Social Enterprise

With the triple hit of the pandemic, declines in donations, and declines in funding, nonprofit organizations have had to review their options for remaining sustainable, including considering social enterprise (some sort of business or commercial activity that financially supports their mission.)

Because there are numerous risks involved in social enterprise, it is important that your organization starts its social enterprise the right way, with a full understanding of the legal and regulatory environment. IntegralOrg has a number of resources for nonprofit organizations to tap into.


Social Enterprise Legal Structures Toolkit

IntegralOrg has launched the Social Enterprise Legal Structures Toolkit to guide Alberta organizations and entrepreneurs interested in developing a social enterprise through the decision-making process of selecting a legal structure.

Because there are numerous risks involved in social enterprise, it is important that your organization starts the right way, with a full understanding of the legal and regulatory environment.  Through this assessment, you will be guided through a series of questions about what kind of organization you have, how it is structured, and what you want to accomplish through your social enterprise. Your answers will bring you to a result - a suggested legal structure.

In addition to the assessment, the toolkit contains definitions of key terms, case studies, and resources to assist with your understanding of important concepts and deepen your educational experience.  


The Legal Possibilites of Social Enterprise for Nonprofits

Social enterprise is one of the options to help nonprofits improve their financial sustainability. Is your nonprofit interested in (or has already embarked on) a social enterprise?

This free workshop is for nonprofits that do not have charitable status (but do qualify for tax exemption under the Income Tax Act) operating in Alberta interested in starting up a social enterprise/business within their organization.

This workshop will provide an overview of how business activities carried out by nonprofit organizations are treated by the law under different Alberta nonprofit statutes and the Income Tax Act, plus legal and accounting considerations nonprofits engaging in social enterprise need to be aware of. Examples of real-life social enterprise models will be discussed.

The workshop will also include a demo of IntegralOrg’s soon-to-be launched Social Enterprise Legal Structures Toolkit. Participants will have the opportunity to ask specific questions, which will result in learning for the whole group. 

Thursday, September 23: 2-3pm

 Register Now


Start Your Social Enterprise the Right Way: A Panel Discussion about Social Enterprise and the Legal and Regulatory Environment

This engaging panel discussion - held on May 6, 2021 - shares how organizations can structure social enterprises and the lessons established social enterprises have learned along their journey. 

Event moderator, Kristina Roberts, IntegralOrg’s Legal Initiatives Manager, is joined by panelists Yvonne Chenier, IntegralOrg co-founder and a charity and nonprofit lawyer with over 40 years of experience; Jane Bisbee, the Executive Director of the Social Enterprise Fund which provides financial support (in the form of loans) to organizations across Alberta that are developing a social enterprise; Kate Beneteau, Director of Finance with Chrysalis: An Alberta Society for Citizens with Disabilities; and Diane Hodgins, CFO of Shorefast, the organization behind a series of innovative community development projects on Fogo Island, Newfoundland.

We invite you to watch the recording of this informative event. 



Shape-Shifters: What happens when social enterprises need to change their legal structure? Kristina Roberts, April 28, 2021

An overview of the structural options for social enterprises in Alberta  Kristina Roberts and Yvonne Chenier, April 12, 2021

A social enterprise journey: Two Wheel View  IntegralOrg: March 29, 2021

Is social enterprise a game-changer for Alberta nonprofits?  Kristina Roberts, March 9, 2021