Investment Readiness Program Glossary

Social purpose organizations 

Any organization with a mission to advance social, cultural or environmental aims, including: 

  • Registered charities
  • Incorporated non-profit organizations
  • Incorporated non-profit co-operatives
  • Registered market sector co-operatives
  • Registered private social enterprise businesses advancing a social, cultural or environmental mission
  • Registered Community Contribution Companies (registered in British Columbia)
  • Registered Community Interest Companies (registered in Nova Scotia) 

To be eligible for the Investment Readiness Program, social purpose organizations must have registered entity number and a way of, or an intention to, generate income or revenue from the sales of goods and/or services. Organizations that are ineligible for the Investment Readiness Program: 

  • Social purpose organizations that do not currently generate revenue or do not plan to generate revenue from the sales of either goods or services
  • Sole proprietors (a person who is the exclusive owner of an unregistered business, entitled to keep all profits after tax has been paid and is liable for all losses)
  • Commercially focused for-profit businesses (non-mission driven, not social enterprises)

Investment Readiness

A social purpose organization is considered “investment ready” when it is able to obtain and repay an investment from an investor within an agreed upon timeframe. To do so, a social purpose organization must demonstrate a good understanding of investors needs (for things like business plans, financial forecasts and projected impact) and its ability to repay the investment. Investments, for their part, can be received from various sources, including but not limited to financial institutions and intermediaries such as community loan funds, credit unions, Indigenous financial institutions and chartered banks that connect the supply side of the social finance market with the demand side.

Non-repayable capital

The Investment Readiness Program will provide non-repayable capital to social purpose organizations for their social enterprises, enabling them to access various services and supports to support them becoming investment ready. Unlike an investment, non-repayable capital is one-time funding that must not be repaid.

Social finance

Many variations on the definition of social finance exist. In short, it is an approach to managing money that helps create social or environmental returns in addition to financial returns, contributing to the public good. 

Social finance includes investments and loans in infrastructure like social housing, investments in social enterprises, lending to social enterprises, environmental, social and governance investing or investing in socially-responsible and sustainable businesses, microfinance, social impact bonds, social procurement, and community outcomes-based funding.

Social enterprise 

Any organization or business that uses market-oriented production and the sale of goods and/or services to pursue a public benefit mission (social, cultural or environmental). Their public benefit mission are embedded in their objective/mission, their operating model and organizational culture, which differentiates them from other organizations and corporations. Alongside generating revenues through the sale of goods and services, social enterprises simultaneously intend to create a positive impact and measure results in doing so, all the while earning revenue. Organizations that are ineligible as social enterprises for the purposes of the IRP:

  • A for-profit business that donates to a charity.
  • A socially responsible for-profit business. 
    • Note: A socially responsible business seeks to ensure that it operates in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable manner. A social enterprise goes over and beyond the focus of operating in a sustainable manner, by seeking to actively contribute to solving a key social, environmental or cultural issues through the use of a business model. 
  • A for-profit business that sells fair trade products.
    • Note: Selling fair trade products in and of itself is not sufficient to be a social enterprise for the purposes of the IRP. The business must go beyond the selling of fair trade products. For example, establishing direct relationships with producers who are suppliers of the product, or employing or supporting a vulnerable or marginalized population in the local community through the business activities of the enterprise.
  • A consulting business in the health or education sector that is servicing a mainstream population that is not vulnerable or marginalized.
  • Ethical investment businesses that do not serve a vulnerable or marginalized populations.