We know that many supports for small businesses, investment providers and funds are rarely designed to support not-for-profits, or they come with red tape that makes it hard for small suppliers to access those opportunities.
To respond to this gap, we launched the Seal the Deal Fund in June 2022 to support social enterprises, diverse owned businesses and other social value suppliers who needed grants or loans of up to $15,000 to help secure contract opportunities and grow their impact.
We like to think of this grant program as a ‘last mile to the contract’ fund, giving enterprises the fuel they need to take off on a new business endeavour.
But don’t just take our word for it! Since June, we have awarded 13 organizations with grants or loans that will enable them to “seal the deal” on important contracts.
Early stories of impact
One of those fundees is Do Good Donuts, a social enterprise donut shop in Toronto that was created to hire young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities for on-the-job training.
Do Good Donuts received funding which enabled them to take on a large catering contract with Toronto Metropolitan University, handing out 400 donuts at a fair the University was hosting.
Here’s what Melanie Coté, Founder of Do Good Donuts, has to say about their experience:
“With these funds, we were able to scale up for the day to meet the catering request, purchase the material we needed to make 400 donuts, and to rent the space we needed to complete the job.
This was an amazing opportunity for Do Good Donuts. At the event, we were approached by many students and staff who were eager to hear more about our social enterprise. We’re very excited to have received a number of inquiries from students and staff from the School of Social Work who are interested in work-placement opportunities with us. Plus, our employee Amanda had a blast meeting everyone at the Fair.
“It can be so hard for emerging enterprises like ours to say yes to larger catering orders, because there are always trade-offs. We have to ask, if we rent the kitchen, call in our staff and secure the materials, will we have the staffing and resources to run our regular market shifts? This funding made it possible to rise to the challenge and shine – we were able to give our trainee employees an extra work opportunity, put our product in front of 400 potential new customers, and work on systems and processes that will make the next opportunity easier to execute, all while making valuable connections on the ground at the event.
We met people who want to volunteer to support our work with disabled youth, people who want to order our donuts, and it opened the door to a connection that could lead to a consistent stream of co-op social work students… you can’t put a price on that.
Thank you Buy Social Canada! We genuinely could not have done this without you.”
Another Certified Social Enterprise which received funding through the Seal the Deal Fund is the WITS Programs Foundation. The WITS Programs Foundation is a Canadian charity dedicated to nonviolence in society, safe school and community environments for kids, and providing children with the tools to respond to negativity. They sell training and education programs and services that support their mission.
WITS Programs Foundation (WPF) is in the process of developing agreements that affect its own and others’ abilities to generate funds via their intellectual property, copyright and trademark rights.
“Seal the Deal funding is helping us create professional contracts that will affect our work in all areas of Canada. This includes our work with Travis Price, global advocate and co-founder of Pink Shirt Day.” – Andy Telfer, Executive Director
They are using funds for legal fees to develop intellectual property contracts that will have medium and long-term effects on their ability to generate funding.
The Compost Education Centre was able to use funding for a contract which is not yet public. The Compost Education Centre is a non-profit organization providing composting, waste diversion, and ecological gardening education to residents of the Capital Regional District (CRD) and Greater Victoria, British Columbia.
“The Seal the Deal Fund could not have come at a more impactful time for the Compost Education Centre. Through funds provided through Seal the Deal, the organization has been able to collaborate with experts to respond to time-sensitive opportunities and bring our best work to the table because of this support.” – Alexis Hogan, Executive Director
Goodly Foods, a Certified Social Enterprise which sells soups to retail customers, food service and post-secondary institutions, is using the funding to buy a pricy line blender which will streamline their process when making blended soups, and increase their ability to deliver on multiple contracts to existing and future clients.
“The line blender will allow Goodly to create a more efficient soup production process, reducing food safety risks, improve overall quality and a reduction of the cooking time of a batch of delicious Goodly soups. We are extremely thankful to Buy Social Canada and the Seal the Deal Grant for their support in the growth of Goodly Foods. Truly souper and goodly.” – Aart Schurman Hess, CEO
Are you a social enterprise, diverse-owned business or social purpose organization who needs financial support, consulting or expert advice to take advantage of a contract opportunity?
Learn more about the Seal the Deal Fund, and apply today!