PARO Centre For Women’s Enterprise – Measuring Social Impact

Paro Centre For Women’s Enterprise

Author +
Kelly Babcock

Year: 2007

Across Canada, community-based organizations are engaging in diverse economic development activities with the goal of building profitable businesses and healthy communities with strong social indicators. They are practicing Community Economic Development (CED), which is growing in importance in disadvantaged communities throughout Canada. The PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise, with headquarters in Thunder Bay, Ontario, is a part of this movement, providing micro-enterprise development training and support to women in the northern Ontario region. As this sector grows, so does the interest in evaluating the impacts of CED activities. The following report describes the findings of impact research on PARO, through the lens of an Expanded Value Added Statement. This report was conducted on behalf of the Community Economic Development Technical Assistance Program (CEDTAP), a funding partner of PARO.

Read PARO’s Measuring Social Impact report


The PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise is located in Thunder Bay, Ontario, and provides training and support to women around northern Ontario who are interested in starting a micro-enterprise, or improving on an existing small business. PARO’s primary
mandate is to assist women in achieving more economic independence through developing their own micro-enterprises. The Centre offers a series of programs designed for women who are at different stages in developing or implementing business ideas. PARO also offers financial leverage and mentorship through Peer Lending Circles, groups of four to seven women who support fellow Circle members in obtaining small loans for business purposes. The need for these kinds of services stems from the economic challenges facing northern Ontario: a high rate of unemployment amidst a struggling resource-based economy. In
addition to these challenges, women face a double burden of limited access to better-paying, traditionally ‘male’ jobs, while facing gender barriers in starting a business. It is this challenge that PARO is designed to address.

The Community Economic Development Technical Assistance Program (CEDTAP) is Canada’s largest non-profit granting agency in the field of CED. In addition to having made approximately 500 grants to CED organizations since 1997, CEDTAP promotes activities that enhance the legitimacy and effectiveness of community organizations engaged in CED. With this goal in mind, the impacts of CEDTAP’s partner organizations and projects are being examined through a limited series of case studies, of which this report forms a part. Together, these case studies provide an opportunity to contribute to the body of knowledge PARO: Measuring Social Impact 4 on CED policy and practice, and to assist with policy advocacy in the sector. PARO has received three CEDTAP grants since 2002.

Table Of Contents

Objectives of this study
Program theory
The Expanded Value Added Statement
Part 1: The calculation of ‘value added’ by PARO 
Part 2: Calculating the distribution of benefits to the stakeholders 
Recommendations for further Research
Recommendations for PARO
Appendix A
Creating the Expanded Value Added Statement 
Author’s Note