Helping Social Enterprise Thrive on Vancouver Island

The IRP Application Portal is currently closed.

The current round of funding that closed on October 9, 2020 is the second and final round of this program. All applicants will be notified on the status of their applications by late December.

Visit the national Investment Readiness Program Initiative page, or for more information.

Visit our NEW Victoria Foundation Padlet for a curated list of resources to support social enterprise in BC.

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.

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 being accepted until October 9, 2020 at 5pm PST. For more information regarding eligibility and program FAQ’s 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.

    More information.

  • 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

    More information.

  • 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
    • Vancity
    • Island Savings
    • Coast Capital Savings
    • Coastal Community Credit Union
    • North Island College
    • Gustavson School of Business, University of Victoria
    • South Island Prosperity Partnership
    • VIATEC
    • 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?

    Interested applicants can submit via the IRP application portal.

    The second round will be open to accept applications starting September 8, 2020 until October 9, 2020 at 5pm PST.

  • How can I get more information?

    For more information regarding eligibility and program FAQ’s visit the national website.

Learn more