Our Process

We support Social Enterprise Development in three key phases: Research, Branding, and Launch. Below is an overview of each phase and what you can expect when we work together.

Phase 1: Research.

Building the foundation for the Social Enterprise.

This involves stakeholder interviews, learning from leaders who have created similar projects, community-based research, creating the social business model, sustainability analysis, theory of change, idea generation, financial projections, and a report with actionable next steps.

This is the deep, foundational work required before any public launch.

Outcome: A management report with the top 1-2 Social Enterprise ideas for your nonprofit based on our research, as well as the next steps required for the project.

Phase 2: Branding.

Creating the Social Enterprise’s story and identity.

This involves creating the brand’s story and narrative, understanding the why, creating the visual identity, brand assets, and a professional website hosted on Squarespace or Shopify.

This is the development of the outward facing brand for the charity and creating the bigger picture narrative for your Social Enterprise so the community can rally behind it.

Outcome: A brand name, logo, vision, mission, colours, brand script, brand narrative, and professional website.

Phase 3: Launch.

Developing the implementation strategy to get to launch day.

This involves creating the launch strategy, long-term sustainability plan, registering the Social Enterprise, marketing, photography, videography, content creation, and the most exciting part, launch day. This is the carefully calculated step-by-step process that leads up to the grand unveil.

Outcome: An effectively launched Social Enterprise!

We also support Social Enterprises in post-launch, providing operations work and leadership support.

Here’s what we are most proud of.

1. We are a Certified B Corporation, meaning we’re a member of the leading global movement of Social Enterprises that are using business as a force for good.

2. We have a tested and proven three phase process to develop a Social Enterprise from ideation to launch day

3. We believe in the power of community-driven social change, recognizing the gifts and talents that every stakeholder brings to the table

If you’re looking for a partner that uses a community-first approach, has a track record of creating sustainable social projects, and is part of the global leading movement for Social Enterprises, let’s set up a conversation!

Frequently asked questions.

Can a nonprofit or charity legally operate a Social Enterprise?

Charities are allowed to operate a 'Related Business' according to the CRA. A Related Business is a business that is linked to a charity's purpose and subordinate to that purpose.

Nonprofits are able to operate businesses as long as they are incorporated.

Grassroots groups would need to incorporate as a not-for-profit corporation to operate a Social Enterprise.

Do we need a Social Enterprise idea before reaching out?

A common misconception is that a charity or nonprofit needs to have an idea developed before reaching out to us!

The purpose of our Social Enterprise Development process is to develop ideas and recommendations for a Social Enterprise using a community-based research approach.

Of course if you have ideas going into the project, we are happy to explore them further.

How long does it take to develop a Social Enterprise from start to finish?

It can vary depending on the complexity of the Social Enterprise itself.

Generally, Phase One (Research) requires 2-3 months to prepare the final report and recommendations, Phase Two (Branding) requires 1 month of design and brand work, and Phase Three (Launch) ranges from 2-6 months to create and execute the implementation plan.

It can take as little as 5 months, or as long as 12 months to go from ideation to launch day!

What are good examples of Social Enterprise created by Charities?

We love The Better Food Company, the Social Enterprise we created in partnership with a Guelph-based charity, because it perfectly captures the story of the better food system that they're working on.

BottleWorks, a Social Enterprise of Operation Come Home in Ottawa, is another great example of a Social Enterprise that addresses a real need while simultaneously sharing the story of the organization.

An effective Social Enterprise is one that creates a comparable product to a competitor in the market, while using its social impact as the differentiating factor.

How do we know if we're a good fit for Social Enterprise?

Any nonprofit or charity can create a Social Enterprise. Here are a few of our decision criterias on assessing a good Social Enterprise fit:

1. Does the organization stand for a meaningful cause?

2. Do they clearly articulate their mission/vision to the community?

3. Is it a cause that community members would passionately rally behind?

As part of our initial conversations with your team, we will ensure that Social Enterprise is aligned with and supports your organization's vision.

What if we already have internal resources for Social Enterprise?

Many of the charities we partner with have an internal champion for their Social Enterprise project!

Our goal is to come alongside your team and expand your internal capacity. We have a proven three step process for launching effective Social Enterprises, which we can adapt and tailor to your organization's specific needs.

At the end of the day, we belive in collaboration, partnerships, and working together to create a shared outcome. Think of us as an additional employee on your team that brings in a unique skillset and perspective.

Do we work with grassroots groups and small nonprofits with limited funding?

Yes! We are working with many organizations that are considered grassroots groups and small nonprofits.

For groups that are excited and eager to work with us but require funding, we offer free grant writing services where we co-write the perfect grant to secure funding for the Social Enterprise project.

Do you partner on projects other than Social Enterprise?

It depends! If you have an idea and it's aligned with our vision of building a better community, send us a message and let's chat.

We enjoy connecting with like-minded individuals and organizations that are making our community member.

Our next steps together.

If you're ready to take the first step forward on exploring Social Enterprise, schedule a First Chat with us! It is a 30 minute, no-obligations chat where we'll dream about the perfect project together.

Have a question?

If you have any questions about Social Enterprise or about our work, feel free to reach out to us over email at info@communitycompany.org or fill out our contact form below.