The socio-political and economic conditions in North America have been undergoing a considerable shift over the last several decades. The end of the post-WWII golden age heralded the gradual erosion of the Keynesian welfare state social safety-net. As a result, state funding was withdrawn from social services and non-profit organizations were forced to fill the void with increasingly limited fiscal and human resources. In response to these pressures, social enterprises and non-profits have engaged in clustering models in an attempt to reduce costs while building capacity. The concept of co-location (clustering) has been a practice of the third sector for decades, however new social research has uncovered that the benefits of sharing space go far beyond simple economic considerations. Specifically, sharing space can “break down silos, reduce costs, increase opportunities for collaboration and cooperation, create knowledge and learning networks and spark social innovation”. These represent significant advantages that non-profits and social enterprises in Winnipeg could benefit from and it was exactly this reasoning that provided the impetus for the creation of the Social Enterprise Centre (SEC).
As part of Andi Sharma’s practicum placement at the SEC, she was tasked with uncovering how the mechanics of cluster theory could inform the practices of the tenants at the centre to realize the full potential of co-location.
Table of Contents
Winnipeg’s Inner City and the Role of Social Enterprise
The Social Enterprise Centre
The Theory: Clustering/Share Spaces/Co-location
– The Impacts of Sharing Space
– Manifesting Social Transformation
The Primary Research
– Katie Edwards, Non-Profit Centres Network
– Tracy Boyer, The Hub
– Tenant Surveys