A social enterprise is a non-profit business that has a focus on solving problems in the communities they operate in. It's helpful to think of social enterprises as problem solvers. Here are a few examples from successful Manitoba social enterprise business operating today:
PROBLEM: Winnipeg's North End is a low income, predominantly Aboriginal community with high rates of unemployment and very low access to healthy, affordable and culturally appropriate foods.
SOCIAL ENTERPRISE SOLUTION: Neechi Foods is an Aboriginal Social Enterprise grocery store and community space that first began operations in 1990. Neechi Foods operates as a workers cooperative, providing local employment opportunities and healthy, low cost foods to the North End community.
PROBLEM: High unemployment in Winnipeg's North End contributes to high rates of gang violence, crime and prison recidivism (re- offence). In addition, low income housing in Winnipeg's North End is often uninsulated, leading to very high utility bills.
SOCIAL ENTERPRISE SOLUTION: BUILD Inc. works to address both of these problems by providing trades training people with multiple barriers to employment - criminal records, gang involvement, no drivers licences. BUILD trains people to insulate low income houses and provide apartment maintenance services within Manitoba Housing units.