SENCO and Ashoka Canada launch Community Benefit Purchasing Project

Georgian’s Social Enterprise Network of Central Ontario (SENCO), in partnership with Ashoka Canada, will launch a new project this fall that provides resources and training opportunities for social enterprises and purchasers in social procurement.

The project will support the growth of social enterprises, and provide knowledge and tools for purchasers to both explore and apply new models of community benefit purchasing.

Small communities and cities in Central Ontario continue to face serious economic and social challenges, some of which have been dramatically heightened as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Social enterprise creates economic activity while addressing critical social, environmental and cultural issues.

“The sustainability of social enterprises in our communities will create a ripple effect in local economies and community well-being,” says Suzie Addison-Toor, Director of Social Innovation and Student Success at Georgian. “Institutions such as Georgian, along with other schools, hospitals, housing providers and municipalities, have purchasing power to create significant social and economic impact when connected to social enterprises. Purchasing within our communities supports the local economy and allows for economic reinvestment.”

Ashoka Canada identified SENCO as exceptionally well suited for implementation of this project.  “The project supports the community piece of Georgian’s mandate,” says Suzie. “This kind of changemaking activity is part of Georgian’s DNA.”

Provincial, national and international experts will be integrated into the delivery of the project and will include Shaun Loney, Senior Partner at Encompass Coop, an Ashoka Fellow; Barbara Cotto, Director of StartUP Procurement Incubator at Florida International University, a designated Ashoka Campus; as well as other sectors leaders such as Buy Social Canada, Anchor TO and more.

Project activities include the compilation of a database of diverse and social enterprise suppliers in Central Ontario, introductory virtual social procurement 101 sessions, expert-led events exploring successful project in social procurement, expert facilitation for social enterprises and purchasers in Central Ontario, and an audio documentary that explores social procurement activity underway in Central Ontario.

Ashoka Canada logo with tree and half of a maple leaf

“This project will support social enterprises and purchasers with essential resources in social procurement, and through connected learning, new contracts will bring sustainable economic activity to Central Ontario,” adds Elly Green, Project Consultant.

To learn more about the project, reach out directly to Elly.

Did you know?

Georgian is the first and only college in Canada designated a changemaker college by Ashoka U for its role as a leader in social innovation and changemaking in higher education.

The designation falls under the Changemaker Campus program, which recognizes more than 40 colleges and universities globally that have embedded social innovation and changemaking into their culture, programming and operations.


SENCO inspires, connects and equips those looking to engage in social enterprise to face cultural, environmental and social challenges in our region.

We work with social enterprises, budding social entrepreneurs, organizations, intermediaries and community leaders to support innovative economic approaches to strengthen our communities. Our goal is to be the bridge to new knowledge, resources and supporting business practices to achieve financial growth and sustainability through social enterprise.

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