The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World

by Jacqueline Novogratz

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Let My People Go Surfing

by Yvon Chouinard

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The Art of Non-Conformity

by Chris Guillebeau

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It’s About Damn Time: How to Turn Being Underestimated Into Your Greatest Advantage

by Arlan Hamilton

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Communities

Social Venture Institute

As discussed in the book, SVI is my ‘spiritual home’ as a social entrepreneur. It is a community dedicated to social justice, sustainability and all manner of impact. It’s a series of conferences and related social events, as well as a vibrant and very useful email list that goes out to its likeminded alumni. Readers may also enjoy connecting with its sibling, Social Change Institute (SCI), which is more oriented towards non-profits. SVI Women is equally highly recommended.

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SHEEO

I cannot say enough good things about SHEEO as a resource and community for women and non-binary entrepreneurs and those who wish to support them. Even better, SHEEO is international, not just in Canada, and there is a massive amount of content available online.

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Echoing Green

Through Fellowships and other innovative leadership initiatives, Echoing Green spots emerging leaders and invests deeply in their success to accelerate their impact. Echoing Green provides seed-funding and leadership development to a new class of Fellows every year and welcomes them into a lifelong community of leaders.

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Zebras Unite

Zebras Unite was the first group I am aware of that thoroughly articulated the case for championing ‘small’ business, flipping the classic paradigm of the ‘Unicorn’ entrepreneur/venture in their groundbreaking article “Zebras Fix What Unicorns Break” (essential reading, if you have not already seen it).

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Economics

Indigenomics Institute

Indigenomics welcomes you to an Indigenous worldview. It brings to the forefront human values and local economic practice. Indigenomics draws on ancient principles that have supportedIindigenous economies for thousands of years, and works to implement them as modern business practices.

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Community Wealth

Community Wealth offers a cornucopia of information about innovative community wealth building strategies throughout the United States, including ESOP, impact investing, co-ops, Community Development Corporations (CDCs) and much more.

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Doughnut Economics

Humanity’s 21st century challenge is to meet the needs of all within the means of the planet. The Doughnut of social and planetary boundaries is a playfully serious approach to framing that challenge, and it acts as a compass for human progress.

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Criterion Institute

Criterion is a nonprofit think tank that works with social changemakers to demystify finance and broaden their perspective on how to engage with and shift financial systems.

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Education

Groundswell

Billing itself as an “Alternative Business School”, Groundswell is how I imagine SVI being if it had a permanent home. I feel deeply aligned with their philosophy that entrepreneurs are built from the inside out. In other words, it’s not just the soundness of someone’s business idea, it’s the inner process that needs to be considered first as the foundation for a successful venture.   

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Spring

Spring bills itself as a “global incubator, accelerator and advisory firm that helps impact entrepreneurs, investors and entrepreneurial ecosystem builders thrive.”

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THNK School of Creative Leadership

THNK is an Amsterdam-based executive education institute that seeks solutions to global challenges through applying business tools and design thinking methodology. It attracts global cohorts composed of an intentional ‘clash’ of corporates and other senior professionals, creatives, and entrepreneurs (social and otherwise) with the stated goal of supporting “leaders to develop innovative solutions to the world’s greatest societal problems.” Highly recommended.

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The Fireweed Fellowship

The Fireweed Fellowship is the first national accelerator program for Indigenous entrepreneurship in Canada. The program consists of a 10-month-long, immersive, cohort-style fellowship program combining online educational sessions, self-directed on-the-land learning and leadership development. Additionally the program offers peer support, one-on-one coaching, mentorship, pro-bono professional services as well as investment-readiness prep.

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Movements

Slow Factory Foundation

Slow Factory is a 501c3 public service organization operating as an open education institute, independent research lab and new media platform, and a granting and empowerment fund. Primarily but far from exclusively fashion-based, their initiatives and programs focus on circular design, material innovation and addressing social inequity.

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Slow Entrepreneur Movement

When one of the hottest entrepreneurial magazines is called Fast Company, you know that these folks have a distinctly different take. Slow Entrepreneurship is rooted in the belief that, as the founder of your company, your well-being is your greatest priority.

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Post-Growth Entrepreneurship

Post Growth Entrepreneurship (PGE) reframes business as a form of activism, art, spirituality, and creative expression. This business model embraces flat growth curves and rejects the need for investors, scaling, and exits. PGE questions entrepreneurial “common wisdom” and re-envisions business as a vehicle for pure positive impact. Offers events, research, education and community to (aspiring) post-growth entrepreneurs.

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Resources

Hella Social Impact

Where does your initiative stand on racial justice? Take the Hella Racial Justice Spectrum Assessment and find out. Hella Social Impact exists to Notice, Name, and Dismantle™ systems of white supremacy, patriarchy, and other forms of oppression that marginalize, exclude, exploit, and harm Black and Non-Black People of Color (NBPOC).

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Centre for Social Innovation (CSI)

How I wish we had one of these in Vancouver! If you’re in Toronto or New York, though, you’re in luck. They are basically hubs where you can connect with likeminded community ventures for events, desk/office space rental, mentorship and more.

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Kanuu Indigineous Innovation

Kanuu is an Indigenous-led social enterprise that provides skill development, coaching, and ongoing support in entrepreneurship for Indigenous Peoples in Canada and beyond.

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StartOut

StartOut’s mission is to increase the number, diversity, and impact of LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs and amplify their stories to drive the economic empowerment of the community.

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Structures

B Corp

B Corp is for mission-driven, for-profit ventures who have plans to grow their impact. It’s a highly respected, international certification available only to ventures following a rigorous assessment of their social and environmental impact. Becoming a B Corp is not a small undertaking, and you need to be serious and meticulous about all aspects of your business practice.

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Cooperatives for a Better World

Cooperatives for a Better World is a not-for-profit, mission-based organization focused on sharing cooperative identity with the world and the difference it makes in local, national, and global communities.

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Start.coop

Start.coop accelerates the growth and development of the next generation of co-operative entrepreneurs with the knowledge, tools, and financing necessary to build businesses that share prosperity among the many, not just the few.

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