Business Plan Competition for 2015 is now open!
The mission of the Toronto Enterprise Fund (TEF) is to be a leader in supporting the development and sustainability of social enterprises that result in improved community involvement, economic participation, and quality of life for people who are socially marginalized.
Since 2000 TEF has funded 47 social enterprises that have employed over 2,500 people who are:
• Living with mental illnesses or other disabilities;
• Newcomers and refugees;
• Youth from disadvantaged backgrounds;
• Receiving social assistance;
• Living in social housing; or
TEF provides seed funding to three startup social enterprises per year, and annual operating grants to a portfolio of existing social enterprises that have previously received seed funding. To assist these enterprises become sustainable, we offer extensive business development supports, and we measure our impact through ongoing evaluations. To help create an enabling environment for social enterprises to thrive, we engage in research and dissemination, and extensive sector building activities.
To apply for funding from TEF, your organization must join our Business Plan Competition. Proposed social enterprise concepts for the Competition must:
• Generate revenue through the sale of a product or service*; and
• Provide transitional or permanent employment to people who are marginalized** in order to connect them to meaningful permanent employment***; and
• Be in the planning stages or have been operating for less than 12 months or have previously participated unsuccessfully in a TEF business plan competition.
*Please check our list of social enterprises currently funded by the Toronto Enterprise Fund to see if the product or service you plan to sell would put you in direct competition with one of them. If you may be in competition with a TEF funded enterprise, please contact Shahil Thomas to check your eligibility.
**People who are marginalized are people with multiple barriers to employment. They experience a combination of personal and systemic challenges that constrain their involvement in the mainstream labour market.
***Permanent employment is not temporary or transitional, and can be full- or part-time employment in or outside the enterprise, self-employment or returning to full-time studies
Who is eligible to apply?
To obtain funding from the Toronto Enterprise Fund, you must:
• Attend TEF’s mandatory workshops (person responsible for social enterprise)
• Be an incorporated non-profit organization
• Have a charitable status, or if not, be sponsored by a charitable organization
• Be managed by a volunteer Board of Directors or Steering Committee
• Be located and operating in the City of Toronto
• Operate in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code
Organizations not eligible for funding include:
• Privately-owned businesses
How to apply?
- Submit a cover sheet, a comprehensive business plan, a feasibility study and a financial plan using TEF’s templates.
- Have related documents attached (checklist).
- Submit electronically to Heba Wahby by October 9, 2015
How will the applications be assessed?
Completed submissions will be reviewed by TEF’s Funders’ Committee who will shortlist up to six finalists based on these criteria:
• The viability of the business idea/concept and the feasibility of the proposed work
• The prospects for the long-term sustainability of the proposed enterprise
• The readiness and capacity of the organization to start up and operate a social enterprise
• The match between the proposed business, the work, the skills and capacity of the target population, and the capacity of the organization
• The level of participation of the organization’s Board/Steering Committee and senior management in the business planning process
• The demonstrated experience of the organization in implementing and managing a social enterprise, a community economic development (CED) initiative or a comparable project
• The demonstrated experience of the organization in working with the target population
• The fit of the concept with the Toronto Enterprise Fund’s priorities and objectives
• Receive detailed feedback on their business plan
• Resubmit a revised plan based on the feedback
• Receive a site visit by TEF staff
• Present their plan in person to a panel of volunteer judges
The panel of volunteer judges, which includes representatives from business, funders, social enterprises and academia, will decide on seed funding awards based on how closely each finalist meets TEF’s business, social and organizational criteria:
• The long term prospects for the enterprise to generate sufficient revenue from sales to cover business costs
• A defined market for the products or services being produced or delivered by the enterprise
• The costs of starting up and operating the enterprise
• A business model that fits the type of business and the market of the proposed enterprise
• The prospects for participants from the target population to achieve positive employment outcomes
• The number of participants supported relative to the funding request and the cost of operating the enterprise
• The level of support offered to participants to help them obtain and maintain employment
• The inclusion of transition strategies for participants moving, or wishing to move, from the proposed enterprise to mainstream employment
• The organization’s willingness to involve participants in designing, starting and operating the business
• Clear and direct leadership from the organization for the enterprise
• The long term capacity of the organization to sustain the enterprise through grant revenue and earned income
• The presentation of realistic activities and timeframes in the business plan
If your application has been approved:
Successful recipients will be required to sign a legal funding agreement with United Way Toronto (TEF’s administrative funding partner) which will specify the project details to be funded by TEF, and set out the requirements for financial record keeping, reporting and a review to be conducted by TEF to ensure that funds are used for the purposes for which they were granted.
Please contact Shahil Thomas to discuss any aspect of the Business Plan Competition.