Thriving or Surviving – Social Enterprises in the GTA

Social Enterprise Toronto (SET)

Year: 2014

Started in 2006, Social Enterprise Toronto (SET) is an expanding network of non-profit social purpose enterprises and practitioners. SET’s mission is to grow social enterprises in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). SET achieves this through operational and policy research, professional development, and shared marketing/communications opportunities. SET is also a leading voice in advocating for greater procurement opportunities for social enterprises.

SET’s strategic plan for 2013 included the development of research of interest to SET members and to address the knowledge gap that exists in the sector. The overarching objective of the 2013 SET Social Enterprise Research was to respond to these needs and carry out an investigation of key strategic issues that would help operating social enterprises in the GTA. Specifically, the study focused on several issues relating to and affecting growth. The findings of the study were based on in-depth interviews with 32 social enterprises, and focus on three distinct areas:

  • Marketing Practices and Needs
  • Food-based Social Enterprises
  • Start-up Stories

The study focused on social purpose enterprises within the GTA. Approximately 60 enterprises were invited to participate in the study. Thirty-two social enterprises were ultimately able to complete the surveys with the research team during the data collection period of the project. The enterprises were primarily located in Toronto, with a few based in Mississauga. While this project focused on non-profit social enterprises, two privately owned social enterprises were also interviewed.

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