A Garden Grows in Gillam

Food Matters Manitoba is in a process with Social Enterprise Manitoba to develop social enterprise activities to continue improving the sustainability of their programming. As a part of this process, I am working with FMM to coach them through developing a social enterprise strategy.

Social enterprise is a concept that has been getting increasing media attention over the past few years as it is growing in popularity. Social enterprises are organizations, including non profits, that sell a product or a service for a fee, but also have a specific social or environmental goal. These goals must be given at least as much importance as the financial bottom line of the organization. This is essential because if the organization abandons the social or environmental goal, they would just become a standard business. The profits earned from the operation of the business must be directed towards either growing the business to grow the impact, or directly used towards the social or environmental issue that the social enterprise focuses on.

Elements of the FMM organization that can be used for social enterprise have been identified. For example, we have evaluated their workshop curriculum, examined potential clients (customers) and target markets, and looked at how to present the value of the workshops to different customers. Through the coaching process FMM has been developing a suite of workshops that can be adapted to serve businesses, government agencies, and other community groups around Manitoba.

For Food Matters Manitoba, social entrepreneurship is an important tool to acquire funding for their core programming and administration costs. These are elements that are often excluded from grant funding for non profits, so having a diverse income stream is important. By using social enterprise frameworks, Food Matters Manitoba can charge appropriate fees to organizations with sufficient resources, and use the profits to provide programming to people who might not be able to pay.

In my work with Food Matters Manitoba, I have found that all of the staff have been highly knowledgeable and work incredibly hard to find solutions which will exceed the expectations of their clients. In fact, they are so intent on providing excellent work that I have sometimes needed to remind them to lower their expectations until we’re polishing a finished product.

I’m looking forward to continuing to work with Food Matters Manitoba to help them develop their social enterprise.

— About the Author —

Matthew Rempel is a coach with Social Enterprise Manitoba and the founder of Strategy Made Simple, a social enterprise coaching business based in Winnipeg Manitoba. He publishes a podcast and blog on social enterprise development and marketing. Get in contact with Matthew on Twitter .

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