What is a Social Enterprise?
A social enterprise is a business that creates training and employment opportunities for low-income and marginalized individuals. It operates using business principles but also focuses on the social impact of employment. Our Social Enterprises employ people disadvantaged by mental health and addiction issues, homelessness and poverty. By selling goods and services social enterprises invest the money they make back into their business. This allows them to tackle social issues, improve people’s lives, and support communities.
The Raging Spoon, located at 1658 Queen Street West, has provided catering services to the Greater Toronto Area for over 16 years while offering employment opportunities to people with mental health or addiction issues who have an interest in food service related employment. The Spoon delivers throughout west-end and central Toronto area, offering a variety of appetizers, hot and cold entrees and dessert. The staff can provide food for meetings, conferences and special events.
Parkdale Green Thumb Enterprises is a social purpose horticulture business that installs and maintains outdoor and indoor plants for Business Improvement Areas (BIAs), non-profit organizations, hospitals, the private sector, and community groups. PGTE works with customers to design plantings for streetscapes (large planters, hanging baskets and small gardens) and office/institutional interiors. The staff can recommend plants to accent an office’s architectural features, and respond to particular lighting conditions. Parkdale Green Thumb Enterprises also provides grounds keeping services for the non-profit housing sector.
Originally a vocational rehabilitation program run by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Out of This World Café was divested to Working for Change in 2002 to be operated as a social purpose enterprise. In recent years, OTW has dramatically expanded its service, providing a range of delicious food items from its storefront location at 100 Stokes Street and from The Grill, which is located in the mall of CAMH at 1001 Queen Street. In addition OTW provides catering services to many customers within CAMH and in central Toronto.
Individuals who live in or are part of a particular community are often very effective in carrying out research projects as they typically have an in-depth understanding of issues such as poverty and homelessness and they may be able to engage research participants more effectively than professionals. Working for Change trains community members to: participate in the development of questionnaires, interview research participants, facilitate focus groups and participate in data analysis. The community researchers learn a number of transferrable skills through the training they receive. They also gain information about a variety of issues (social housing, peer support, tenant satisfaction, bedbugs) while earning an hourly wage that is usually significantly higher than the provincial minimum.
For employment opportunities contact the businesses directly
Help us to build independent lives
Donations can be made to Working for Change or to the social enterprises and leadership groups directly.