Social Enterprise for Northern Ontario CoStarter for Change Offers Social Entrepreneurs Access to Capital and More

July 5, 2016

SENOFor over 20 years, PARO has been a launch pad for starting and growing businesses in Northern Ontario. PARO’s clientele are diverse: each program is tailored to the needs of women including Francophone women, youth, people with disabilities, low-income individuals and new Canadians. PARO has developed a complex but accessible infrastructure to bring together different organizations to leverage funds for Entrepreneurs in Northern Ontario.

Recently, PARO has partnered with a dynamic collaboration of purpose-driven agents of change (including the Thunder Bay CEDC, Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre, Sault St. Marie Innovation Centre, and Nordik Institute, along with various other contributing community partners and funders) to ignite motivation inspired by social development.

Social Enterprise Northern Ontario (SENO) is the result of pioneering innovation champions. By taking smart risks and turning challenges into opportunities for social growth, the SENO Committee’s CoStarter for Change revolutionizes multifaceted and diverse co-working models of business development. These models catalyze systems-changing social good through entrepreneurial activism.

Social Enterprise for Northern Ontario (SENO) CoStarter for Change supports the development of early-stage, high-growth social enterprises in Northern Ontario by offering social entrepreneurs access to capital, educational and support programs, workspace, and other services to help launch and grow their non-profit and for-profit ventures.

In 2013, Ontario launched the Social Enterprise Strategy. The Social Enterprise Demonstration Fund (SEDF) is one of the key commitments to that strategy, supporting 11 social finance projects throughout the province. $4 million contribution that has leveraged $6 million in private investment. Social Enterprise Northern Ontario (SENO), a collaboration led byPARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise is one on the successful social finance projects, receiving $250,000.00 for two years.

In clinging to a philosophy of social, economic and environmental Innovation, SENO inspires community drive through multidisciplinary approaches to learning, creating and EXCELerating in social entrepreneurship. SENO CoStarter for Change provides several routes of access to key facets of business development including:

  • SE training and business plan development
  • Mentorship
  • Cutting edge technology
  • One-on-one coaching
  • Advisory support from all partners
  • Workspace
  • Networking opportunities 

Program Overview

The social enterprise or social entrepreneur wishes to ignite social change through the creation of a for-profit or not-for-profit business. By developing a business idea rooted in addressing issues that matter to people and the planet, entrepreneurs develop these ideas into viable initiatives that sustain economic development and pioneer social innovation.

Eligible applicants must be a legal entity with the authority to enter into a legal agreement. In the case of partnerships of any type, eligible applicants must hold appropriate individual legal documentation for receiving and repaying funds.

It is imperative that successful applicants (at least one person, if the social enterprise is a partnership) must be available full time for 12 weeks to participate in the program after the application has been approved. Successful applicants are required to participate in the program to develop and operate their social enterprise. The program involves weekly workshops/training sessions, consistent communication with a mentor/advisor, participation in peer-to-peer events, and setting and meeting milestones for each social enterprise.

Please fill out the form below to demonstrate your intent to apply for SENO CoStarter for Change. Once we receive your form of intent, you will be contacted in order to continue your application process.

If you are interested in applying for the SENO CoStarter for Change program, please download the Application package, the Required criteria and milestones toolkit and the Self-assessment toolkit!

For more information about the program and application process, please contact Zach Falldien, Program Assistant, at 705-949-2301 ext. 4812 or falldien at