Investment Readiness Program
The Victoria Foundation, alongside Community Foundations of Canada, has awarded $525,000 in funding to 18 organizations as part of the Government of Canada’s Investment Readiness Program (IRP).
The IRP supports organizations that are developing innovative solutions to pressing social, cultural and environmental challenges across Canada. This nationwide $50 million renewed investment made by the Government of Canada supports various organizations. These include social enterprises, non-profits, charities and co-operatives working to strengthen Canada’s social finance market while supporting their communities. Coast Capital also provided $105,900 in funding to support the program on Vancouver Island.
The IRP was open to a diverse range of organizations and businesses, including charities, non-profits, co-ops and social enterprises. The program provided up to $75,000 to create, manage and expand social enterprises in order to get ready to accept investment.
2023 Investment Readiness Program Recipients
|Social Purpose Organization||Amount Funded||Project Description|
|Bike Victoria Society – DBA Capital Bike||$20,500||Scaling Cycling-Education Services with Marketing and Brand Development: Our SPO provides cycling-focussed educational services, the project we are applying for will result in a marketing strategy, branding, and program assets that will prepare us for social finance investment opportunities to scale the program.|
|Cowichan Green Community||$22,600||Cowichan Valley Cidery: Our SPO does support increasing food security for the Cowichan Region, the project we are applying for will generate income to support and expand our initiatives not currently funded.|
|Cow-Op (Cowichan Valley Co-operative Marketplace)||$25,000||Investing in Cowichan: Creating self-reliance for our community’s food system: This project will establish a business plan to increase local delivery capacity, with empowered marketing to connect with community members who share the vision of a co-operative food distribution service benefitting our local food system.|
|Ecologyst||$55,000||Scale the impact: We are building the world’s cleanest supply chain, and the project we are applying for will prepare us for receiving the necessary capital to execute our plan.|
|Food Share Network||$25,000||Setting the Table: Setting the Table will make nourishing food universally accessible in our region’s schools. The project we are applying for will support the business plan and organizational development necessary to grow.|
|Gabriola Island Land Stewards Society||$20,000||Building an investment strategy and a technical support tool: Our SPO acquires land for community benefit projects (affordable housing, farming, and small-scale CED). The project we are applying for will build out an investment model, and identify partners and investors aligned with our mission.|
|Galiano Conservancy Association||$34,600||Determining the Overnight Visitation Capacity of the Millard Learning Centre: Our SPO provides hands-on learning in nature for youth and adults; the project we are applying for will allow us to host more groups through more months of the year, to increase our impact.|
|Hornby and Denman Community Health Care Society||$35,000||Investment Readiness for Hornby and Denman Island Senior Services Delivery: Our SPO assists older islanders to live in their own homes as they age, the project we are applying for will build a comprehensive strategy to enhance these services and maximize investment readiness and sustainability.|
|Nanaimo Brain Injury Society||$24,425||Business Plan for NBIS’ Axis Brain Health venture: Our SPO does brain health programs and services, and the project we are applying for will create a business plan, market analysis and financial model for a new venture that will engage social finance opportunities.|
|REP Here In Canada||$28,000||REP Creative: Our organization drives representation, engagement and participation by and for newcomer and racialized communities and REP Creative will generate revenues that will contribute to our financial viability and help build equity for sustainability and growth.|
|Salt Spring and Southern Gulf Islands Community Services Society||$34,200||Harvest Foods – Building Financial and Operational Efficiencies: Our SPO aims to reduce food insecurity and the project we are applying for will build the business skills we need to operate a profitable social enterprise to help support our charitable work.|
|Scale Institute Society||$20,000||Community Business Trust: Scale Institute supports a strong social economy on Vancouver Island that includes building and supporting community wealth, social enterprise and social finance. The proposed project will present a new approach to building community wealth.|
|SeaChange Marine Conservation Society||$33,000||Development of a ShoreZone Marketing Plan: Our SPO does conservation and restoration work in the nearshore environment of the Pacific Northwest, and our project will provide a solid marketing plan to generate more stable revenue to support that work.|
|The Ita Wegman Association of BC for Curative Education and Social Therapy||$25,000||Feasibility Study for Glenora Farm’s Commercial Processing Kitchen: Glenora Farm offers residential care and day programming for adults with diverse-abilities and this project (a feasibility study) will investigate and plan a proposed commercial kitchen that will expand and create new social enterprise activity.|
|Thetis Island Farm Co-operative||$22,675||Helping Farmers, Helping Community: Our SPO does the important work of addressing food insecurity while supporting farmers, the project we are applying for will provide accessible, nutritious meals to seniors and at-risk community members while reducing food waste.|
|Victoria Community Food Hub Society||$50,000||Building Food Connections: Our SPO aggregates and distributes local farm fresh foods, this project will support expansion of processed product sales through a training and employment service by developing the business model and investment plan.|
|Victoria Native Friendship Centre||$25,000||Marketing the Cowichan Sweater: Marketing the Cowichan Sweater requires capital for branding, logo design, labelling, promotional materials, packaging and commercialization of the product online/in-person so we know how to tell our local, culturally-based authentic Indigenous retail story.|
IRP Volunteer Advisory
As part of our broader goals around this program, Victoria Foundation staff established an advisory of 15 leaders working within the social finance and social impact ecosystems to support the review process of this program. Thank you to the following individuals for their contributions:
- Morgan Yates, Board Director, Metchosin Foundation
- Tanya Smith, Manager, Social Purpose Eco-system, Coast Capital
- Chris Moscatello, Director, Small Business Banking, Coast Capital
- Tara Clark, Small Business Sales Manager, Coast Capital
- Brenda Corbett, Small Business Sales Manager, Coast Capital
- Al Little, General Manager, Nuu-chah-nulth Economic Development Corporation
- Ian Johnson, Director of Investments, Victoria Foundation
- Brian Cade, Community Investment Manager, Vancity
- Basma Majerbi, Associate Professor, UVIC School of Business
- Dawn Bowles, Impact Investment Consultant
- Bridget Warner, Board Member, Community Futures Central Island
- Dr. Heather Hachigian, Asst Prof, RRU Graduate Certificate in Corporate Social Innovation
- Hilary Muth, Special Project & Comms Coordinator, Island Coastal Economic Trust
Local Program Results: 2020 – 2022
Over three funding rounds, Victoria Foundation directed a total of $1.12 million of program funding to 45 social purpose organizations. Coast Capital supplemented two rounds of the program by contributing over $155,000 of the available funding amount.
About the Investment Readiness Program
Funded by the Government of Canada, the Investment Readiness Program (IRP) supports social purpose organizations as they contribute to solving pressing social, cultural and environmental challenges across Canada. Its goal is to help social purpose organizations build their capacity to participate in Canada’s growing social finance market and prepare for the Government of Canada’s broader investment in social finance via the Social Finance Fund.
Community Foundations of Canada (CFC) is proud to serve as one of the IRP’s national funding intermediaries. CFC is collaborating with community foundations, such as Victoria Foundation, across the country to award IRP funding.
IRP National Funding Intermediary
IRP Regional Partner