The Budget on April 22 announced that Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) will introduce a new social finance accelerator initiative. The Budget recognized that social finance is an innovative approach that delivers both social value and economic return by mobilizing multiple sources of capital.
ESDC managed the Government of Canada’s inaugural Call for Concepts for Social Finance (or the “Call”) at the Social Finance Forum in Toronto. This Call gave Canadian organizations and individuals the opportunity to present their innovative ideas on how the Government could best address the country’s social challenges.
The Harnessing The Power Of Social Finance document summarizes the Government approach to social finance in Canada. One of the profiled projects in the document is Mouvement des Caisses Desjardins’ microcredit program, a concept that provides interest-free loans, longer payback periods and business training to underserved entrepreneurs.
The Budget states that the new social finance accelerator initiative will help the most promising social finance proposals become investment ready, attract private investment and turn social entrepreneurs’ proposals into action. The initiative will consist of workshops, advisory services, mentorship, networking opportunities and investor introductions.
The Budget does not indicate the level of funding that will be provided for the Social Finance Accelerator Initiative. Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada will pay close attention for further announcements from ESDC to help co-ops and mutuals benefit from this initiative.