Realizing that many do not get a level-playing field in Canadian economic system, Human Endeavour envisioned an innovative approach in 2010 by setting up EPIC: Enterprise Promotion & Innovation Centre. The purpose of EPIC was to create an economy that cares. The plan was to enable ordinary, socially and economically marginalized groups to start social enterprises with the help of socially conscious members of community and thus have access to fair economic opportunities and optimism.
With support from The Ontario Trillium Foundation, Human Endeavour launched EPIC to assist members of community willing to become either entrepreneurs or enter the work force to become active part of society. During 2011, Human Endeavour worked on community engagements, infrastructure, products development, promotion plans and sales channels. Subsequently, several small enterprises were set up who became operational in 2011.
Recently, Human Endeavour has launched a virtual mall to show case the products of the first batch of EPIC enterprises namely Social Enterprise Online Mall. This is a leap forward in creating economic equity and opportunity for those who are unable to benefit from the current economic system and its inequitable structures.
Human Endeavour foresees possibilities with endless frontiers through this initiative and this online mall showcasing products and services from various community groups and social enterprises means a lot to those whose products are available for sale. This is a model to emulate across Canada.
Social Economy model is unique because it is founded on the principles of fairness, inclusiveness, equal opportunity, equity, fair income distribution and community support. However, to improve economic conditions of low income families at a large scale, Human Endeavour needs to build confidence, invoke self-reliance, foster determination, create equitable partnerships and kindle optimism in these communities. The support of socially responsible individuals, organizations, government and businesses who aspire for better conditions for all, holds a key to the success of this model.
As they say, the journey of thousand miles starts with a single step, Human Endeavour believes perseverance and staying the course are essential to eventual arrival at the destination of prosperity for all. “A thousand EPICs across Canada will have an epic influence on transforming the existing indifferent economy to one that cares,” said Arshed Bhatti, an EPIC community advisor.
“Congratulations to Human Endeavour on the launch of EPIC Social Enterprise Online Mall – a simple tool with the potential to move people from poverty to possibility not by focusing on needs, but showcasing strengths and skills. This continues Human Endeavour’s commitment to engaging and empowering people to find new and shared solutions to chronic and deepening social challenges,” said Daniele Zanotti, CEO United Way of York Region.
Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua had these words for the project: “We have a long and strong tradition in our country of social innovation and I would like to congratulate Human Endeavour on the launch of EPIC Social Enterprise Online Mall. The City of Vaughan takes pride in being a community that encourages innovation and opportunity. We have a wealth of diversity and the entrepreneurial spirit is very strong here. This online mall offers people a chance to showcase their creations and ideas and will allow them to achieve their full potential as contributing members of the community.”
“None of the enterprises are investment-heavy so this is a very simple way to really market and sell the products,” Human Endeavour executive director Noor Din said. “If we had to set up a stall in one of the malls, it would cost thousands of dollars a month. So, instead of going in that direction, we thought that’s the way to grow. There will be no limit to what we can do.”
And Human Endeavour has its sights set high.
“If we make this mall successful, if we do the right marketing, if we do the right messaging, then this can become an eBay for social enterprises or community-owned and operated businesses,” Mr. Din said.
“EPIC Mart will contribute to the success of the community. People from all walks of life can feel good about themselves for supporting this cause. I feel proud to be part of this team,” said Shirley GoCool a socially conscious volunteer.
Please join Human Endeavour and partners (Elder Connections, New Hope United Church, Punjabi Community Health Services, RonoSys, Seneca College, Vaughan Citizen/York Region Media Group, Vaughan Business Enterprise Centre, Vaughan Community Health Centre, funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, in spreading the word about the great potential that will allow everyone to fulfill their social responsibility and create economic opportunity for all.