Social enterprises the focus of workshop at OC

SoFun workshop set for Thursday at Okanagan College

An upcoming workshop will equip those seeking real-world solutions to challenges in our communities with the essential business tools needed to set their social enterprise ideas in motion.

On Thursday, May 25 the Scotiabank Centre for Non-Profit Excellence at Okanagan College and Purppl, a community enterprise accelerator, will join forces to lead the SoFun workshop, teaching social enterprise fundamentals. The workshop will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Kelowna campus of Okanagan College in room E103.

“Communities are struggling under the weight of chronic, persistent challenges like social justice, food and water security, accessible transportation, and economic empowerment,” says Andrew Greer, founder of Purppl. “The organizations tasked with solving these issues are struggling with unpredictable funding models.

“Using a social enterprise model can add predictable, sustainable, entrepreneurial revenue into these organizations which can be used to implement long-term solutions to community challenges. The SoFun workshop uses global entrepreneurial best practices and tools to help social entrepreneurs.”

Participants will examine the case study of Mission Possible (an organization which helps those affected by homelessness find meaningful work) through the global-standard Business Model Canvas tool. The model applies lean thinking, which aims to shorten the process from startup to implementation, therefore increasing efficiency and impact of the business idea.

Participants will also be able to apply key learnings to their own business ideas and work on them while making the most of access to experts and resources in the room.

Increasing the sustainability of non-profit organizations has been one of the key directions of the Scotiabank Centre for Non-Profit Excellence since it was established in 2014. Social enterprise is a tool that organizations can use to achieve a level of sustainability.

“Our research shows that lack of access, or simply not knowing where to find the information, is a big gap in the non-profit sector within the Okanagan,” explains Dr. Kyleen Myrah, Okanagan College School of Business professor and faculty researcher at the Centre. “This workshop is one way to put information in the hands of those ready to help make the changes that will benefit our community.”

Attendees will each receive a copy of the Business Model Canvas, will have an opportunity to work on their own social enterprise ideas, explore available business resources, connect with other like-minded individuals, and have access to learn with and from other social entrepreneurs.

The workshop is suited for: leaders of non-profits, individuals working in existing organizations (non-profit and for profit) with social enterprise initiatives, entrepreneurs looking to solve a social problem in their community, government employees looking to implement impact initiatives, and students.

Myrah and Greer will be joined by OC business professor Kerry Rempel to lead the workshop. Giulio Piccioli, founder of One Big Table, will also present about his experience of building a social enterprise focused on access to local food and the lean startup approach he has applied.

Tickets are $45 (at and include lunch, coffee, and tea.

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