Development is in our name.
CSED is excited to announce the launch of our first accelerator program! Ten Changemakers from the CSED Food Cluster have been selected to participate in a 12-week program that brings social enterprises together with mentors, thought leaders and business experts from the Ottawa community, and CSED staff to grow the financial and social impact of each business.
With funding from the OCE (Ontario Centres for Excellence), the six-module program aims to bring business related topics to the table and under the magnifying glass. Discussions will revolve around specific business tools, methods and perspectives including Business Modelling, Product/Service Design, Customer Journey, Branding, Financial Modelling, Social Impact and Storytelling, and Entrepreneurship and Intrapreneurship. A lab component is built into each workshop so the ten social enterprises participating will also have the chance to apply the methods and tools learned!
At the end of the program, we aim to help social enterprises validate their learning by introducing a “Reverse Purchasing Panel! The panel will act as both a sounding board and a test market and will be comprised of different types of purchasers - retail, wholesale, institutional and commercial. After Accelerator participants present their product/service to the Panel, they will have an opportunity to “interview” the panelists to gain insight around their respective purchasing processes, policies, and interest in social value buying.
FROM CLUSTER TO ACCELERATOR
In late 2015, through insights from a study of the social enterprise sector in Ottawa, CSED identified several areas of development for social enterprises. Looking at themes including industry type, social procurement/buying opportunities, and the potential for cluster development, we were able to identify the challenges and opportunities which we could address. With this valuable information in hand, we got to work and developed a cluster-based growth strategy.
Food sector clusters in other regions have pursued a number of collective activities such as joint tendering, co-promotion, acquisition of common resources, shared space, centralized purchasing and distribution, and cluster learning opportunities.
This collective approach was put to the test in July 2016 with the establishment of our first cluster! The Food Cluster currently comprises of 20+ social enterprises at various stages of development. Participants report high value from the learning, connecting and networking that has taken place. A second cluster focused on the 3R’s (recycling, repurposing, and remanufacturing) was launched in the fall of 2016.
SE ACCELERATOR CHANGEMAKERS
We are happy to welcome the ten social enterprises and their in-house entrepreneurs, who have been serving the Ottawa community, to the SE Accelerator. These impactful businesses include Eat More Soup!, Gourmet Xpress, Growing Futures, Krackers Katering, MarketMobile, RRCRC Greenhouse, St. Joe’s Supper Table, Spread the Joy, Tableworks, and Thirteen. Stay tuned for updates on the growth of these social enterprises!