Federal Government Invests Over $1-Million in Social Purpose Institute
Social purpose isn’t a business trend. It’s a business must.
This is why we launched the Social Purpose Institute at United Way. We empower businesses to identify and adopt a social purpose, for the benefit of both their company, and the communities they serve.
And now we’re proud to share the Government of Canada is supporting our innovative social purpose hub, with four years of funding worth over $1-million!
Ministers make social purpose a priority
At a presentation in Burnaby, Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of Democratic Institutions, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada, announced $1,059,357 in funding over four years towards United Way of the Lower Mainland’s new Social Purpose Institute (SPI).
For Mary Ellen Schaafsma, Director of the SPI, this significant investment from the Government of Canada confirms that social purpose is gaining ground in B.C., across Canada and around the world.
“This funding will accelerate growth at the Social Purpose Institute at United Way, so more corporate partners can find and implement a social purpose model,” said Mary Ellen. “It will strengthen the communities we all serve, and the business landscape as a whole.”
The presentation took place at Hemlock Printers, a company celebrating 50 years serving the Lower Mainland and beyond, and named Burnaby’s Business of the Year in 2018 by the Burnaby Board of Trade.
Hemlock Printers has been an early adopter of the social purpose model, working with the Social Purpose Institute at United Way in its first “Innovators Lab.” Along with a dedicated social purpose working group from his team at Hemlock, President and Chief Operating Officer Richard Kouwenhoven is leading Hemlock on its journey towards identifying and integrating its enduring social purpose.
The profits of being purpose-driven
A social purpose business is a company whose enduring reason for being is to create a better world. A company with a true social purpose is an engine for good, creating social benefits by the very act of conducting business.
This matters to customers. Nearly 70 per cent of Canadian consumers believe companies should show how their products and services make the world a better place.
But a social purpose isn’t just good for customer choice. It drives profitability. Overall, companies that adopt a social purpose perform better in market growth, with new opportunities to maximize profits and grow shareholder value. That’s why the Government of Canada is supporting British Columbia companies to integrate social purpose into their business models.
“Our government is laying the foundation for Canadians to become more competitive and succeed in the global economy,” said the Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of Democratic Institutions, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada.
“Today’s investment in United Way of the Lower Mainland builds on our competitive advantages and will result in a greater number of businesses adopting social purpose business models, boosting economic growth and creating good, middle-class jobs for Canadians.”
How federal funding expands the Social Purpose Institute
The Social Purpose Institute at United Way shares tools and tactics within the social innovation sector in order to promote economic growth and social purpose in British Columbia. The Institute will promote cross-sector collaboration, skills development, and growth in British Columbia’s social innovation sector.
Through this investment, the SPI will create at least 70 jobs, many of which will be filled by women and Indigenous people. It will also increase the number of businesses in British Columbia adopting social purpose business models by providing hands-on activities and services to at least 60 small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and larger companies.
The SPI will support businesses by delivering workshops and training, and providing learning opportunities, business support and coaching services for companies to create pathways to revenue growth and improved social outcomes.
“Businesses have always been critical partners in our vision of healthier, more caring and more inclusive communities,” said Jeff Calbick, Chief Operating Officer at United Way of the Lower Mainland.
“We want to thank the Government of Canada for investing in the Social Purpose Institute at United Way, one way we’re collaborating with the corporate sector in new and innovative ways, so they can become a force for good in our communities.”