The Business of Doing Good!!

Posted on May 20, 2016

By Aleksa Shermack

So what is a Social Enterprise?  Well, it starts with you!  If you’ve ever noticed an issue or challenge in your community, or even globally, and you feel you need to address it and help bring change then you’ve already completed the first step to creating your social Enterprise!

It’s easy to get overwhelmed trying to save the world, so the next step is narrowing down your idea, and focusing on the change you really want to make!  With any business, you want to be able to pay yourself, your employees and grow, of course!  So, we can help you create a revenue stream that is sustainable and get your Social Enterprise off the ground!

Once you’ve brainstormed your idea, and figured out your revenue model then it’s time to start your business plan!  Lucky for you, this is one of the supports that PARO offers!  We can sit with you, and work through the plan, assist with market research and help you fully develop your idea for what will work best for you business. 

Wherever your entrepreneurial journey takes you, PARO will be there...every step of the way!


On Wednesday, May 18th Social Enterprise supporters, project partners and community changemakers gathered at Thunder Bay Live and the Renaissance Cafe in Thunder Bay, and at The Accelerator Hub in Sault Saint Marie to celebrate the second group of participants involved in the SENO Co-Starter for Change Program! 

This event, “Celebrating Changemakers”, gave each participant a chance to promote their Social Enterprise, and to talk about what inspired them to take on such amazing ventures in their community!  Media attended, giving the community great exposure to what Social Enterprise is really about! Interest and knowledge about Social Enterprise is growing throughout the region thanks to programs like this one, and the inspiring Entrepreneurs involved!

Get to know them!! See their information and videos below...Get inspired and create your own....

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Leslie Boote – Mother Nurture (Thunder Bay)

Mother Nurture supports mothers and babies by respecting all parenting methods, and providing personalized pre and post-natal care. Leslie’s social enterprise initiative, the baby box, provides an affordable, convenient and safe sleeping space for babies. The Baby Box is filled with various products to help both mother and baby and also includes items made by local, organic businesses.  Mother Nurture plans to expand services into Northern communities, partner with local organizations, and help low-income individuals access her much-needed services and products.


Lorri Kilborn – A Fresh Start (Thunder Bay)

This social enterprise provides its clients with “A Fresh Start”. Lorri offers hair dressing and styling services at an affordable price to those with limited mobility and other barriers. She also services remote locations and those unable to travel. Lorri seeks to be a constant in a person’s life when health or other personal barriers cause changes to their everyday routines. Whether the barrier is monetary, mental or physical disabilities, transportation or location, patrons are able to maintain a self-grooming and hygiene routine, which boosts their self-esteem and helps to gain or retain a sense of independence.


Tamara DeGagne – Atikokan’s Finest Youth Employment Initiative (Atikokan)

Atikokan’s Finest is a wild harvesting company that has created a Youth Employment Initiative that gives youth in Atikokan an opportunity to build their resume and gain skills for future employment through picking and selling blueberries. Owner Tamara DeGagne is a local youth, who at a young age noticed the lack of job opportunities in her community. She is dedicated to giving youth a positive on-the-job experience and encourages them to pursue their own career path and education, and at the same time is teaching them about safe food handling and sustainability.

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Paul Drombolis & Tony Chiodo – Eat the Fish (Thunder Bay)

Eat the Fish supplies the city of Thunder Bay with wild, local fish from the area. They strive to become a leader in the local fish market; focussing on their brand, creating innovative ways to satisfy the entire local market while raising community awareness to the environmental, social, economic and health benefits of local fish. They will work with youth groups and local food advocates to ensure wild fish remains a secure food resource that future generations can count on a cherish. Owners Paul and Tony are committed to ensuring that local fishermen remain gainfully employed and brining locally sources food to the community.


Kyle Jewett – Sault Skate Part Co-Op (Sault Ste. Marie)

This indoor skate park and lounge will aims to provide an active community space for youth in Sault Ste. Marie. They will be engaging in local community groups and change makers to help create shows and educational programs within the centre. Facilitating youth peer support networks, leadership opportunities, Kyle will work to provide a space for youth to engage in positive activities in their spare time. Kyle is a celebrated change maker who is taking on this large-scale initiative to help youth in his community build better lives and become contributing members of the co-operative.


Sandra Hodge – Great Lakes Basin & Splash Tile (Sault Ste. Marie)

Great Lakes Basin & Splash Tile provides a supportive work environment where creative people can work on life, employment and academic skills while building slay tiles and accessories for kitchen, bath and outdoor living. This social enterprise supports northern manufacturing by sourcing as much of their materials as possible from Northern Ontario. By offering an accommodating environment for people facing barriers to employment, Sandra is working to create a different kind of workplace where employees feel valued and gain transferable skills to help them overcome challenges. Sandra’s unique approach to manufacturing encourages people to shop within the region, while giving her employees a chance to succeed.


Morgan Richter & Kelli Ebbs – Muskoka North Good Food Co-Op: In Season (Huntsville)

This co-op has started a mobile produce & agri-food market initiative. In Season will create access to the best seasonal, regionally produced foods that their area producers have to offer. Using a mobile market concept, meaningful connections between producers and consumers, they will provide employment opportunities, community food literacy and education. Their vision is to create a vibrant and healthy community through good food, to kick-start a thriving regional food economy, and to stimulate community participation. This innovation and creative group of socially minded entrepreneurs are getting people excited about eating local!