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Social return on investment at Inspirations Studio

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journal contribution
posted on 21.05.2021, 16:01 by Agnes Meinhard, Christina Butty, Theresa Morin
Inspirations Studio is a “micro-business incubator for low income women who have been impacted by poverty, homelessness, trauma and mental health issues (About Us, n.d).” The Toronto nonprofit social enterprise helps its members ‘learn pottery and business skills so that they can earn income’ (About Us, n.d). The women members are self-employed, operating independent micro-businesses; at the studio they learn to make pottery and to run a business, sell the pottery they make, and use the income from the sales to better their lives. Although the women retain most of the earnings from the sale of their Inpirations-made pottery, they also pay the studio a fee for use of its facilities and clay materials. Because it is business with a social purpose – to teach disadvantaged women to make and sell pottery and by so doing, enhance their well-being, and commercial - to create and sell quality products – it is considered to be a social enterprise. A recent case study of the organization found that, for a relatively low budget operation, Inspirations Studio generates enough benefits to its stakeholders to make it well worth the investment in the social enterprise (Meinhard, Lok & O’Connor, 2014). The case study used a systems-analytic, value-proposition framework to identify the elements and relationships necessary to create and deliver value to the stakeholders of the organization.
Keywords: CVSS, Centre for Voluntary Sector Studies, Working Paper Series, TRSM, Ted Rogers School of Management

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