Working in partnership with the Government of Canada, the Investment Readiness Program supports impact driven entrepreneurs who contribute to solving pressing social, cultural, and environmental challenges across Canada. At Startup Canada, we’re working to connect entrepreneurs with the tools and support they need to build socially impactful businesses.
Funded by the Government of Canada, the Investment Readiness Program (IRP) is a $50 million grants and contributions program running over two years (2021 to 2023). The IRP was designed to support social purpose organizations as they contribute to solving pressing social, cultural, and environmental challenges across Canada. The IRP helps impact driven entrepreneurs build their capacity to participate in Canada’s growing social finance market and prepare for the Government of Canada’s broader investment in social finance via the Social Finance Fund.
According to Startup Canada’s 2021 National Entrepreneurship Census, which surveyed approximately 122,000 entrepreneurs, more than 71% of entrepreneurs are interested in advancing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Startup Canada aims to connect impact driven entrepreneurs with the tools to grow their triple-bottom-line. In partnership with ESDC, Startup Canada's Social Impact Report includes data on the latest trends, challenges, and opportunities facing impact driven entrepreneurs across the country.
Startup Canada’s primary role in the IRP is to ensure Canada’s impact driven entrepreneurs understand the program, its various partners, and its value to their organizations.
As a part of phase 1 of the IRP during 2019-2021, we highlighted twelve SDG Impact Icons who demonstrated excellence and outstanding achievement in advancing the UN’s SDGs.
As part of the program, Startup Canada also held two SDG Pitch Competitions with an aim to highlight and encourage Canadian entrepreneurs whose startups embrace sustainability and fulfill one of the following 4 SDGs:
Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.Learn more
Three webinars have been hosted through the IRP. The topics were geared towards supporting the unique challenges faced by impact driven entrepreneurs and equipping them with the tools and know-how to navigate their business journey to systemic change. The panels were a mix of subject matter experts from social purpose organizations, social finance intermediaries, researchers, and the government. Watch the recordings below.
‘Spotlights’ is a blog series that champions and celebrates the diverse range of leading Canadian impact driven entrepreneurs driving systemic change. Throughout 2023, Startup Canada is celebrating 10 impact driven entrepreneurs who are demonstrating excellence and outstanding achievement in contributing to Canada’s advancement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Click below to read the profiles.
Read about Lily Harper, Owner and Founder at Lily Lou's Aromas - she is nine years old and the maker behind Lily Lou’s Aromas. Lily is the sustainably minded entrepreneur we need, keeping the planet and its people at the heart of everything she makes!Read more
We are celebrating National Indigenous History Month with Jean Erasmus, Owner and Co-Founder at Dene Wellness Warriors. A professional counsellor, certified life coach, and facilitator, read how Jean draws from her skill set and life experiences to help Indigenous people with their physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being.Read now
Read about Nadia Ladak - founder of Marlow, a menstrual wellness startup that created the first-ever lubricated tampon. Marlow is a sustainably minded brand with its roots set in people and the planet.Read now
Using her Powers as a force for good: Meet Sheena Russell, Founder and CEO behind Made with Local.Read now
The idea for Accelerate Her Future came from Dr. Golnaraghi’s lived experiences as a racialized woman, her research, and mentoring more than 200+ young women and youth.Read now
An Inuit owned and operated social enterprise creating culture through coffee, Kaapittiaq actively experiments with Inuit governance and business models in an effort to redefine what business-as-usual can look like.Read now
Creating positive environmental and social impact is what Anastasia Kiku set out to do when she pivoted from a career as a professional ski racer to an entrepreneur.Read now
Read about Katrina Ingram, Founder and CEO, Ethically Aligned AI, a company focused on helping organizations drive better outcomes in the design, development, and deployment of Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems.Read now
‘Did You Know’ is a social media campaign that showcases the various IRP partners and their unique offerings to impact driven entrepreneurs. These features will run across Startup Canada’s social media channels throughout the year.
Social innovation refers to a response to a social or environmental problem, which, once adopted, results in better solutions than existing approaches. Social innovations have a transformative impact and improve organizations, communities, regions, or systems.
Social finance is the practice of making investments intended to create social or environmental impact in addition to financial returns. It is a tool that seeks to mobilize private capital for the public good.
SPOs consist of various organizations with a mission to advance social or environmental objectives. Social purpose organizations include:
The IRP is delivered by 26 organizations selected under two streams:
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
The 17 SDGs are integrated—they recognize that action in one area will affect outcomes in others, and that development must balance social, economic and environmental sustainability.