Approaching as business, reframed ideology, keys to social enterprise success: Gord Tulloch
Michelle Strutzenberger


Edward recently made a first-ever for him trip to New York City, and it was possible in part because of his part-time job with a social enterprise, Don’t Sweat It.

In an interview with posAbilities Today before the trip, Edward described his plans, including rising early on Friday morning, flying and taking in the Statue of Liberty and Ground Zero sites over the weekend.

There was a sense of anticipation mixed with uncertainty over what this would all entail.

But the crux of the matter is, he had a new opportunity in part because of the work he’s able to do with Don’t Sweat It, a branch of the Burnaby organization posAbilities.

Edward says he recycles, gardens and washes cars in his role with the social enterprise. Don’t Sweat It employs 12 crew members as casual workers and three site supervisors.

One of those supervisors, Brooke Oxley, shares what she believes to be the root cause of the business being so far a positive experience for those involved. It stems from the teamwork and great sense of camaraderie that exists.

She says people are building confidence, self-respect and a “great sense of responsibility” through being part of that kind of environment.

Gord Tulloch, a program director with posAbilities, sees significant opportunity in social enterprise to positively change the life experiences of people who have a disability — and society at large.

Key to the success of this, though, is approaching the enterprise with a business mindset.

“There is tremendous opportunity to actually make a hell of a difference if you just apply resources to it like you would a business,” he says.

He also suggests there is some entrenched ideology worth exploring that could further unleash the potential in social enterprise, namely, that people who have a disability working together to provide services to the community could be considered another expression of our post-modern, multicultural society.

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