Eastern Canada’s first Social Enterprise Accelerator program gathered a cohort of individuals and organizations from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in the early stages of launching a new social enterprise and provided them with mentorship, expertise and investor exposure as part of a six-month program that started in January 2014. Participants in the new B4Change Social Enterprise Accelerator celebrated their graduation at a Demo Day in Fredericton, New Brunswick, earlier this week.
B4Change participants participated in training sessions offered by leaders such as Lisa Hrabluk who is a writer, entrepreneur and founder of Wicked Ideas. Mentor matches were created with seasoned business professionals including Marcel LeBrun, senior vice president for Salesforce Radian 6.
The Pond-Deshpande Centre in New Brunswick bridges the gap between challenges facing social entrepreneurs — lack of funding resources, lack of connections, lack of support network — and the creation of sustainable, scalable social enterprise. “We are very pleased to welcome Nova Scotia-based CEED (Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development) on board as our collaborative sponsor for social enterprises,” says Karina LeBlanc, Executive Director at the Pond-Deshpande Centre.
“The B4Change program is a great example of like-minded organizations working across geographic boundaries to support entrepreneurs who are passionate about building profitable businesses that will ultimately change the world. We like to call it “the business of good,” says Heather Spidell, President and CEO at CEED.
CEED, with support from the Province of Nova Scotia’s Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism sponsored two social enterprises from Halifax, Nova Scotia to participate in the B4Change cohort.
Fadi Al Qassar, Uganda Venture
Uganda Venture is an Atlantic Canadian social enterprise working in rural Uganda to bring individuals, families and communities out of poverty. They build safe schools, support orphans in Uganda and provide entrepreneurs with business ideas with access to capital through a micro-credit loan. For more information: www.ugandaventure.com
Kristy O’Leary, Scout & Burrow
Scout & Burrow is a full service advertising agency with the unique mission to Market What Matters. They help their clients communicate and create profitable social impact. Scout & Burrow recently become a certified Benefit Corporation. For more information: www.scoutandburrow.ca
For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:
Karina LeBlanc, Pond-Deshpande Centre
Phone: 1.506.451.6923 | www.ponddeshpande.ca
Caitlin Jarvie, CEED
Phone: 1.902.401.6699 | www.ceed.ca
“I think B4Change was a pivotal experience for me and for Uganda Venture because we were connected with other socially minded entrepreneurs in Atlantic Canada, received mentorship and training and had many opportunities to meet successful people in the space to get drive and inspiration. So glad we did it this year and if I could go back would it all over again!” Fadi Al Qassar, Uganda Venture
“As someone without a business background the B4Change Accelerator provided me with the resources and connections to help drive my initiative forward with confidence.” Philip LeBlanc