COS was created in 1999 by a group of venture capital professionals who shared an interest in investment strategies that would benefit communities, nurture high quality management practices, and stabilize certain labour market factors. While based in Manitoba at the time, these professionals brought past experiences from across North America to bear in their formation of Canada’s first registered charity aimed exclusively at the creation of poverty reducing businesses.
COS is unique because our charitable registration allows for the financial support of and investment in all forms of social enterprises including not-for-profits, co-ops and for-profit entities. If you represent a charitable organization or foundation and are wanting to support social enterprises that are structured as for-profit ventures, COS is prepared to be your partner.
COS is focused on one basic objective – the creation and support of businesses that offer high quality work experience and that contribute to poverty reduction in Canada.
Poverty is complex and often entails more than just having enough money to live each day. COS intends to create the conditions that allow people to participate fully in society as valued, respected and contributing members.
We envision a future where people are socially included, connected to their communities, and participating fully in the economy.
COS has clear objects, straightforward administration, and sound reporting to our donors. We screen and pre-qualify applicants to ensure their commitment to poverty reduction and other COS objects and goals. We consider our objects and goals to be Calls to Action.
Our Calls to Action
- Change the nature of underemployment and systemic poverty. Target and assist businesses that are committed to employing and training low income people. Find and assist businesses that are interested in working toward increasingly high quality workplaces. Set the bar high and set an example. Implement sound benefit plans, find ways for employees to be active participants in business operations, and plan employee ownership schemes that enhance the bottom line.
- Enhance the employability of low income people with a real job, practical work experience, structured training, and a focus on workforce advancement. When necessary provide support to low income people to become full labour market participants. Focus on market-based business success.
- Focus on enterprises that are community beneficial and that offer low barrier employment.
- Take a wide angle approach to skills and training to enhance ongoing labour market attachment. Find opportunities to train low income people in professions, vocations, industries, crafts and trades and in financial and managerial skills.