Social Enterprise Northern Ontario, or SENO, has supported over 40 startups in Northern Ontario since its inception through its CoStarter For Change program.
SENO is a collaborative project between NORDIK, the Social Enterprise and Entrepreneurship (SEE) Northern Region Partnership in Sault Ste. Marie and PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Their funding has enabled them to extend SENO for two more years.
SENO is a micro-loans and grants program to support capacity building for social enterprises. SENO supports the creation of either for-profit or not-for-profit businesses rooted in addressing issues that matter to people and the planet. SENO supports entrepreneurs in developing their ideas into viable initiatives that sustain economic development and pioneer social innovation.
Aspiring entrepreneurs apply for funding with an idea, workplan, budget and a basic business plan, committing to working full time for at least 12 weeks in the program. If successsful, small grants or a combination of grant and loan provides modest startup funding for things like rent, equipment, materials and labour. The program involves weekly workshops/training sessions, consistent communication with a mentor/advisor, participation in peer-to-peer events, and setting and meeting milestones for each social enterprise.
The project catchment area stretches throughout Northern Ontario from Parry Sound west to the Manitoba border.