Having recently arrived in Canada, I am inspired by the first people of this land who created a wampum (covenant) called The Dish with One Spoon. And grateful to meet so many people here in what was first called “Tkaronto” who are moved to honour this treaty made between the Anishinaabe, Mississaugas, and Haudenosaunee, where nations entered into an agreement to protect the land and responsibly care for its resources in harmony together.

Winter 2024 offer: Free coaching and mentorship for Canadian social entrepreneurs

So in the spirit of sharing, I have joined the local Centre for Social Innovation which “catalyzes, inspires and supports” putting people and planet first. My vision is to share my heart, skills and experience with social entrepreneurs who seek to earn a living while making the world around them a better place. And I have volunteered to donate some of my time and energy to supporting local leaders and leadership teams for free in the winter of 2024.

How startups fail – or succeed

The environment or culture of any organisation has a huge impact on the outcomes it achieves. I can help leaders strategically design and create an inclusive culture that supports innovation. This means getting good at working constructively with the conflicts that arise when you bring together people who are different, in service of a challenging business goal.

One of the most common reasons that startups fail is poor alignment amongst a broad set of stakeholders, from funders to leaders to team members and service partners and community activators. My background in systemic leadership and team coaching provides an excellent foundation for helping Canadian social entrepreneurs thrive in 2024.

My own Harvard Business School training really brought home to me the fundamental importance of prodding deeply at the value proposition of any organisation. Basically, whether non-profit or for-profit, you’re the people you serve to divert some of their money, time and/or energy in order to get something your organisation offers. It is not enough to have a cool idea – you have to have an offer that is cool enough for people to spend money and/or time on. And to be sustainable, your organisation has to feel worthwhile enough for them to keep choosing to spend time and/or money on it over and over and over again. In a world, especially in its wealthier areas, of almost infinite choices.

First steps to new partnerships

This is my first week in the Centre for Social Innovation and I am already impressed by the energy it generates, and also the network of other social entrepreurship coworking spaces around the Greater Toronto area. Two wonderful social entrepreneurs are already taking up my free offer and I look forward to working with them and others, building the networks of support and prosperity that contribute to a healthier future for all.

I’ll report back on what I am learning from the process in due course.