social venture development

We believe in the power of social ventures to address some of the most pressing social issues we face today. Our unique expertise lies in creating successful social ventures through human-centred design principles, while entrenching business performance and social outcomes throughout the development process. Our aim is, together with social entrepreneurs, to create, launch, and scale social ventures for better outcomes in our communities.

By virtue of our networks and our ability to call on deep expertise from a large community of planners and engineers, our Social Venture Development team focuses on ventures that are in deep alignment with our core strengths and those of our network. These may include such areas as community health, accessibility, renewable energy, water and food security, housing, and inclusion.

Depending on the stage that a social venture is at when our team begins work with them, we generally engage in the following process elements: empathize, create, launch, scale, and after care.

Empathize: Understanding the problem
Creating impactful social ventures begins with understanding the community that you wish to serve. We work closely with you to understand the areas of need, your role as an actor in it, and how to work alongside that community to create sustainable solutions.

Create: Ideate, prototype, and test
Once we have a sense of the problem you want to engage, we work with you through ideation, prototyping, and community-testing cycles to ensure your solutions are market-viable and socially impactful.

Launch: Getting started
Together we develop your business plan, your incorporation and governance model, your legal frameworks, and your preliminary marketing and communications tools. These steps can include securing seed financing, office space, and access to our networks so that you may engage with early potential clients. We also establish a mentoring team of industry experts to help guide you.

Scale: Growing your impact
Once you’ve made it through a successful launch phase, we work to support the scaling of your venture. This includes a scaling business plan, secondary marketing and communications tools, secondary financing and potential for impact-related investment, and extended access to our networks for clients and mentorship.

After Care: Joining the Community
Once a sustainable track record is established, we maintain a strong community-based relationship with your venture. We provide ongoing coaching support and the potential for ongoing access to mentors and clients, including impact investor networks, and the potential for creation and participation in joint events, projects, sales, and impacts.

Social Venture Development looks different every time, and each venture has different needs. Look through our case studies and project descriptions to see what that can look like with different types of social ventures.

Case Study: Universal Access Design Inc.

Most people would likely guess that universal accessibility is not today’s reality – but most people wouldn’t have a grasp on the magnitude of the issue.  Things are set up for the able-bodied majority (or TABs in Stan’s parlance, the Temporarily Able Bodied), its...

Case Study: Purppl

When we launched Urban Matters CCC in 2014 we knew we were going to be active in something we often described as an incubation/acceleration function. Why? In conceiving of our business model we recognized one of the greatest values that we can bring to the ecosystem...

what we’re working on

OGO Car Share Co-Op

OGO, or the Okanagan Car Share Co-Operative, is a car sharing service based in Kelowna, BC. Launched in 2013, Urban Matters CCC ‘cut its teeth’ in social venture development and incubation with OGO, supporting its early development by creatively getting its very first vehicle on the road and successively negotiating with other public vehicle fleets in the Community to further develop the vehicle inventory. OGO has grown from 2 cars and 35 members in 2013, to 13 vehicles and over 450 members today. We were most recently involved with its successful merger with Modo CarShare (out of Vancouver, Victoria, and Nanaimo) to effectively scale its impact. In addition to these highlights, we supported OGO throughout its development with office space, network access and governance support.

Kanuu Indigenous Innovation

Kanuu is an Indigenous led national non-profit society focusing on the development of grassroots Indigenous entrepreneurship, in community. Urban Matters CCC developed the concept in partnership with the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres and the Aboriginal Friendship Centres of Saskatchewan, and all supported prototyping activities with workshops in Indigenous communities in Western Canada. Urban Matters CCC then invested financially in Kanuu’s start-up, developed its initial business plan and incorporation, and further engaged in curriculum development and service delivery throughout 2017. While currently on ‘pause’ as we process some setbacks, we look forward to a bright future for Kanuu.

Universal Access Design

In 2017 Urban Matters CCC partnered with Stan Leyenhorst (formerly of the Rick Hansen Foundation) to support the development of Universal Access Design Inc. (www.uadi.ca), an accessibility consulting and education social venture. Aspiring toward ‘Access for Everyone, Everywhere, All the Time’ Urban Matters CCC provided early stage financial support, mentorship, social venture development expertise, network access and development building, partnership on funded projects together and some early sales development through Urban’s deep connectivity in sectors related to the built environment.

Purppl

Between 2015 and 2017 Urban Matters CCC partnered with Andrew Greer (then of Accelerate Okanagan, a tech accelerator) to support the development and launch of Purppl (PURposeful PeoPLe, www.purppl.com), a social enterprise accelerator. Urban Matters CCC provided early seed funding, mentorship, facilities and equipment, credibility, as well as access to the Urban’s network of potential clients in municipalities and NGOs.

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