In May of 2018, the University of Windsor EPICentre began its mission to champion social entrepreneurship in the Windsor-Essex region with the support of Libro Credit Union. The Libro-EPIC Social Impact Initiative has comprised of three phases: a workshop series, a pitch competition, and the Libro-EPIC Social Enterprise Program Since its inception, the program has graduated 14 social enterprises and continues to implement Libro’s four pillars of employment, financial resilience, local food accessibility, and housing to create a better future for Windsor-Essex.
EPICentre is thrilled to announce that this long-standing collaboration will continue with additional funding from Libro Credit Union. With a combined mission to create sustainable change, EPICentre and Libro will provide educational opportunities for budding social entrepreneurs.
“EPICentre and Libro Credit Union’s Social Enterprise program was an essential step in the early journey of GreenerFarms.” Said Dane Fader, Founder of GreenerFarms “Our mission is to reduce food waste, improve soil health, and increase access to fresh, healthy, local food in the Windsor-Essex region. This program allowed me to clarify this mission and concentrate my efforts towards it while maintaining profitability and sustainability as an enterprise. Not even two years later, we divert over 25,000 pounds of food waste from landfills per month, donate hundreds of cubic feet of compost to the community annually and grow thousands of pounds of fresh, healthy food on the farm, which we deliver throughout the region. I consider the Social Enterprise program the most valuable training I received, and I wish every business school was built on its tenets. I’m thrilled to hear another round of this program has been announced, and I look forward to reading about the new & exciting solutions that are generated within. If you want to build a business that supports you, creates value for others, and helps nature & our planet, this program is for you”.
EPICentre and Libro not only strive to empower changemakers but also to educate the community on the incredible impact of social entrepreneurship. Over the past year, we’ve run various campaigns in collaboration with local creatives to spread awareness of the social enterprises within the Southwestern Ontario region. Through podcasts (in collaboration with Sarah Haefling of the Made it Happen Podcast) and a video series (created by InspireHUB Inc.), we were able to educate, highlight and promote this movement.
“Since participating in the Epic Social Enterprise program we have been able to officially launch Community Family Fitness Centre” said Angela Yakonich, Executive Director of Community Family Fitness Centre. “Recently, we took on a second trainer – we are growing! We have received continual funding from the Jumpstart Foundation and have been able to provide fitness programs for at-risk youth in our community. This Christmas, profits from the center will provide a family fun night for more than 30 families in need”.
Libro Credit Union has been instrumental in supporting the social enterprise initiative in Southwestern Ontario, especially in the Windsor-Essex region. At EPICentre, we are also committed to continuing our work to encourage and support social entrepreneurship in our region. We hope to continue this flourishing partnership with Libro Credit Union. Together, we can make a positive impact in our communities.
Lori Atkinson, Windsor-Essex Regional Manager, Libro Credit Union said: “At Libro, we operate with purpose beyond profit, meaning everything we do is with the goal of growing prosperity in our communities. We’re proud of our partnership with the University of Windsor EPICentre and excited to launch the next iteration of the Social Impact Initiative. Libro is a purpose-based business and certified B Corp®, and one way we strengthen our communities is by making strategic investments and building partnerships to make a collective impact. We share a vision with the University of Windsor EPICentre of building knowledge, capacity, and an ecosystem of social innovation and social entrepreneurship in our region. This program sets a strong foundation for social entrepreneurs to work towards addressing some of the most challenging issues facing our region.
“As advocates for positive change, we are thrilled to continue this partnership with Libro Credit Union to support existing and upcoming social enterprises,” said EPICentre Director, Wen Teoh. “This ongoing partnership allows us the opportunity to help up and coming changemakers make a real difference within the Windsor-Essex community and beyond by implementing and encouraging Libro’s pillars, values and vision into our Social Enterprise program”.
Applications for the fourth cohort of the Libro-EPIC Social Enterprise Program will open on January 6th, 2022. EPICentre would like to invite changemakers from the Southwestern Ontario region with a social enterprise that’s been in operation for two years or less to apply to this program. Please visit our website for more information on eligibility:
Please follow the link to listen to our podcast series with Made It Happen:
Please follow the link to watch our video series in collaboration with InspireHUB: