Innovations and Investment Overview
Social enterprises are businesses whose primary purpose is the common good. They use the methods and disciplines of business and the power of the marketplace to address a social, environmental and human justice need.
At the heart of this work is the desire to link economic and community development based on common values and vision.
Innovations and Investment Fund
The purpose of the Innovations and Investment fund is to support social enterprise businesses or projects. Support could be designated both for standalone social enterprise businesses or existing non-profit ‘spin-off’ initiatives where a program will run like a business to meet a particular mission. Applicants will be expected to plan and research prior to starting up just like any other business and can draw on the support of area partners for education and mentoring on business and social impact best practices. For this first year, cash infusions will be made generally not to exceed $50,000 and 100% match is required. Applications will be received on a rolling basis after an anticipated launch date of December 2016 or January 2017 but inquiries can be made prior to that time.
For more information on the Innovations and Investment fund, contact Bryan Venable
Greater Good Overview
The purpose of Greater Good community grants is to support community efforts to responsibly use, develop and sustain the common wealth of the region. The common wealth is defined as:
- Gifts of the natural world and human society that have monetary and non-monetary value in supporting life and well-being for both human and natural communities.
- Wealth we inherit or create together, which we desire to pass on, as undiminished and regenerative as possible, to our children and future generations
- A sector of the economy that compliments but is also distinct from the market and government sectors
- Communal assets that increase or decrease depending on management
Greater Good Fund
Applications for Greater Good grants are received by May 30th and November 30th each year. Funds will be awarded as a one-time cash infusion to generally not exceed $50,000. Awards are made by July 1 and January 1 of each year.
For more information on the Greater Good fund, contact Faith Mills
Frequently Asked QuestionsWhat is a social enterprise?
A social enterprise business has a double bottom-line, it makes a profit and meets a social, environmental, and/or human need. A social enterprise business is most often operated by a not for profit organization.
How does a social enterprise differ from a regular business?
- It directly addresses a social need and serves the common good either through its products and services or through the number of disadvantaged people it employs.
- The common good is its primary purpose, baked into the organization DNA.
A social enterprise is like any other business it creates jobs and provides needed products and services. Social enterprise encourages people to develop business solutions for community concerns.
Social enterprise is one of many ways to grow economic development in the Panhandle by attracting new entrepreneurs. This movement is happening across the nation to provide long term solutions to community concerns and to lighten the tax burden for social issues.
Creative businesses such as Blue Star Recycling in Colorado Springs employ people with autism who would otherwise not be able to support themselves. The Circle C Market in Cody NE gives high school students hands on business experience while providing a needed grocery store in their community.
Most non-profit organizations and groups do not have a strong business background. Mentors and champions are needed to share expertise, encouragement, and experience.
We all need to be informed on what social enterprise is, encourage creative thinking in our communities and welcome these innovations. Most importantly, as social enterprise businesses start-up we need to support them so they flourish, just as we need to support all local businesses.