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Hello, Impatient Entrepreneur :: Please take this survey

Are you a social entrepreneur or intrapreneur working in Canada? I'm hoping you will take a minute to participate in a quick, confidential survey that will inform my graduate thesis, A New Model: Assessing the legal structure for social ventures in Canada. Impatient? Go to the survey.

Confession – I'm an impatient entrepreneur – and it's exhausting. Add to that, I’m a social entrepreneur, so you get a sense of why taking a breath, and why taking the time to study foresight and innovation at OCAD University has saved my entrepreneurial hide.

I typed up my first newsletter for neighbours on an Underwood when I was nine, delivered the Telegram with my brother at dawn, and had written hundreds of weekly indie columns for the Sun by 21. Co-founded a theatre company, launched a social purpose retail business. Breathe. Led the implementation of a national human services information system, became a serial executive director. Danced on the head of a pin.

Sound familiar? Hello, impatient entrepreneur.

I founded Absolutely Diapers! a social franchise dedicated to “green” and alternative options for new parents in 1989. The business took off like a rocket, and I quickly needed to incorporate. The question of for-profit or nonprofit corporation was a big one. Social purpose motivated my sweat equity. Green investments were hot in the early '90s, and my business required rapid and sustained growth. The need to offer share capital tipped the balance. To this day, I can’t say whether I made the right choice.

Whether you are currently leading, have operated, or are planning to launch a social venture – you have likely given some thought to "structural options." For-profit, non-profit, charity, co-operative – to name the obvious.

Well, a lot has been happening while we were at work.

The UK amended the Companies Act 2006 to include Community Interest Companies in 2005. US State-by-State legislative reform began in 2012; to date, 30 States have completed implementation. In Canada, British Columbia amended the Business Corporations Act and passed regulations in 2013. Nova Scotia passed the Community Interest Companies Act in 2016. The Ontario government has conducted public consultations on "Dual Purpose Corporate Structure Legislation: Stakeholder Engagement Report."

In other news, the Ontario Nonprofit Network has championed legislative reform for nonprofits and charities, and the Ontario Not-for-Profit Act will soon come into force. MaRS has led the work to catalyze impact investment in Canada with the report, Mobilizing Private Capital for Public Good: Priorities for Canada.

Given the activity and the opportunity, I've put my impatience on hold and dedicated my grad thesis to exploring the for-benefit corporate model in Canada. I hope you will help by completing the survey.

The survey is entirely confidential, so from my impatient entrepreneurial heart to yours – thank you!

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