social delta

Consulting and support for social enterprise in Canada

Category: Socent News (page 1 of 3)

Plastic Bricks. Of course.

Every once and a while a story crosses our desk that makes us wonder why nobody had done that sooner.

Nzambi Matee is a social entrepreneur in Kenya who is making construction-grade bricks out of plastic that are purportedly 7 times stronger than concrete.

We always hear that plastics take generations to decompose and break down, and yet few of us might have asked ourselves the question: “In what circumstances do we specifically need something that will never deteriorate?”

The answer is blindingly obvious: buildings, walls and walkways.

We celebrate the longevity of Roman roads, medieval castles, the pyramids, Angkor Wat, and the crypts beneath Paris’s streets. We have been (over) building with concrete for decades to create edifices–from dams to skycrapers–that we hope will stand the test of time.

At the same time we are producing plastic waste that is clogging our waterways and burdening our landfills.

Matee is an engineer who has designed a heat and pressure process to combine plastic waste (of various grades) with sand to create strong and colorful building bricks. A sort of lifesize Lego. She designed and built the machines necessary, and since 2017 her company, Gjenge Makers, has repurposed 20 tons of plastic waste. The factory now creates 1500 bricks a day.

The social benefit of Matee’s work goes beyond environmental sustainability. She is also proactively creating employment for women and youth in Nairobi, including jobs for “pickers” who are often facing significant barriers to employment. Click here for more information, and to view a video celebrating this incredible business venture.

Social Delta celebrates the social entrepreneurs like Nzambi Matee who take equal parts dissatisfaction, conviction, ingenuity, skill and savvy to solve a social problem and meet a market need at the same time.

We are inspired. We hope you are too.

Dutch Social Enterprises: Leading by Example

In the Netherlands there is a national organization dedicated to promoting and supporting social enterprise.

They recently released a report that documents how leading social enterprises in their country are affecting the way business is done. Those social enterprises, by doing business the right way, are leading by example.

I particularly like their analysis which indicates that social enterprise can effect change in three ways:

  • Raising the possible are the activities that show how business can be done responsibly, so that other businesses can choose to adopt those sustainable practices as well.
  • Raising the desirable are the activities that change norms and values in society and increase cultural pressures, which motivates executives to act sustainably.
  • Raising the acceptable are the activities that contribute to higher institutionalized, formal standards, so that it becomes unacceptable not to adopt more sustainable practices.

To paraphrase, social enterprises can show what is can be done, they can challenge existing business practices and they can actually set the bar higher for other businesses to emulate.

The report is full of excellent resources, ideas, and indications of what success looks like for any social enterprise. It offers an aspiration view for social entrepreneurs wishing to grow their social impact.

Social Delta recommends it as inspirational (yet practical) reading. Download it or read it online for free here.

The Ottawa Tool Library needs your help

The Ottawa Tool Library, one of Ottawa’s leading social enterprises, has been evicted from their current location. Their landlord has failed to provide the required notice, and the entire lending library must leave their location at 250 City Centre in Ottawa by December 9, 2020.

On behalf of the Ottawa Tool Library, Social Delta is sharing their press release here.

The tool library is seeking public support to find a new location on the West Side of Ottawa. All lending of tools has now been suspended, but through the generosity of several community partners offering short term workshop space, several previously scheduled workshops will take place in alternate locations in the coming weeks.

The tool library is accepting donations of money to support the emergency move at their website, www.ottawatoollibrary.com , and to help pay for the transport and storage of the 2100 tools in their lending library until a new location can be confirmed. They are unable to accept any tool donations until a new location is found.

This has been a difficult year for many businesses. The Ottawa Tool Library has worked diligently to remain open, operating safely within public health guidelines, and providing tools, advice and support to home do-it-yourselfers, low income residents, and other in the community. This surprise eviction is a significant challenge. They are calling upon the community for help in order to weather the storm and to reopen again in the new year.

Any suggestions of a new location, available secure low cost storage options, or ways to support the continued success of the Ottawa Tool Library should be emailed to the OTL Executive Director, Bettina Vollmerhausen

Rock Camp for Girls+ online

Girls+ Rock Ottawa is fueling creativity and community during uncertain times. Social Delta loves what they do, and strongly encourage girls and gender diverse individuals aged thirteen to eighteen to apply for the flagship Rock Camp for Girls+ program online.

In this exciting new digital format, campers will be able to learn their instrument through online learning modules and weekly interactive group video sessions with local music teachers. Camp participants will write an original solo and film their performance, which will be shared at a live virtual showcase. 

The virtual camp will run over the course of eight weeks, from October 7 to November 26, 2020, and is open to No musical experience is required and instruments will be provided to participants who need them. 

Registration is now open and more information about this new Rock Camp for Girls+ format is available on the Girls+ Rock Ottawa website. Special thanks to the Ottawa Community Foundation for their support of this year’s brand-new Rock Camp format and to MusiCounts for providing our instruments to help us keep music accessible. 

About Girls+ Rock Ottawa
Girls+ Rock Ottawa is a volunteer-run community organization that provides music-based programming to foster empowerment, inclusivity and community to girls, women, and gender diverse individuals – all while having fun. The organization also hosts monthly jam sessions where girls can access studio space to practice and hosts a variety of workshops about different aspects of the music industry and creative skills where girls can organize a music show while gaining project management, communications and financial literacy skills.

Get your Ottawa Social Enterprise on the map!

CSED invites Ottawa area social enterprises to take part in the 2020 Spotlight survey! The survey is being conducted to develop an economic and social profile of Ottawa’s social enterprise (SE) sector as a way to build community awareness, understanding and support.

Who this survey is for
The survey is open to Ottawa area social enterprises operated by charities, nonprofits, co-ops and for-profits (with a clearly defined social mission). Aspiring social entrepreneurs who are in the process of starting a social enterprise are also invited to complete the survey.

Why this survey is important
Your participation will help create a collective and common understanding of Ottawa’s social enterprise sector and its impact, and help shine a spotlight on the products and services that are available.

How the information will be used
An aggregate profile will be shared with social enterprises, governments, funders and others to enhance understanding of the sector and inform future support and investment activities. As a way of complimenting their own promotional activities, SEs that complete the survey can also choose to include their products and services in a new business directory that will be launched on CSED’s website.

Complete the survey for your chance to win!
All surveys completed by Friday, September 18th will be entered to win one of three free passes to Unleashed 2020, CSED’s annual social enterprise conference being held on November 19, 2020. The winning names will be drawn randomly and announced in the September issue of SE Connections.

If you have any questions about the survey or need help, please contact: team@csedottawa.ca.

Click HERE to begin the survey!

Ottawa Tool Library: online store now offers tools for sale at great prices

The Ottawa Tool Library (OTL) has just opened an online webstore to sell high quality, tested used tools and surplus “nearly new” inventory from corporate partners.

During the COVID pandemic, it appears that more and more homeowners, apartment dwellers, and others are becoming avid do-it-yourselfers. If that sounds like you, then you should at least take a look at the selection of tools that are for sale through the OTL webstore.

Perhaps you are in the market to buy a push lawnmower, a set of saws, a drill, or some other tool that you’d like to have at the ready whenever you need it.

Visit the new store and take a look at the fantastic deals they are offering on quality, tested used tools. Tell your friends. The inventory is updated regularly, so check back often.

Every dollar earned through the webstore supports the mission of the Ottawa Tool Library (and their parent non profit, the Society for Social Ingenuity). The organization offers programs and activities that provide affordable access to tools; promote self-sufficiency, reuse, and repair; and reduce our collective impact on the environment.

The OTL, of course, loans tools to all who want to become a member. They offer unlimited borrowing of almost any tool you can think of for an annual individual membership of $200. (there are, monthly, family and student rates as well) Click here for more information on membership options.

Job Opportunity

An established Ottawa social enterprise is looking for a Business Manager: Apply by May 31/2019

The Community Laundry Co-op (CLC) is looking for a Business manager to handle the operations of the social enterprise. The Community Laundry Co-op is a charitable co-operative that provides accessible and affordable self-service laundry facilities for low-income and isolated people in Ottawa.

Social Impact Measurement workshop

IMPACT HUB Ottawa is hosting a short workshop on theory of change and social impact measurement on October 17, 2018. It is only $10 to register, and the registration fee is donated to charity. Visit https://ottawa.impacthub.net/event/measuring-your-impact/ for more information.

An inspiring read

If you are interested in social enterprise, it is likely you’ve heard of Greyston Bakery in Yonkers, New York.  They are a leading example of a successful employment and training social enterprise.

Forbes published an excellent article a few weeks ago that is worth reading. It is particularly of interest if you have ever harboured doubts about the effectiveness of social enterprise as a tool for improved community benefits.

Here is a taste:

In the last 35 years of operation, “Greyston has created job opportunities for more than 3,500 individuals and has supported over 19,000 families. At present, over 60% of Greyston’s bakers are formerly incarcerated.”

IMPACT ACADEMY: A free program to support your social change idea

Deadline to apply: August 17th

Join Impact Academy: CityMaker Edition

HUB Ottawa offers a new cohort of its flagship program, Impact Academy. They are partnering with Synapcity for this special Impact Academy: CityMaker Edition. Here is what you need to know!

What it is: A free, three-month learning program running between September 5th and December 5th, 2018. (Yes, it is a free program for participants this year…so don’t delay)

Who it’s for: Creative and entrepreneurial changemakers working to make our communities more sustainable, inclusive, and equitable and who want to take their projects, ventures and initiatives to the next level.

Topic areas: Transportation & Mobility, Environment & Sustainability, and Healthy & Caring Communities.

Deadline to apply, August 17th, 2018.

Since 2012 Impact Hub’s Impact Academy has supported over 150 social changemakers in their entrepreneurial journey. Social Delta has been an active partner in both the design of the program from its inception, and Jonathan Wade of Social Delta continues to deliver elements of the program.  This year, you can get Social Delta’s insights and recommendations on business modeling on October 31st, but each session will bring expert community resources to the classroom, and spectacular living examples to the program.

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