Scadding Court Community Centre’s Business out of the Box Toolkit

Scadding Court Community Centre

Year: 2013

Business out of the Box is a scalable public-private partnership model for poverty alleviation that supports small business development and entrepreneurship. It provides local, low-income entrepreneurs affordable vending spaces in the form of repurposed shipping containers, and improves community access to goods and service options tailored to their needs. Evaluations of Business out of the Box have demonstrated its effectiveness as a model to effect positive social and economic changes in local communities.

In 2009, during one of Scadding Court Community Centre’s (SCCC) international programs in Ghana, SCCC staff witnessed innovative uses of shipping containers transformed into vending stalls and we thought – why can’t we do that? And in 2011 – we did. In response to community feedback, a desire for broadened local employment opportunities and an emerging redevelopment vision, SCCC created an outdoor market along the Centre’s Dundas Street frontage – Market 707. Attractive, colourful, salvaged shipping containers retrofitted by a company called Storstac now form the basis of a vibrant outdoor neighbourhood market that uses business and community economic development to animate the streetscape, link the surrounding neighbourhoods, generate jobs and revitalize underutilized city land.

Emerging out of Market 707 is Business out of the Box – a social enterprise model that creates affordable retail space in the form of shipping container markets. For low-income aspiring entrepreneurs, access to the capital and physical space necessary to start a business is out of reach. As a result, this population who would benefit most from the opportunity to start a business, is left with few options to get their great idea off the ground. However, with creativity and partnership, there are opportunities to create quick, affordable vending spaces and provide supports that will allow low-income entrepreneurs to flourish.

Shipping container markets have been seen elsewhere. However, Business out of the Box is a unique business model emerging from SCCC and our partners, which creates replicable, financially self-sustaining and affordable markets that are tailored to the needs of each community.

Business out of the Box aims to replicate what Market 707 started. This model seeks to transform underutilized spaces into vibrant local economies that break down the barriers to starting a business, create a physical space for community events and gatherings and build local pride.

Business out of the Box has the potential to achieve the following goals:

  1. Create a social, cultural, economic environment that is driven by the community and serves the needs of the community
  2. Provide small business development opportunities for community members

Download the toolkit

Table of Contents

Purpose of this Toolkit
About the Scadding Court Community Centre
Project Funders
About Business Out of the Box & Market 707
History of Market 707
About Business out of the Box
Why Bring Business Out of the Box to Your Community?
Strategic Context
Community-Based Management
Vision & Pre-Planning
Defining your vision
Community Asset Mapping
Feasibility Analysis
Market Analysis
Financing Options
Design & Installation
Site Selection
Site Plan and Zoning Approvals
Container Considerations
Set-Up & Ongoing Management
Management / Coordination
Marketing and Brand Development
Vendor Selection
Vendor Leases
Vendor Supports
     A: Communications Strategy Template
B: Press Release Template
C: Sample Business Plan Review Process
D: Sample Lease Agreement