Social Enterprise: The Human Face
A new business model that combines making a profit with making a contribution to society is becoming more popular in Canada. Social Enterprise Canada defines Social Enterprise as follows: Social enterprises trade to tackle social problems, improve communities, people's life chances, or the environment. They make their money from selling goods and services in the open market, but they reinvest their profits back into the business or the local community. And so when they profit, society profits.
Here at the Saskatchewan Abilities Council we have been making a contribution to our community for over 60 years. We have delivered recreational, rehabilitation, and vocational programs to more than 35,000 people with disabilities throughout the province.
One of our latest endeavours is to branch out our business Vetlinens to sell professional scrub uniforms. All profits and proceeds go back into supporting the programs and services that we offer at the Saskatchewan Abilities Council. In addition, this new business has allowed us to hire individuals that have barriers to gaining employment. Meet our latest employee in Shipping and Receiving, Doug Frankl. He had worked at a tire factory for 36 years and then was laid off. At his age he found it difficult to find a new job. He finally found a job at a local mall cleaning up garbage from the parking lot and food court but this job was only on weekends. Luckily one of his fellow employees told him to check out Partners In Employment in Regina. From Partners, Doug participated in a vocational evaluation and was given a chance at gaining employment. He now works casual at Saskatchewan Abilities Council Wood Products Division. And Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at our Saskatchewan Abilities Council Regina office in shipping and receiving. When I talked to Doug about his jobs he was very enthusiastic. He told me that he had three other brothers who worked as professional carpenters and he was excited to learn new skills on the computer doing shipping. He told me that the staff was very helpful with training him and he was “up to tackling anything”! He was also very proud that he has been working since he was 18 and had always “saved up.” On May 19th 2016 he paid off the mortgage and now owns his house free and clear.