive Director of the Multicultural Health Brokers Co-operative in Edmonton, Alberta. It is a workers’ co-op made up of immigrant community workers that support immigrants and refugees through health education, community development, and advocacy.The co-op offers various services to newcomers in many languages and at no cost.

Rural Collectivity: A Different Kind of Economic Model with David Bruce

David BruceMeet David Bruce, member of the Atlantic Node of the Canadian Social Economy Hub and Director of the Rural and Small Town Programme at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick. This program teaches individuals and organizations how to adapt to change and act on opportunities to develop sustainable rural communities and small towns. The program links research and action by generating and sharing knowledge, developing tools, and providing information and educational services, that lead to innovative approaches and solutions.

Expanding Cultural Horizons in Canada with Marichu Antonio (coming soon)

Marichu Antonio is the Executive Director of the Ethno-Cultural Council of Calgary (ECCC), a community-based organization comprised of more than twenty associations that makeup the collective voice of Calgary’s ethnically and culturally diverse communities.

Growing the Good Life one Potluck at a Time with Phil Ferraro (coming soon)

Phil Ferraro is the co-founder and co-director of the Institute for Bioregional Studies in Charlottetown, PEI. The Institute hosts “Social Forums,” in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. He recognizes this work as a contribution towards the Institute’s mission, ‘Restoring Community, Preserving the Land and Informing the Earth’s Stewards.’

Community Development through Aboriginal Inspired Theatre with Donna Heimbecker (coming soon)

Donna Heimbecker is the founding General Manager of the Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company (SNTC), an Aboriginal performing arts organization that utilizes theatre as a community development tool. SNTC provides a combination of community and professional arts programming that engages Aboriginal aspiring, emerging and established artists and that promotes positive images of Aboriginal people.

Making the Tent Bigger with Sue Rickards (coming soon)

Sue Rickards is an educator and community practitioner. She occasionally teaches a course called “Community Practitioners as Agents of Change” in the University of New Brunswick’s (NB) Adult Education program. She was a member of the Community Non-Profi t Task Force which presented a report to the Premier called “New Brunswick Blueprint for Action: Building a Foundation for Self-sufficiency.”

Taming the Economy with Louis Grenier (coming soon)

Louis Grenier is past Executive Director of the Conseil de la coopération de l’Ontario (CCO), an organization representing Francophone co-operatives across Ontario. The CCO’s mission is to help develop the Social Economy in Francophone communities by supporting co-operatives. It achieves this mission by helping co-operatives to work together, by promoting the interests of Francophone cooperatives and by supporting their development.

Against the Current: The Social Economy Movement in Peru with Magdalena Santa María Chimbor (coming soon)

Magdalena Santa María Chimbor is a civil society leader, a CED activist, and a prominent member of the women’s movement in Chiclayo, Peru. She is one of the founding members of the Solidarity Economy Initiatives Group (GIES), which opened its first national branch in Chiclayo in 1999.


About the Social Economy Stories Project

The Canadian Social Economy Hub, with funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, is co-led by the Canadian CED Network and the University of Victoria's BC Institute for Co-operative Studies, with several hundred research partners and projects throughout Canada.

The Social Economy Stories are designed to provide practitioners' perspectives on what the social economy means to them and their communities.

These stories capture the human face of the sector and demonstrate the social economy as a real movement that is addressing the social, economic and environmental challenges of today in integrative and innovative ways.