Periods of disruption can bring clarity for many organizations; helping them focus priorities and realign activities with their mission. In Kamloops, four social enterprises are responding to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic by focusing on sustainable revenue models and sustainable impact models.
To support these social enterprises, Purppl teamed up with Kamloops Innovation. Our collective experience helps to develop sustainable business models, sustainable impact models, and build deep connection to community. These are essential ingredients for social enterprise development. More on the collaboration and community partnerships below.
Now, about the social enterprises.
Kamloops Symphony Orchestra (KSO)
It’s tough times for events-based organizations and the KSO is no exception. As a 50-person orchestra, they’re reaching capacity on BC’s gathering restrictions before ever selling a ticket. Beginning this month, the KSO’s regular orchestral programs will be offered on a digital platform until restrictions are lifted.
The digital platform isn’t the only change on the horizon for the KSO; they want to use this period of disruption to focus on expanding audience diversity and inclusivity of their services. They seek to offer more meaningful programs and engaging musical experiences for all.
About Kamloops Symphony
The primary purpose of the Kamloops Symphony Orchestra (KSO) is to engage and enrich the citizens of Kamloops and Interior British Columbia through music. Considered a cornerstone of the cultural fabric of Kamloops, the Kamloops Symphony’s primary activity is the presentation of high quality professional orchestral concerts, based in Western classical music. Historically, this has been accomplished through the presentation of nine to ten annual programs, and up to eighteen performances in Kamloops and the neighbouring city of Salmon Arm, 108 kilometers to the East.
An important part of the Symphony’s mandate is to provide educational opportunities for the citizens of Kamloops. The Symphony also presents concerts for school children, and educational presentations in public and private district schools. Since 2002, the Kamloops Symphony Music School, a division under the Kamloops Symphony, has provided opportunities for music education to citizens of the region, and given further employment opportunities to local musicians. The school has extended our community connections and helped attract professional musicians to live and work in Kamloops.
ASK Wellness is responding to the impacts of COVID-19 by expanding its employment training programs and furthering its commitment to support those in their community who struggle with their housing, health, or employment. The Social Enterprise and Employment Coordinator, a newly created position, will play an integral role in the continued growth of the Mattress Recycling Program and enabling people experiencing employment barriers to realize their career potential and aspirations.
About ASK Wellness
ASK Enterprises’ mandate is to support people who are homeless to access housing, healthcare, and opportunities to enter the workforce to gain economic autonomy and the rewards of employment. The Mattress Recycling Program provides hard and soft skills training for people experiencing barriers to employment to help ease their transition to the workforce.
The Mattress Recycling Program recycles and repurpose mattresses delivered to the Kamloops Landfill and TNRD transfer stations. Over 12,000 mattresses are recycled annually diverting hundreds of thousands of pounds of solid waste materials from landfills.
Big Little Science Centre
The Big Little Science Centre (BLSC) is focused on creating learning experiences outside of the classroom. The pandemic has interrupted the way children learn and play and parents are looking for educational ways to keep kids engaged and busy. BLSC wants to think beyond the walls of the Science Centre and explore ways to deliver programs from a distance.
About Big Little Science Centre
The Science Centre delivers fun and interactive science programs that help children learn life skills and prepare them for success as adults. The Centre is currently closed due to COVID-19 but is expected to reopen in the coming months at their new Downtown location. The space offers 140 different science exhibits, interactive shows, science labs, and science related activities.
Big Little Science Centre has been operating in Kamloops since 2000 and is dedicated to developing a passion for science in our community.
Kamloops Innovation and Purppl have a years long history of collaboration when identifying, training and utilizing Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIR) in Kamloops to help support local social enterprise,” says Lincoln Smith, Executive Director of Kamloops Innovation. Doug McLean, an EIR at both Kamloops Innovation and Purppl, will be working with the Big Little Science Centre to help support their exploration of ways to deliver programs from a distance.
“Purppl is a leader in the development of social enterprises and a natural partner with Kamloops Innovation. Collaborating on delivery of this program in Kamloops brings amazing opportunities to our local social purpose organizations and the communities they serve.” Dr Lincoln Smith – Kamloops Innovation
United Way Thompson Nicola Cariboo
United Way TNC has chosen to push forward with building sustainable revenue streams through their social enterprise and delivering impact to non-profits and the community. Despite the pandemic causing them to hit the “pause” button on all collaborative events in their newly launched Xchange Centre, they are committed to finding new and sustainable ways to use the space and its resources to collaborate with the community.
About United Way’s Xchange Centre
United Way TNC in partnership with TRU opened a regional collaboration centre and Change Lab last fall on Kamloop’s North Shore. The vision of this space is to encourage collaboration, build capacity, conduct research, and create lasting impact. The Xchange Centre operates as a social enterprise, generating revenue to provide valuable services and space to the community it serves.
The space is available for community use on a membership or pay-as-you-go basis and can be rented out for events such as: Annual General Meetings, Board meetings, Professional Development Sessions, Networking Events, Art Shows/Openings, Community Meetings, Office Space, Study Space, Research, Interviews, and/or Classes. In addition, United Way plans to host collaborative events in the space such as Workshops, Conferences, Presentations, Training and/or Professional Development.
Resilience and Recovery Coaching, Powerful through Partnership
Social enterprise development is always a collective effort. As a continuation of their focus on social enterprise, Valley First, Interior Savings, and the City of Kamloops, have partnered with Purppl and Kamloops Innovation to deepen the sustainability and resilience of Kamloops social purpose organizations.
This partnership enables Kamloops Symphony, ASK Wellness, United Way TNC, and Big Little Science Centre to work with Entrepreneurs-in-Residence to build and refine their social enterprise. Purppl and Kamloops Innovation co-deliver ongoing coaching through this 6 or 12 month Resilient Recovery Program.
“We are better together. This collaboration builds upon the collective expertise of both Purppl and Kamloops Innovation; sustainable revenue models, sustainable impact models, and deep, grassroots community networks.” Andrew Greer, Managing Director @ Purppl
“As community partners, Valley First, Interior Savings, and the City of Kamloops get involved in the success of the program. They participate in strategic reviews and add on demand experience, expertise, and relevant connections to help these growing social enterprises overcome challenges and pursue new opportunities. They often already are, or soon become, customers of the social enterprises who participate. In short, they go way beyond the traditional funder role!”
Combined, these ingredients help to increase the sustainability and resilience of social purpose organizations in Kamloops.