Business for Good in Saskatoon

Business bottom lines, social missions, and environmental sustainability. These diverse aims have been traditionally cast as antagonistic, but the growing field of social enterprise includes numerous examples of successful ventures that meet a “triple bottom line” of people, profit, and planet. As written previously on this blog, people and organizations in Saskatoon are starting to explore this exciting area: even better, funders are stepping up to support local social enterprises, perhaps best exemplified by Affinity Credit Union’s Business For Good Social Venture Challenge.

(Full disclosure: Strong Roots Consulting banks with Affinity Credit Union and has done some previous contract work with their Community Development team related to social enterprise, but not on this initiative.)

Earlier this week, Affinity announced the three finalists for their challenge. At stake is a $50,000 prize for the winning organization (Bridge City Bike Co-op, Good Food Junction, and Saskatchewan Environmental Society) to start or scale up their social enterprise idea: a community-owned secondhand bike shop, a cooperative grocery store in one of Saskatoon’s core neighbourhoods, and a solar power cooperative farm, respectively.

Adding a neat spin to the usual contest model, you “vote” for one of the three finalists by making a contribution to their IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign. Although only one will walk away with the grand prize, all three finalists get to keep the money raised on IndieGoGo to use towards their respective projects. A “vote” costs $1 minimum, but being a crowdfunding campaign, there are all sorts of perks for donating more, from virtual high fives to having a veggie cooler named after you.

Saskatoon is a small town, so perhaps it’s no surprise that I know people connected with all three initiatives: I can honestly say that they all deserve your love, support, and donation dollars! It’s going to be difficult for me to decide which one to support. Fortunately, the rules do allow for supporting all three campaigns, so if you don’t believe in playing favourites you can still participate.

For more details, check out their respective IndieGoGo pages and drop a dollar (or more!) before December 8. Since Monday, the three finalists have collectively raised almost $15,000 – here’s hoping that the momentum will continue!

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