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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.

Project Coordinator David Harris-Koblin was hired to build the sales infrastructure required for social enterprises to increase their social hiring and social procurement efforts. He regularly interviewed HxBIA’s membership of businesses, social enterprises, and non-profits and populated the BIA’s customer relationship management system to include the most up-to-date information. He helped coordinate and facilitate the annual Experience Hastings Crossing event, including brokering partnerships between businesses and non-profits and social enterprises, tracking sponsorships, producing media kits, contributing to social media posts, and tracking funds/donations generated. As a result, 36 businesses, non-profits, and social enterprises participated in the event. In January 2018, David facilitated a community event dedicated to promoting collaboration between businesses and social enterprises.

David created service blueprint based on his experiences, which details a recommended methodology for engaging and tracking membership, in an effort to strengthen partnerships between businesses, property owners, non-profits, and social enterprises. Another key output from David’s work was the creation of an orientation booklet for new businesses which details HxBIA’s services and governance structure, DTES history and culture, and emergency services contact information, as well as information on how to increase community impact.

This project helped raise awareness of HxBIA’s efforts within and beyond the DTES, as well as lay the foundations for exchanges among HxBIA membership. There is potential to scale out social procurement and hiring knowledge to other areas. Several DTES BIAs have expressed interest in initiating similar projects in their own jurisdictions.