Racialized People, Women, and Social Enterprises: Politicized Economic Solidarity in Toronto

Author +
Caroline Shenaz Hossein

Year: 2020


For social enterprise to matter to racialized people, it must be purposefully embedded in the community. This study examines three nonprofit organizations led by women engaged in community economic development work – Firgrove Learning and Innovation Community Centre, Warden Woods Community Centre, and Elspeth Heyworth Centre for Women – in Toronto, one of the largest cities in North America. This study explores the work of these anti-racist feminist leaders who lack the certainty of funding from federal sources, yet understand that the key to making ethical community economies is to advance politicized economic solidarity and not to legitimize the corporatization of the social economy. This research also draws on the ethical coordinates of J.K Gibson-Graham to provoke a radical shift in the accepted understanding of social innovation in the enterprising development sector.


  • Mainstream definitions of social enterprise exclude businesses led by marginalized peoples.
  • Three racialized women in Toronto lead social enterprises with ethics and politicized action.
  • These enterprises benefit their communities and fight racism in the capitalist economy.
  • The study makes visible racialized peoples’ social-enterprise economy.
  • Social enterprises must promote politicized economic solidarity and anti-racist feminism.


Dr. Caroline Shenaz Hossein is Associate Professor of Business & Society in the Department of Social Science, York University. She is Founder of Diverse Solidarity Economies (DiSE) Collective.