many handsWhat do we mean by the social economy movement? While there exists a very specific, long-standing movement in Quebec with that name, we are using the term more broadly here. A number of factors – including concern over environmental degradation, high unemployment, a failing educational system, isolation of the elderly, and privatization and decline of the welfare state – stimulated the development of more pro-social systems of exchange of goods and services.

Some democratic, collective structures – such as co-ops and credit unions – have existed in Canada for over a century. More recently, other streams of activity with newer names like social enterprise, social innovation and social finance, garnered interest too. Broadly considered, these elements point to a more ‘social’ economy – a redefining of economic activity, with social concern at its core. The interview subjects on this page offer three different perspectives of this overarching movement – impact investing, social innovation and the unique social economy of Quebec. But all share a common goal of humanizing the way we approach business, our economy and our lives.

Learn More About the Issues and Interviews

Social Innovation Generation helps Canadians innovate to overcome large-scale complex social and environmental challenges through change or solution-labs and new forms of cross-sectoral partnerships. A leader in the non-profit sector, Tim Draimin was the founding CEO of Tides Canada Foundation, establishing Canada’s first national support system for social entrepreneurs – Tides Canada Initiatives. He is the author of Canada’s first national study of social entrepreneurship and a frequent advisor to government, non-profit associations and business.

Joel Solomon is Chairman of Renewal Funds, Canada’s largest social venture capital fund with $98m assets under management. He’s also the board chair of Hollyhock, a lifelong learning and leadership centre located on Cortes Island in British Columbia with a mission to inspire, nourish and support people who are making the world better.

Nancy Neamtan is CEO of the Chantier de l’économie sociale, a Canadian non-profit organization that brings together networks of social enterprises (cooperatives and non-profits), local development organizations and social movements. It is the leading voice for the social economy in Quebec.

Tim Draimin

In this digital story Executive director of Social Innovation Generation (SiG), Tim Draimin explains where his passion for social change began and what social innovation is all about.

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In this podcast, Tim Draimin talks about the origins of social innovation, its impact in Canada and what he and others working in the field foresee it will accomplish in the future. He also shares what inspired his long-standing, 30-plus-year commitment to the nonprofit sector.

WATCH: The Extended Interview

Joel Solomon

In this digital story Chair of Renewal Funds, Joel Solomon, reminisces on the path that led him to his passion for impact investing, cleaner money and social change.

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In this podcast, Chairman of Renewal Funds, Canada’s largest social venture capital fund and board chair of learning centre Hollyhock, Joel Solomon shares his life story – one that led him from Tennessee to B.C. and a dedication to investing in social change.

WATCH: The Extended Interview

We’re proud to present a bonus interview with…

Nancy Neamtan

In this digital story Nancy Neamtan, CEO of the Chantier de l’economie sociale discusses her early days in the nonprofit sector and the moments that make her most proud of the social economy movement in Quebec.

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In this podcast, A long-time activist in the nonprofit sector, Nancy Neamtan shares the unique definition for “Social Economy” used in Quebec, explains its long-standing history in the province and looks back on a career dedicated to social change. Not a fan of initiatives that she feels support entrepreneurs over community or labels like “social entrepreneur,” Neamtan makes clear that, “it’s basically about getting the job done.” Plain and simple.