About seCatalyst

A network of organizations and community leaders building a strong and innovative social enterprise sector on Vancouver Island

 

Working together for a common purpose, seCatalyst collaborates to host a range of networking and professional development events to educate, showcase and build the capacity of Island-based social enterprises

 

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Impact you can count on

Since its inception in 2014, the seCatalyst partners have been making waves in the social enterprise sector across the Vancouver Island Region by delivering a robust program of networking and professional development events. With 14 events, 68 partners, 115+ speakers and presenters and over 4,000 past participants, seCatalyst is creating impact you can count on.

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It all began over a

cup of coffee

In 2014 Kristi Fairholm Mader from Victoria-based Scale Collaborative and Liz Lougheed from Vancity Savings Credit Union were discussing the economic landscapes of their respective cities over a cup of coffee. While the social enterprise movement appeared to be booming in Vancouver, it had yet to take hold in Victoria, and there was no clear reason why. 

Through subsequent community dialogue, a number of individuals reflected that “social enterprise” wasn’t a common term used or understood on Vancouver Island and that support for social enterprise was patchy. Spearheaded by Scale Collaborative, a group of founding partners teamed up to host a gala and series of learning events that would showcase, inspire and support social enterprises on Vancouver Island. This was the beginning of seCatalyst and Scale Collaborative has continued to play the convening role for this growing partnership.

Between 2014 and 2017, seCatalyst stayed true to the network and partnership model through hosting three gala events that saw nine social enterprises pitch for over $100K in funds and in-kind support, and facilitated sold-out Days of Learning that brought together hundreds of attendees from across the Vancouver Island Region.

seCatalyst has been hosted by University of Victoria, Royal Roads University, Vancouver Island University and Camosun College, and is supported generously by local credit unions including Vancity Credit Union and Coastal Community Credit Union. In 2017, seCatalyst also included a day of Indigenous Social Innovation, hosted by the Victoria Native Friendship Centre.

At the end of the first three years, the network looked to address any outstanding gaps in social enterprise support for the region, and identified a specific need for incubation and acceleration support. Post-secondary partners (University of Victoria, Royal Roads University and Camosun College) and community partners (Scale Collaborative, United Way Southern Vancouver Island and League of Innovators) collaborated to build an engaging learning process, and to connect entrepreneurs to ongoing partner supports, such as Futurpreneur and Community Futures Central Island. Through this collaboration the first Social Venture Bootcamp was hosted at Royal Roads University in 2018 and the second took place in Nanaimo in 2019.

Also in 2019, seCatalyst launched a new flagship event, Connect Money Impact, with the goal to bring social entrepreneurs and impact investors together in a learning and networking environment wine anyone? Local Chambers of Commerce from communities across this Island, including Nanaimo and Campbell River, assisted in identifying and bringing their impact members to the event.

The seCatalyst partnership had big plans for 2020, but like so many organizations, these plans were put on pause in order to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. The seCatalyst site was leveraged by partners to communicate the various supports available to the social enterprise sector. Now as we emerge into 2021 and look forward to 2022, we are convinced that more than ever, the Island needs a strong social enterprise sector. We are excited to re-launch in Fall 2021 with a social enterprise acquisition incubator, and look to learning and networking events in Spring 2022!

 

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Social Enterprise Catalyst is convened by Scale Collaborative.  Copyright 2021.

Social Enterprise Catalyst is convened by Scale Collaborative.  Copyright 2021.