I want to share the launch of communityBUILD with you. Why is it worth sharing? Because I believe that it has the potential to bring more social ventures to market that begin to generate revenue and social impact. It will do this in two ways.
Firstly, the focus of the initiative is to catalyze a social innovation ecosystem in York Region, not just provide programming for social venture start-ups. An ecosystem provides the essential fertile soil of supports, expertise, networks, education and resources in which social ventures can grow.
The strongest entrepreneurs will reach into the ecosystem to get what he/she needs. The process is unpredictable and organic but provides a stronger opportunity for resourceful entrepreneurs to succeed. We see this time and time again at ventureLAB, York Region’s Regional Innovation Centre just north of Toronto.
Compass, formerly the Start-Up Genome, has demonstrated the power of venture ecosystems in the technology sector like those in Silicon Valley, Israel or Kitchener-Waterloo. It is worth reading their reports; they’re free.
Secondly, communityBUILD has developed out of the work and collaboration of its four founding partners – York University, Seneca College, ventureLAB and United Way Toronto and York Region. It brings together the different expertise, networks and perspectives of academia, business and entrepreneurship and community development that will, collectively, begin to seed the ecosystem.
Stay tuned. I will share more on the initiative in future blogs.