The School for Social Entrepreneurs

Contributing to transformational social change by providing action-based and practical learning for social entrepreneurs in Canada


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About the project Edit

SSE-O's untraditional and unique educational model places the emphasis on students as self-directed learners. By nurturing community-based social entrepreneurs, SSE-O supports the exploration of new ideas and innovative approaches to the evolving and complex challenges faced by communities throughout Ontario.

SSE-O is a proud member of an international network of schools located across the UK and Australia.

Our Vision: A socially just, environmentally sustainable, and economically prosperous Ontario, one built upon strong, empowered, and resilient communities.

Our Mission: To catalyze social change and empower communities through the development of transformational community leaders and social ventures that produce tangible, visible, meaningful, and positive impact for all members of the community.

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Our Impact

We are proud of the impact that the SSE and our Fellows have made within society. Don't just take our word for it though!

"This report’s findings will come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the School, but they are no less impressive for that. They show the evidence of the difference that the school’s graduates make – creating jobs, galvanising volunteers, and touching hundreds of thousands of lives.

They suggest that graduates’ firms are more sustainable than traditional companies. And they describe the “ripple effect” – how the ideas put forward by social entrepreneurs can inspire others around them, change attitudes and influence government policy..."

- Greg Clark MP, introduction to The SSE 1997-2011 Impact Evaluation Report


The SSE in numbers

• Founded in 1997 by Michael Young (Lord Young of Dartington)
• Over 850 Fellows have completed programmes
• 8 schools in the UK, 2 in Australia and 1 in Canada
• 70% of Fellows work in the 20% most deprived areas in the UK*
• 93% of Fellows on our Start Up programme feel that the course made them a more effective social entrepreneur*
• Fellows' organisations are 20% more likely to survive for 5 years than traditional UK business*
• On average, each organisation set up by a Fellow recruits 2 full-time and 3 part-time workers after graduation. The total value of jobs created by SSE Fellows is estimated to be £13m per year*
• 90% of Fellows say they have had a wider impact beyond their community, ranging from raising awareness to influencing government policy*

*Figures from The SSE 1997-2011 Impact Evaluation Report

What is the potential of this project to expand and develop? Edit

What was the triggering factor of this project? Edit

The School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) was founded in 1997 by Michael Young, a distinguished and passionate serial social entrepreneur. The School’s mission is to address inequality and social exclusion by supporting social entrepreneurs from all backgrounds. SSE helps these leaders create sustainable solutions to poverty, social injustice, and environmental stress.

Through the use of action-based programs of personal and organizational development, students of SSE learn to establish, scale, and sustain social ventures.

What is the business model of this project? Edit

SSE-O is a collaborative initiative led by Housing Services Corporation, MaRS, ACCESS Community Capital Fund, and Toronto Centre for Community Learning and Development.

SSE-O is generously supported by the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

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