Major Players Roll Out Blueprint for Social Enterprise in Northern
by Scott A. Sumner
SENO CoStarter for Change
For over 20 years, PARO has been a launch pad for starting and growing businesses in Northern Ontario. PARO’s clientele are diverse: each program is tailored to the needs of women including Francophone women, youth, and people with disabilities, low-income individuals and new Canadians. PARO has developed a complex but accessible infrastructure to bring together different organizations to leverage funds for Entrepreneurs in Northern Ontario.
Recently, PARO has partnered with a dynamic collaboration of purpose-driven agents of change (including the Thunder Bay CEDC, Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre, Sault St. Marie Innovation Centre, and Nordik Institute, along with various other contributing community partners and funders) to ignite motivation inspired by social development.
Social Enterprise Northern Ontario (SENO) is the result of pioneering innovation champions. By taking smart risks and turning challenges into opportunities for social growth, the SENO Committee’s CoStarter for Change revolutionizes multifaceted and diverse co-working models of business development. These models catalyze systems-changing social good through entrepreneurial activism.
Rosalind Lockyer PARO Executive Director
“ We are launching today in the Northwest and our partners are launching in the North East. It is wonderful because now we are going to have an infrastructure set up where we can help people who want to do social enterprise to make change in our communities, positive change. They will be able to get grants and loans as well as mentoring to do so. It is called co starter for change.”
“ It is an extension of what we do at PARO. We are always connecting to the community with various things we do all the time. We have seen an increasing need for support for social enterprise whether it is for not for profit or for profit. We didn’t have the non for profit infrastructure and not the grants and loans.”
“ PARO has evolved in looking at what the community needs and that is what we do best. We have a great team with both innovation centers here and in Sault Ste Marie, the CEDC , RBCand BDC. We had to match dollar for dollar with the private sector. RBC and BDC have a loan pool to go with our grant pool. It makes it unlimited in the amount of support.”