MBO & CHHA-NL partner to address community needs with Social Enterprise

Metro Business Opportunities (MBO) is proud to announce the recipient of their first Support loan – the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association – Newfoundland and Labrador (CHHA-NL). The Association will use the Support loan to create a new Social Enterprise – an Online Learning Portal (OLP) offering e-learning classes and training related to hearing loss and noise awareness.  

For their new Social Enterprise, CHHA-NL worked with Metro Business Opportunities to secure the capital needed to launch their new commercial venture. The OLP initiative will involve creation of an online e-learning platform, development of course content, and dedicated staff to manage the project. The Association has identified a need for this online resource, and plan to sell their courses across the province, and even across the country. Development of the Online Learning Portal will begin in October 2018, with an anticipated launch date of June 2019. The curriculum for the first phase of the project will include an eight-week speech-reading course.     

Pictured accepting their  Support  loan from Bernadette Coady, Social Enterprise Coordinator at MBO (Centre) are Leon Mills, Executive Director with CHHA-NL (Left), and Alison Butler, Coordinator of Education and Awareness with CHHA-NL (Right).

Pictured accepting their Support loan from Bernadette Coady, Social Enterprise Coordinator at MBO (Centre) are Leon Mills, Executive Director with CHHA-NL (Left), and Alison Butler, Coordinator of Education and Awareness with CHHA-NL (Right).

The Support loan is providing a unique opportunity for the CHHA-NL to educate individuals throughout the Province, and the world. In the past, the Association has faced challenges in bringing important learning opportunities, like speech (lip) reading classes, to rural areas of the Province.  Speech reading is a skill that allows those with hearing loss to improve communication skills that are essential for work, social and family relationships, and can improve overall quality of life. This new online learning platform will allow the Association to     reach individuals in their homes, where they can access resources and learn at their own pace.    We are thrilled to be partnering with Metro Business Opportunities to build a platform that acts as both a revenue stream for the Association and as a virtual classroom to bring new learning opportunities to every area of the Province.
— Alison Butler, Coordinator of Education and Awareness, CHHA-NL

 Without the Support program, CHHA-NL would have found few options to finance their Social Enterprise. Most major financial institutions do not provide loans to not-for-profit organizations, and those that do require that the debt be co-signed by an employee or board member. However, the Support program is structured differently. A government-backed loan, Support was created specifically to address this identified lending gap and to foster not-for-profit Social Enterprise development in St. John’s and Mount Pearl. 

Without Support from MBO, this new Social Enterprise wouldn’t move forward. Our Association is doing its part to try to diversify its revenue sources and not be too reliant on the Ultimate Dream Home Lottery, which has been its main source of revenue for over 20 years. Our Association is proud to become the first recipient of funds from this program that supports the development of Social Enterprise in the non-profit and charitable sectors and we commend MBO for offering it.
— Leon Mills, Executive Director, CHHA-NL

This is not CHHA-NLs first foray into Social Enterprise. Their corporate training program Noise: It Adds Up operates as a Social Enterprise, offering training on workplace noise and hearing loss prevention to corporations at commercial rates. This has generated some revenue to support CHHA-NL’s operations and mission. However, the bulk of the Association’s financial support is generated almost exclusively by their annual fundraiser – the Ultimate Dream Home Lottery.

Thanks to their new OLP Social Enterprise, CHHA-NL will see diversification of their revenue streams, and find a new, meaningful way to support their program and services. The new initiative will offer learning and education directly to the population they serve, while generating revenue to support their continuing mission. It is a win-win situation for any organization to be in. 

Canadian Hard of Hearing Association – Newfoundland and Labrador
A non-profit, charitable organization, CHHA-NL offers support throughout Newfoundland and Labrador to people of all ages dealing with hearing loss, providing access to free education, awareness campaigns, and communication programs. The Association also works toward the prevention of hearing loss at home, at work, and at play.

Metro Business Opportunities
Metro Business Opportunities (MBO) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the development of Business and Social Enterprise in St. John's and Mount Pearl. Through business advisory, lending, and training offerings, MBO's knowledgeable team helps potential and existing entrepreneurs of all ages with idea generation, business start-up, and successful growth.

The Support Program:
Launched in 2017, Support fosters Social Enterprise development by registered not-for-profit organizations in St. John’s and Mount Pearl. Offered by Metro Business Opportunities (MBO), Support provides up to $50,000 in financing to start or expand a Social Enterprise. The program includes essential business advice and learning opportunities, allowing organizations to develop the necessary skills for successful management of a Social Enterprise.    

About Social Enterprise:
There are various models for not-for-profit organization funding: government, grants, fundraising, membership fees, etcetera. By offering goods and services for commercial sale through a Social Enterprise, a not-for-profit generates revenue that it can reinvest into achieving its core mandate. This innovative funding model can provide financial independence for an organization, and bring a more entrepreneurial approach to operations – helping the organization remain relevant, maximize efficiency, and achieve their goals.