Frequently Asked Questions

I do good things with my business. Does that make my business a social enterprise?

To be a social enterprise the government of Ontario requires that:

  • The organization derives a substantial portion of its income through the sale of goods and services.
  • The organization intends to create a social or environmental impact through its business activities. The impact is intentional and not merely a by-product of business operations.
  • The organization measures and reports on its social, cultural and/or environmental impact.
  • The organization has a blended business model, with social impact as a defining element of its business model. The social and/or environmental impact of the social enterprise grows in lockstep with its business growth.

Social enterprises are organizations that use business strategies to achieve a social, cultural, or environmental mission. Alongside generating revenues through the sale of goods and services, social enterprises simultaneously intend to create a positive impact and measure results in doing so. As the business of a social enterprise grows, the social impact is expected to grow.

A social enterprise reinvests its surplus or profits in the social, cultural or environmental mission in order to maximize the positive impact of the social enterprise. A social enterprise goes beyond a socially responsible business. A socially responsible business seeks to ensure that it operates in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable manner (a ‘do no harm’ approach). A social enterprise goes over and beyond the focus of operating in a sustainable manner, to seeking to actively contribute to solving a key social, environmental or cultural societal issue (the social enterprise’s social, environment and/or cultural mission and the social enterprise’s primary focus) through the use of a business model which permits the social enterprise to generate revenue for the sake of expanding the impact of its social, environment and/or cultural mission. The primary focus of the social enterprise is that of expanding the impact of its social, environment and/or cultural mission. The primary focus of the social enterprise is not that of maximizing profits. 

Please see the Program Guidelines for further information about what is and what is not a social enterprise.

My organization is incorporated federally, and we have a branch in Ontario. Are we eligible for the Fund?

Yes, if you currently provide services in Ontario and can provide an Ontario address.

What counts as in-kind?

An in-kind contribution is a non-cash contribution of time, materials, space, or other resources that your social enterprise contributes to the capacity building process funded by the PIRF. Examples of in-kind include (but are not limited to) staff time, the use of the social enterprise’s existing space for meetings for the capacity building process, the use of materials that the social enterprise has already purchased, the provision of food for meetings during the process, etc.

What is an eligible expense?

Please see the Program Guidelines for eligible expenses.

Can I suggest my own service provider?

Yes, if you feel a service provider not listed on our pre-approved list would be better suited to provide services please explain who and why in your Capacity Building or Catalytic Grant applications. (Note: the assessment report can only be provided by an Assessment Partner)

I forgot my portal password. What do I do?

Go to the Homepage of the site. Underneath the Sign In section, click Forgot your password?

What are the grant application deadlines?

Please find the deadlines details in the Program Guidelines.

When can I expect a result?

You should receive the result of your application within 4-6 weeks of submitting.

Where can I find the program guidelines?

Download the Program Guidelines here.

I want to be a service provider on the pre-approved list. How do I apply?

For enquiries on how to become a pre-approved service provider with the Fund please contact us with the subject line “service provider”.  Please see the eligibility criteria for service providers. Please see the Program Guidelines for further details.

Office Hours

Monday-Friday: 9am-5pm
Weekends: Closed


PIRF – CCEDNET, 223 Main, St.
Saint Paul University,
Mauril-Bélanger Social Innovation Atelier
Ottawa ON K1S 1C4

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