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What is Social Innovation?

In the quest to understand social innovation – and even more so the terms that fall within the sector – you will be met with countless definitions. Many will simply say it is about addressing social and environmental challenges in new ways.

Others will say the innovation must be systems-changing: permanently altering the behaviours, perceptions, and attitudes that gave rise to the social challenges.

Still others will offer a more nuanced description and say that social innovation is not a noun, it is a verb. For example, it is not the farm that was planted in the middle of an urban city that is the social innovation, it is the community committing to purchase the local food they are growing.

Our advice? Don’t get too hung up on definitions. The range of definitions is part of what is so, well, innovative about the space. It’s changing, growing and expanding, just as the sector is. One thing is certain:

B.C. is among the world leaders in social innovation, and this is due in large part to the BC Partners for Social Impact.

Our partnership represents a wide and diverse cross-section of B.C.’s population, including leaders in non-profits, businesses, universities, community groups, and government. It is an essential partnership because no one organization can solve our tough social challenges. But together, we can advance impact for our organizations, our community, and ourselves.
 

Social Finance

Social finance is an approach to managing money that sits in between a charitable donation and a loan, enabling business owners with a social mission to create greater impact than through traditional philanthropic support or government contributions. Learn about what's happening in the social finance sector by visiting our Explore section.
 

Social Enterprise

Social enterprise is an innovative business model that is changing the nature of enterprise. Like any other business, the goal of a social enterprise is to make a profit, but it’s how that profit is used – to achieve social, cultural, community, economic or environmental outcomes – that puts it apart from traditional models. Learn about  what's happening in the social enterprise sector by visiting our Explore section.

From our blog

May is Social Enterprise Month! Join in learning events, conferences, galas, and workshops across B.C.

Posted on: April 27, 2016

Social Enterprise Month celebrates and promotes awareness of B.C.’s growing social enterprise sector: businesses (non-profit and for-profit) and co-operatives that have a social purpose. Thanks to the collective efforts of the BC Partners...

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