The Business of Inclusion Section 2 Participant Learning

The Toronto Enterprise Fund

Year: 2004

The Business of Inclusion is a series of reports documenting the findings from research on the developmental stage of the Toronto Enterprise Fund and the enterprises it supports. The twenty reports are organized into four sections: Background, Participant Learning, Learning about Enterprise Development, and Decision-Making and the Role of the Parent Organization.

This section is concerned with two central questions: “Who can benefit from involvement in social purpose enterprise development?” and “How do social purpose enterprises support the development of livelihoods effectively?”

The Toronto Enterprise Fund focussed considerable resources on documenting the changes in people’s lives that occurred as a result of their participation in social purpose enterprises or self-employment training. This Section presents the details of participant outcomes, drawn from the analysis and learning about livelihood development through the implementation of social purpose enterprises. The learning is based on extensive interviews with participants, on-site observation, interviews with social purpose enterprise staff and board members, and review of semi-annual enterprise reporting.
The purpose of this section is:

  • To describe the homeless and “at risk” populations with whom the Toronto Enterprise Fund has been working
  • To analyse the context that made participants vulnerable to homelessness, and the implications of this context for social purpose enterprise design
  • To identify the dynamics of livelihood development
  • To explore effective social purpose enterprise practice in designing and implementing programming to support the development of sustainable livelihoods
  • To document the changes in participants’ lives as a result of their participation in social purpose enterprises