COS was initially founded by a small group of people working in the venture capital industry in Manitoba. Following extensive consultations and planning with a set of North American business and community development professionals, COS was formally established in 1999. At this time COS became Canada’s first registered charity using a focus on market-based business models to achieve social outcomes in poverty reduction and high quality employment.
The Charity has maintained a low profile since its inception and has preferred that spotlights shine on its owned and assisted businesses as they succeed. The COS affiliated social enterprises have all been recognized for their positive work as they take their place in Canada’s burgeoning social enterprise network.
In 2016 COS expanded its geographic scope to include work in Manitoba, Ontario, British Columbia and Nova Scotia in an effort to widen its associations, deepen its impact and replicate its successes.