A landmark international agreement to grow and sustain social enterprises in Scotland and Canada has been announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP.
The Social Enterprise Academy (SEA), the body providing learning and development for the sector in Scotland, has launched a new partnership with the Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDNet) supported by Toronto’s Learning Enrichment Foundation and the SNP Government.
Both countries are globally renowned leaders in social enterprise – businesses focused on creating positive change by reinvesting profits and finding innovative new business models – and the collaboration will involve sharing expertise and skills.
The First Minister made the announcement on a two day visit to Canada last week to strengthen business links between the two countries. She undertook trade and culture engagements in Ottawa and Toronto including opening the SNP Government’s new office in Ottawa, a meeting with the Toronto Region Board of Trade and opening trade at the Toronto Stock Exchange.
The First Minister furthermore hosted a Scotland is Now reception in Ottawa to officially launch the new office and the global marketing campaign to a Canadian audience for the first time.
Ms Sturgeon said:
"Scotland and Canada are already known as social enterprise nations. Through this exciting partnership, we will be able to share our collective skills and expertise to support people tackling social and environmental challenges in communities at home and around the globe.
“In Scotland, our expertise has been developed through a series of initiatives, such as hosting the Social Enterprise World Forum, our ten-year Social Enterprise Strategy, and funding for a specialist business support service for social enterprises.
"By working together to exchange knowledge and promote business models that contribute to the common good, we can take further steps to improve the lives of those in our countries and further afield.”
Mike Toye, Executive Director for CCEDNet, said:
“The SEA model for community leadership, learning and innovation is a powerful tool for social and economic change. We are pleased to partner with SEA International to accelerate the growth of inclusive and sustainable organizations and communities across Canada and around the world.”
The SEA is based in Edinburgh with learning facilitators across Scotland providing transformational leadership and entrepreneurship development programmes for social enterprise and non-profit leaders and young people.
Serving people leading sustainable change in communities across Scotland since 2004, the SEA is now operated by local partners in 12 countries worldwide including Australia, China, Pakistan, Malaysia and Malawi.