New Group to Cultivate Peterborough’s Social Economy

Kawartha Social Economy Network will promote social procurement and social enterprise


Graphic essay by Yvonne Hollandy.

A new social economy network in Peterborough is rallying people from Peterborough social justice, environmental, and local food movements to the possibilities social procurement could bring to life here.

Two weeks ago, Peterborough city staff delivered a report and recommendation, as requested by city council, exploring social procurement in other cities and steps Peterborough could take in that direction. The report recommended funds be committed to designing and implementing social procurement in Peterborough. City council is to debate that recommendation at an upcoming meeting.

Social procurement is a mechanism for building community capital, including economic capital, and generating intentional community benefits.

Social procurement is a mechanism for building community capital, including economic capital, and generating intentional community benefits. As social procurement flows new revenues to social enterprises, they are able to achieve increased social-value goals such as hiring people with barriers, creating training and employment development opportunities, advancing diverse culture, enhancing social inclusion, or contributing to local economies.

With social procurement taking root in Peterborough millions of dollars in local funds could be channeled to enliven local capacity in these and other areas.

The new formed Kawartha Social Economy Network (KSEN), convened by Joëlle Favreau of the YWCA’s Nourish program and Ralph Gutkin of Clean Slate Enterprises, is an open network and includes members from diverse local movements.

Ralph says the group’s next step is to inform community members about social procurement and advocate for its adoption by the City of Peterborough. Ralph says KSEN will advocate for as much public engagement in the design and delivery process as possible.

KSEN coalesced following a visit from David LePage, a managing partner of Buy Social Canada, a Vancouver-based organization that promotes social procurement.

While David was in Peterborough this January, he met with city councillors, social enterprise stakeholders and citizens interested in learning about social procurement.

Ralph says KSEN is unique among local networks.

The group itself is an intersection of environmental and social movements. 

“I don’t know of another local group that has the same focus we do, and that is focusing on social procurement,” he says.

Illustration is a portion of the graphic essay from the Jan. 22 Social Procurement event by Yvonne Hollandy. Click here to see the full version.

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