Not Living Up to Their Billing: A Population Survey of Social Purpose Businesses in Ontario, Canada

Ray Dart | Ann Armstrong | Erin Clow

EMES Conferences Selected Papers Series, ECSP-B08-19
Thematic line: Social entrepreneurship and social enterprise

This paper reports results from the first population survey of social purpose businesses (“SPBs”) ever undertaken. In Ontario, Canada, Based on a survey of 82 organizations which fit the operational definition of our research, we found a relatively small number of “typical” or definitional SPBs and a larger number of variant types.

Within the core SPB population, we found relatively small organizations with relatively low financial and organizational stability, and a surprisingly high reliance on and competitive locus towards, governmental grant funding.

Overall, in this survey SPBs do not fit stereotypes as innovating, revenue generating new wave problem solvers, and do not profile as significantly distinct from smaller community-based non-profit human service organizations.

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