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Building a Sales Pipeline for Social Enterprise

Supporting more than 650 businesses and property owners in the Downtown Eastside, Hastings Crossings (HxBIA) is a unique Business Improvement Association that takes a leadership role in managing change and shaping a more resilient, inclusive and sustainable local economy. Through collaboration with business members, nonprofits, and government they bridge the needs of local businesses with community organizations to foster a vibrant local economy for all. HxBIA was founded with social innovation as part of its by-laws, making it unique amongst BIAs.

“Building a Sales Pipeline for Social Enterprise” is a business development project that aims to build a better sales organization for nonprofit social enterprise in the DTES. While more than 25 nonprofit social enterprises offer products and services in the DTES that create social and economic benefits for community members, most rely on partnerships, referrals, and marketing to sell their products and services. Few organizations have the resources and capacity to invest in generating new outbound leads through business development.

HxBIA is testing an assumption that the BIA might play a role in understanding member businesses’ labour, services, and procurement needs, and in turn, connect qualified leads with social enterprises that can fill those needs. This will require building relationships with and assessing the needs of HxBIA business members, making connections to social enterprises, and implementing scalable, repeatable processes to manage information and measure results of this experimental initiative. The partnerships developed will be profiled in HxBIA’s award winning annual event Experience Hastings Crossing.

LEDlab Project Coordinator David Harris-Koblin will:

  • Research and select businesses to target for engagement
  • Work with HxBIA businesses to understand what needs they have, including labour (e.g. full time regular, part time regular, task-based), contract services (e.g. window washers, security, litter pick up, etc), or procurement (e.g. office supplies, food)
  • Capture and populate HxBIA’s customer relationship management (CRM) system with findings and business members’ information
  • Prototype a process for working with social enterprise to receive qualified leads and capture outcomes of the business development partnership
  • Support HxBIA with organizing the Experience Hastings Crossing event and sharing the story of your work