"I'm not sure if we have enough chairs!" Charlene Sanjenko said, as the room began to fill up this past Wednesday at the Cedars Inn in Gibsons. And it was true. We didn't. Luckily, our host and event sponsor had some extra chairs in a back room - and everyone was able to find a seat at a table.
It was a great turn-out. Developers, business owners, real estate agents, bankers, mortgage brokers, investors, planners, councillors, showed up in - we have to admit - surprising numbers. Everyone there was genuinely interested in learning more about social enterprise. It's a term that most of us have heard of nowadays, but we don't really know how to define.
Thankfully, our three speakers - Brian Smith from Community Futures, Scott Hughes from Capacity-Build Consulting and Lindsay Cole from Sustainability Solutions - were able to give us all a little more insight into this fast emerging sector. It was also a great chance for the art farm to launch the REACH Initiative - a shared space social enterprise aiming to nurture and build capacity for social entrepreneurs in our community - to the group.
Feedback was overwhelmingly positive. While we're all still trying piece together how social enterprise actually works, and how to integrate these exciting new financing and business models into our local economy more fully, if our Social Enterprise tune-up told us anything, there is a strong appetite for just this sort of change.
Thanks to all who showed up, and everyone who presented. And thanks, once again, to our fantastic initiative and event sponsors: