The Case for Social Enterprises: SEDA Certifies

SEDA has dedicated itself to fostering sustainable economic development in Saskatchewan for the past 40 years. As we celebrate this benchmark in 2024, the organization became certified as a social enterprise by Buy Social Canada.

SEDA has a longstanding culture of self-reliance, which we continually encourage in others. An independent non-profit organization, not funded by the public sector or any granting agency, all revenue is allocated to support the fulfillment of our mandate – to accelerate generational prosperity.

What role does social enterprise have in the future of our communities and province?

Well, the evolving landscape of relationships between individuals, businesses, and communities in Saskatchewan is creating a demand for new opportunities and new options for economic participation. Social enterprises have the potential to play a significant role in all areas of the community, whether urban, rural, or remote. These enterprises can either supplement or replace services typically provided by local municipalities or nations, while also operating as businesses that reinvest all profits into furthering their impact.

As an example, if your community is losing its anchor retailer such as a hardware store or grocery store, coming together as a community-based business or non-profit is one avenue to retain essential services for residents as well as the destination appeal for visitors from the broader region. Furthermore, existing non-profit and charitable organizations are under increasing pressure to diversify their operations, in order of offset ebbs and flows in funding and donations. Resilience must move to the forefront of conversations in all sectors.

Social enterprise has become a widely used term with much ongoing debate over its definition (no universal definition exists in Canada). Very simply, it is a business model that focuses on addressing social, economic, environmental issues – and often serves to fill gaps in community services. Social enterprises can be non-profit or for-profit and are characterized by the generation of revenue through the sale of goods or services.

The key characteristic of a social enterprise is its commitment to reinvesting the majority of its profits into furthering its social, economic, cultural, or environmental mission.

As part of the overall social economy ecosystem, “social purpose entrepreneurs” also play a valuable role in driving innovation to tackle social and environmental challenges, often collaborating with social enterprises to achieve their shared mission of making a positive impact on the world.

Despite the ongoing debate over social enterprise definition and the complementary role of social entrepreneurs, it is important to recognize common ground and build upon it to further advance understanding and adoption of social enterprise in Saskatchewan. By emphasizing the self-sustainability and innovative nuances of this business model, we can better illustrate its’ value and contribution to addressing community gaps and challenges.

Solution-oriented approaches such as social enterprise development have potential to yield significant dividends for Saskatchewan communities. SEDA will continue to support this option as we collaborate with partners to generate transformative breakthroughs in community and economic development.

Scroll to Top