Siloam Mission launches laundry social enterprise

Its been three years since Reconnaissance Management Consulting identified commercial laundry as a potential social enterprise to provide training and employment for people in Winnipeg wanting to get back into the workforce. Thanks to a $200,000 investment from the Winnipeg Foundation, the laundry enterprise started up in late 2019. The laundry concept was one of four opportunities identified and evaluated by Marty Donkervoort and Kaye Grant of Reconnaissance Consulting, that specializes in providing assistance in the social economy. The enterprise is operated by the Siloam Mission, a Christian humanitarian organization that exists to alleviate hardships and provide opportunities for transition for those experiencing homelessness.

Social Enterprise World Forum 2018 – Edinburgh, Scotland

The Social Enterprise World Forum will be held in Edinburgh September 12-14, 2018. This will be the tenth anniversary of the Forum which started in Edinburgh and has revelled around the globe. This year there the Forum will be preceded by a two-day  social enterprise academic conference in Glasgow. I will be presenting and facilitating in the academic conference as well as attending the Forum itself. Hope to see you there.

Register here for the Forum.



Social Enterprise World Forum Presentation

More than 1600 people from all over the world attended the Social Enterprise World Forum in Christchurch, New Zealand at the end of September 2017. I made two presentations and chaired one mini plenary panel discussion at the Forum. The presentation entitled “Social Enterprise in Recovery and Regeneration delivered at the opening plenary on September 28 is on YouTube.

Click here to watch the presentation.


Social Enterprise World Forum Christchurch, New Zealand

The 2017 Social Enterprise World Forum will be held in Christchurch, New Zealand, September 27-29. This annual forum brings together social enterprise entrepreneurs, community activists, foundations, and government leaders. I will be attending the conference and facilitating a mini plenary on “Social enterprise and community led development” as well as a panelist presenting on the topic “Regeneration and community empowerment”.

Canadian Conference on Social Enterprise 2017, Winnipeg

Registration for the Canadian National Conference on Social Enterprise to be held in Winnipeg, May 10-12, 2017 is now open at Click here to learn more about the Canadian Conference on Social Enterprise, including registration.

This national conference of social enterprise practitioners, funders and supporting organizations is a bi-annual event organized by the Social Enterprise Council of Canada. This year our local co-host is CCEDNet-Manitoba.

Winnipeg was chosen to hold this year’s conference because it hosts some of Canada’s prime examples of social enterprise business models and social impact. The conference, along with sharing their stories and stories of social enterprises from across Canada, will focus on building capacity among peers, addressing key policy issues, and preparing for the future.

Case Study “Inner City Renovation: Rebuilding Properties, Lives and Communities”.

The case study written by Marty Donkervoort and John Melnyk and published by Ivy Publishing at Western University has been submitted to an international case writing competition sponsored by EFMD, the Management Development Network. EFMD is an international not for profit membership organization of business schools and corporations based  in Brussels, Belgium.

2016 Federal Government Day of Dialogue 0n Social Enterprise

The British Council hosted a day long dialogue on social enterprise and social purchasing in Ottawa on March 9, 2016. Speakers included representatives from the Social Enterprise Council of Canada, The British Council and guests from the government of Scotland and the social enterprise sector there. Approximately 30 representatives from the Canadian Federal government from various departments attended the dialogue with the hope of supporting Canadian policies and initiatives related to social innovation, social finance, social enterprise and social procurement.

Social Enterprise Reflections: 2015 Hope and 2016 Challenges…

Pollster Doug Miller in his recently published book, “Can the World be Wrong?” predicts social enterprise ‘as the next big thing’ as we face “the ever-increasing pressure on business to act better in society’s interest…”[1]

His prediction just might be confirmed by the amazing shifts and developments in the social enterprise arena across Canada in 2015. We have witnessed public policy changes, market growth, increased social impact reporting and emerging new partnerships all contributed to a more vibrant social enterprise sector.

Some of what we’ve witnessed in 2015…

In government policy we saw some major steps in new supportive directions, examples include: Social Purchasing Guidelines in BC, Social Enterprise strategy policy initiatives in Manitoba, Ontario, Newfoundland / Labrador, Quebec, and Nova Scotia; and most recently five Federal Government Ministerial mandate letters supporting areas of social enterprise, social finance and social purchasing!

The sector is reaching new business and market share levels. Here are some Vancouver area achievements: CleanStart won a major three-year competitive contract with BC Housing; EMBERS Staffing Solutions is consistently employing over 150 people weekly; and Common Thread expanded their customer base to include sewing contracts with local boutique designers and is launching a training course to meet commercial sewing demand. The same stories could as well come from Halifax, Toronto, London, Manitoba, or just about anywhere.

More and more evidence of sector social impact across the country is emerging. Just take a few minutes to read through the Social Enterprise Sector Surveys. –; review the stories on the enp-Canada newsroom,; or scan the recent Demonstrating Values reports,

Social purchasing initiatives, like the Toronto Social Purchasing Project and the emergence of Buy Social Canada, are focusing on creating greater demand for social enterprise products and services and building a Canada based social enterprise certification program.

2015 also saw some encouraging new initiatives. To maintain and build upon the core learnings developed by enp-Canada and others the on-line Social Enterprise Institute is under construction, The planning for a social purchasing partnership and marketplace between Chantier de l’Economie Sociale and Buy Social Canada is underway. ESDC issued an LOI for the potential funding of a collaborative social enterprise intermediary.

But with the hope of each 2015 advancement, comes a whole set of challenges for 2016!

Social enterprises will have to be even more business savvy and impact conscious to meet the growing demand as social purchasing is imbedded into corporate and government supply chains. Operating in the larger commercial market requires providing competitive products and pricing along with social impact!

As social enterprises grow and scale, they face financing needs along the way. Social financing tools, such as new forms of equity-like patient capital, that fit the evolving growth and needs of non-profit and hybrid social enterprises will have to emerge.

Expanding the social enterprise markets and financing requires supportive and effective intermediaries that can create and nurture new supply chain systems and relationships; mediate financing arrangements; and provide advanced business capacity.

Governments will have to move from the initial strategy and policy level of support, to implementing services that create a ‘level playing field’ for social enterprise businesses.

The private sector and government need to move further along in the process to integrate social value into their supply chains and procurement practices.

As blended value becomes the standard of business success, reporting we will need financial and social impact measurement that is simple, accessible and effective.

And finally, creating a supportive social enterprise ecosystem means greater collaboration within the community sector and externally with the public and private sectors. Collaboration like we have never seen before will be the backbone of any significant steps forward.

Here’s to hoping we meet the challenges of 2016 – which just might move social enterprise further along the path to being ‘the next big thing.’

Reproduced with permission from David LePage, President Accelerating Social Impact

[1] “Can the World Be Wrong? Where Global Public Opinion Says We’re Headed”; Greenleaf Publishing, 2016, p. 160-161


Social Enterprise Course at University of Winnipeg

“The Role of Social Enterprise in the Current Economy”course is once again offered at the Faculty of Business at the University Of Winnipeg.  The winter term in 2016 will be the fifth year since this course was introduced. Once again the course is fully subscribed (50 Students) with a long wait list.

The course objectives and learning outcomes: Social enterprises, with their multiple bottom lines (financial, social and/or environmental) and ultimate goal of creating a more egalitarian and just society, are playing an increasingly important role in the economy. This course is designed to examine the role of social enterprises, identify and assess different types, explore management issues unique to social enterprises, and measure their impacts. Challenges and opportunities unique to social enterprises will be explored. We will also critically analyze examples of social enterprises in Canada and elsewhere. A number of social entrepreneurs managing local social enterprises will provide guest presentations.

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be familiar with social enterprises and their role in the current and future economy. Specifically students will have learned how conventional business management applies to social enterprises, where it differs and how.


Ideas:Powered by Passion

While on a recent visit to Sydney, Nova Scotia, Marty gave a presentation to IDEAS: Powered by Passion  sponsored by New Dawn Enterprises. A good crowd came out in bad weather(downpour) to attend the event. While in Sydney, Marty also visited the MBA program at Cape Breton University as well as providing a workshop with community organizations interested in social enterprise and affordable housing.