Investment Readiness Program
Helping Social Enterprise Thrive on Vancouver Island
The IRP Application Portal is currently closed.
The round of funding that closed on October 9, 2020 was the second and final round of this program.
Visit our NEW Victoria Foundation Padlet for a curated list of resources to support social enterprise in BC.
Local Program Results
Over multiple funding rounds, Victoria Foundation supported a total of 27 social purpose organizations with $587,000 of program funding. Locally, Coast Capital Savings supplemented the program by giving $50,000 to be distributed in the form of $10,000 grants to five of the program’s funded applicants.
“Social enterprise will be an important part of our sector’s recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Sandra Richardson, Victoria Foundation CEO. “The range of innovative ideas from the program applicants is truly inspiring and shows that our local organizations are working hard to achieve sustainability. And thanks to Coast Capital’s leadership, this program was further able to strengthen the local sector to ensure its health and resilience into the future.
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.
At the start of 2020, Victoria Foundation supported applicants and awarded $280,000 in funding to social purpose organizations across Vancouver Island. Organizations were invited to apply for $10,000-$100,000 in non-repayable capital to help launch, design, measure and scale their social enterprise and prepare to access investment in Canada’s growing social finance marketplace.
In the second round of funding, Victoria Foundation distributed $307,000 of non-repayable capital to 16 local social purpose organizations, as part of the Government of Canada’s Investment Readiness Program (IRP). All of the organizations, including charities and nonprofits, received capital to operate various social purpose enterprises, which means that they operate a revenue generating business model that involves the sale of goods or services to achieve positive social, cultural or environmental results.
Results from CFC’s first funding round are now available. Applications for the second and final round of funding for CFC’s IRP program are now complete. For more information visit the national website.
What is a social enterprise?
A social enterprise is defined as a business that has specific social objectives that serve its primary purpose.
Social enterprises seek to maximize profits while providing a positive social, cultural or environmental outcome to society.
Social enterprises can include charities and non-profits, as well as co-operatives and for-profits with a social purpose.
What are some examples of social enterprises?
- A non-profit that employs people facing barriers to employment to perform eco-friendly home retrofits
- A charity that runs a catering service and provides culinary training for at-risk youth
- A co-op that offers affordable laundry and delivery service while giving work experience to people living in poverty
- A business that helps local farmers sell their crops and products to consumers at a fair price
- A store that offers local artisans credit to purchase food in exchange for their crafts
Where are the program FAQs and Guidelines?
The program FAQs and Guidelines can be found here.
Who is partnering with the Victoria Foundation to promote this program on Vancouver Island?
The Victoria Foundation is collaborating with 22 partners from across Vancouver Island, including other community foundations, credit unions, educational institutions, economic development groups and other social enterprise specialists and networks. These include:
- Campbell River Community Foundation
- Clayoquot Biosphere Trust
- Metchosin Foundation
- Nanaimo Foundation
- Parksville-Qualicum Community Foundation
- Saanich Peninsula Community Foundation
- Salt Spring Island Foundation
- Saturnina Foundation
- Island Savings
- Coast Capital Savings
- Coastal Community Credit Union
- North Island College
- Gustavson School of Business, University of Victoria
- South Island Prosperity Partnership
- Community Futures Central Island
- Nuu-chah-nulth Economic Development Corporation
- Island Coastal Economic Trust
- Scale Collaborative
- Community Micro Lending
- Coastal Communities Social Procurement Initiative
Why is the Victoria Foundation partnering on this program?
The Victoria Foundation is committed to investing in people, ideas and activities that strengthen our communities. The IRP will strengthen the social enterprise eco-system and the Victoria Foundation is proud to be Vancouver Island’s regional lead of this program.
I thought the Victoria Foundation only funded charities. Why does this program support for-profit businesses?
The Investment Readiness Program is a unique, national funding opportunity for social purpose organizations, including charities, non-profits, co-ops and for-profit social enterprises. The Victoria Foundation is partnering with the Government of Canada to help allocate the funding that they have provided, specifically for social purpose organizations located on Vancouver Island.
How do I apply for funding?
This program is now closed. The round of funding that closed on October 9, 2020 was the second and final round of this program.
- How can I get more information?