The Government of New Brunswick has made a commitment of $300,000 to help develop a “social enterprise hub” in Saint John’s Waterloo Village neighbourhood. CCEDNet member, the Saint John Community Loan Fund, has been at the forefront of the project to set up this hub, which will house organizations committed to innovative approaches to poverty reduction. While more tenants are still being sought out, some of the expected occupants of the 15,000-square-foot building near Prince Edward Square, are the Saint John Learning Exchange, Vibrant Communities, and the Human Development Council. The hub is particularly oriented towards nonprofit organizations that support small business development, social entrepreneurs and skills training initiatives.
The idea behind co-location models is to not just reduce expenses for the organizations renting the space through cost sharing but to allow for greater exchange of knowledge and ideas. “You put the right people together, then all of a sudden new ideas are created, that are not only good for this neighbourhood and this community, but for scaling province-wide,” says Seth Asimakos in a recent article from CBC.
To better understand how co-location, or clustering, works check out this recent research report developed by the Social Enterprise Centre, a similar project developed in Winnipeg.
The Saint John Community Loan Fund (Loan Fund) has been taking investments to build its capital since 1999. It uses this invested capital to help individuals create income, build assets, and attain greater self-reliance through a variety of services. The Loan Fund promotes community investing. It recruits investments to build its loan pool and donations to safe-guard the loan pool against losses. It has never lost an investor’s money.