A little over two years ago, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (now Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)) launched the Government of Canada’s inaugural Call for Concepts for Social Finance (the “Call”) at the Social Finance Forum in Toronto, giving Canadian organizations and individuals the opportunity to present their innovative ideas on how the Government could best address the country’s social challenges.  In its paper entitled Harnessing The Power Of Social Finance, ESDC, in addition to profiling fifteen promising concepts that emerged from the Call, summarized several key steps that the Government has committed to taking with a view to bolstering social finance in Canada; one such step was to work with partners in an effort to create opportunities to sharpen some of the concepts presented at the Call and develop investment-ready pilot projects.  

Keeping to its promise, the Budget announced that ESDC will introduce a new social finance accelerator initiative.  The Budget reiterated the Government’s recognition of the important role that social entrepreneurs play in addressing complex societal issues and the reality that social finance is an innovative approach that delivers both social value and economic return by mobilizing multiple sources of capital.

The Budget states that the new social finance accelerator initiative will be designed to help 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 designed to help fast-track promising social finance ventures to a greater stage of investment readiness.

The Budget does not indicate the level of funding that will be provided for this new initiative.  In order to take advantage of this initiative, social entrepreneurs and organizations interested in pursuing activities in this space should watch for information and further announcements from ESDC.