Craig Kielburger, founder of one of Canada’s most well known social enterprises, WE, will be speaking in Kelowna on Saturday night (details at Eventbrite). It’s an opportunity to listen to someone who has inspired thousands of people, mostly youth, to take action to help build the future of Canada.

“WE is a family of organizations making doing good, doable,” says Craig Kielburger co-founder of WE.  “ME to WE is part of WE, a social enterprise that creates socially conscious products and experiences to help support the charity and give people the opportunity to make an impact through everyday choices.”

Local and global communities face issues like climate change (think epic floods, droughts, fires, and hurricanes), food and water security, mental health, income inequality, and more.

And Craig will be giving a call to action to Canadians to share how communities can come together to build a future. His challenge focuses on:

  • Building diverse and inclusive communities
  • Creating opportunities for learning, dialogue, and relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians
  • Enabling youth to take action, and
  • Reducing negative impacts on the environment and reinvesting in our natural systems.

Craig’s activities are part of a large WE movement and their goal is to provide people with the tools to do good, improving their local and global communities through social action.

A social enterprise is an organization that sells goods or services to help achieve community, social, or environmental initiatives. It can be for-profit or not-for-profit, but a majority of the profits must be directed to achieving social objectives.

Here are a few small, local examples.

  • One Big Table – a grocery coop, caterer, and general store serving only local food. They also partner with the John Howard Society to create opportunities for people who have challenges in securing meaningful employment.
  • Okanagan Makers – a collective of artists, designers, engineers, entrepreneurs and techies embrace creative collaborative, peer production, and skill building
  • OGO Car Share – a coop that enables access to cars without ownership
  • Change Gamers – a technology company has created a safe, online platform to inspire and empower youth to take action on community, social, and environmental challenges
  • Purppl (PURposeful PeoPLe) – a social enterprise accelerator that helps social entrepreneurs build predictable, sustainable business models
  • Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the Okanagan – a charity that runs social and emotional learning programs for thousands of local children; primarily funded by their social enterprise partnership with Value Village

Large organizations are also changing the way they work on tough community challenges. KPMG spearheaded the WE are Canada Guide for Families with Craig Kielburger and sponsored his talks nationally. Urban Systems started a social enterprise called Urban Matters which works on social innovation readiness for governments and community organizations. Dymon Storage is significantly intertwined with Shoe Bank Canada to collect and distribute shoes in Eastern Ontario.

Craig’s call to action will inspire many and will bring some welcome attention to a growing movement of people and organizations who are using social enterprise models to create positive social change.

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