Social Enterprise and the ONE SEP

She sat at her kitchen table with her kids, bills scattered in front of her, knowing that there was enough money to do laundry or to feed her children that week.

 He watched rare, endangered pollinator flowers be bulldozed on a construction site while no one intervened to rescue them.

 And they went to universities in East Africa and saw that the students had a passion for learning and no resources, including textbooks, to help them learn.

 This is social enterprise. A moment of frustration, an aha! moment, followed by a commitment to change the status quo. Social enterprise combines the best of business with the drive to change the world!

 Social enterprises are unique in that business and social impact are not mutually exclusive. You don’t have to choose between doing good and practicing meaningful business and being financially viable! A single person and a single idea can truly help a community for years to come—this is the future of sustainable businesses. Dream big, do good. That’s social enterprise.

 Many social enterprises originated right here in Southwestern Ontario. With the right conditions, funding, and support, the possibilities for both economic success and social impact can only be imagined. This is why Pillar, along with its partners, is making budding `idealistic socialpreneurs’ dreams a reality.

 Social Enterprise Southwest is a new collaborative effort to raise the level of social enterprise support across Southwestern Ontario, injecting the ecosystem with the tools and support it needs to excel in social entrepreneurship. We’re helping those with big ideas have big impact.

Pillar Nonprofit, working with our partners in the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE), will provide training, tools, and support to encourage Southwestern Ontario’s social economy to thrive and excel, becoming a hub for social innovation in the province. The project is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Growth, as part of the Ontario government’s strategic investments in social enterprises.

 A cornerstone of the collaboration between the regional partners is connection. That’s why Social Enterprise Southwest has created #SocEntSWO to be the hashtag of all activities relating to Social Enterprise Southwest. This, along with the Social Enterprise Southwest website, will take the important activities and social innovations of Southwestern Ontario and bring it into the mainstream. Looking for anything relating to social enterprise and social financing in Southwestern Ontario? Check #SocEntSWO on all social media—the new hub for social enterprises in Southwestern Ontario!

Meet Our Partners!

 Social Enterprise Southwest is the collaborative efforts of various organizations across Southwestern Ontario, each with their own unique impact in their communities and in Southwestern Ontario’s social economy.

Huron County

The Small Business Centre is a business hub in Huron County. We have served new and mature businesses for over 15 years, adding to the wealth and the diversity of our business community, one entrepreneur at a time.

We consult with entrepreneurs to help with business plan writing, strategic planning and market research, and provide training in accounting, bookkeeping, e-commerce, marketing, social media, business planning, and succession planning.

Our goal is to connect entrepreneurs with the resources they need to succeed, provide mentorship, and to promote their businesses in the community with our networking events and our Entrepreneur Spotlight Blog.  

Now, as a member of the new Social Enterprise Partnerships Project, we're excited to be working with businesses to help social enterprise grow and flourish in Western Ontario.

 Social Enterprise Contact:  

Nicki Darbyson, Social Enterprise Coach;

Website | Facebook | Twitter


of Windsor


The Entrepreneurship Practice and Innovation Centre (EPICentre) at the University of Windsor is a campus-wide initiative created to encourage entrepreneurship on campus, and to provide tools and resources to students and graduates of any post-secondary institution to explore and start new businesses. EPICentre has three main workspaces that includes two incubator spaces and an industrial space for prototype development. EPICentre also hosts more than 60 programs and activities each year aiming to support University of Windsor and St. Clair College students start and grow new ventures.

 Social Enterprise Contact:  

Michelle Nevett, Research Assistant;

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Innovate Niagara connects innovators to the people and programs required to bring their innovations to market through a suite of in-house programs, resource partners, and network of incubation facilities. Whether you are a startup or established business, we offer resources and support to help you start, grow, and succeed.

We facilitate networking, collaboration, prototyping, and business development through:  

- business advisory services;

- entrepreneurial training courses;

- business and industry networking events;

- business-academic collaboration opportunities;

- additional business tools and resources;

- special programming such as Start-up Visa    opportunities.

 Social Enterprise Contact:  

Jenna Marino, Social Enterprise Coach;

Website | Twitter