Systems take time to evolve and I can accept that. But I was born an entrepreneur and it is my calling to identify opportunities. In my opinion, ending poverty and homelessness is an amazing opportunity.
Unlike the pain and struggle that we in the mainstream face, the pain and struggle faced by those experiencing homelessness has little hope today of being transformed into joy through hard work.
The SEAChange Mission
The Social Entrepreneurship Academy for Change Ltd. (SEAChange) is using an innovative business model to transform street youth into Social Entrepreneurs and empower them with the skills they need to avoid a future with the adult homeless shelter system.
By investing in youth who often face insurmountable barriers to finding employment in the mainstream job market, we believe we can organically grow a youth-driven job market that will serve as an attractive alternative to theft, gangs, drug dealing, prostitution, and panhandling.
The Business Case for Calgary
In December 2008, Tim Richter from the Calgary Homeless Foundation said to CalgaryInc magazine,
“Our business model says we’re spending $134,000 per year for every person who’s homeless.” Tim Richter, Calgary Homeless Foundation CEO, CalgaryInc, December Issue 2008, Volume 6, Number 10
For every youth we can help to enter the job market instead of the adult shelter system, we can save Albertans approximately $134,000 per year.
Employing 150 youth translates into a ~$20 million/year savings for Alberta. (150 x $134,000=$20 million/year)
More importantly, by educating our street youth to become entrepreneurs we are contributing to the future economic growth and stability of our great city.
Our experience shows that street-entrenched youth would choose an opportunity to become a legitimate entrepreneur over street life or the mainstream.
“When asked, none of the youth interviewed (during the Calgary Youth, Health and the Street Report) wanted to stay on the street and 90% had goals of gaining better employment, having a family or finding housing. – Calgary Youth, Health and the Street Report (Worthington et. al, 2008)
The youth SEAChange works with are natural entrepreneurs. They desire freedom, independence and self-reliance. They are risk-seeking, innovative and resourceful. By leveraging these facts we can help them become leaders of our business community and put an end to their homelessness permanently.
The SEAChange Business Model
SEAChange is launching a Social Enterprise Incubator for YOUTH in Calgary, Alberta, Canada working hard to transition away from street life and out of homelessness. As part of the holistically designed incubation program, youth will be paid a Living Wage to attend Business School so that they can achieve stability in their lives and obtain technical business skills prior to admittance into the incubator.
To accomplish this goal and to achieve long-term financial sustainability we are working on two business plans. (1) SEAChange Recyclers; Calgary’s convenient and caring alternative for recycling bottles and cans. (2) SEAChange Services; Providing superior offsite office services to save you money.
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