Social Entrepreneurial Ecosystem: Sparking Social Transformation

  • Gayle Broad NORDIK Institute, Algoma University
  • Jude Ortiz Research Coordinator, NORDIK Institute,
Keywords: social entrepreneurial ecosystems, community based research cycles, social innovation


For over five years, Social Enterprise and Entrepreneurship (SEE), a community partnership in Northern Ontario, has been developing a supportive ecosystem for social enterprise, entrepreneurship, and innovation. This article sheds light on how the SEE partnership has established a broad spectrum of supports and a healthy ecosystem for alternative economies in a northern, rural, and Indigenous region, from an initial focus on youth, with asset mapping and pop-up events, to its current emphasis on regional networking and train-the-trainer programs for economic development officers. This article argues that the partnership’s strong emphasis on community engagement and empowerment, and the cyclical nature of the community-based research methodology has enhanced the sustainability of the ecosystem and leads to systemic social innovation and transformation.

Author Biographies

Gayle Broad, NORDIK Institute, Algoma University
Research Associate, NORDIK Institute, Associate Professor Emerita, Algoma University
Jude Ortiz, Research Coordinator, NORDIK Institute,
Dr. Jude Ortiz is a Research Coordinator with NORDIK Institute and a visual artist.


Hills, M. and Mullett, J. (2000) Community-based Research: Creating Evidence-based Practice for Health and Social Change. Paper presented at the Evidence-Based Policy Conference, Coventry University, May 15-17, 2000.

Kania, John and Kramer, Mark (2011) Collective Impact. Stanford Social Innovation Review. Accessed April 29, 2019 at:

Moore, M. and Westley, F. (2011) “Surmountable Chasms: Networks and Social Innovation for Resilient Systems”.Ecology and Society 16(1): 5. Accessed May 6 at: http:///

Silver, J. and Loxley, J. (2008) “Community Economic Development An Introduction”. In Silver, J., Loxley, J. and Sexsmith, K. (eds) Doing Community Economic Development. Halifax: Fernwood Publishers.

Spigel, B and Harrison, R. (2017) “Toward a process theory of entrepreneurial ecosystems”. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal. 2018;12:151-168.

Surman, Tonya (2006) Constellation Collaboration: A model for multi-organizational partnership.Accessed April 29, 2019 at: Constellation-Governance-Model_CSI.pdf

Trivedi, C. and Misra, S. (2018) “Dialogue and the Creation of Transformative Social Change: The Case of Social Enterprises”. Informing Science: The International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline, 21, 107-132.