Inner City Renovation: Rebuilding Properties, Lives and Communities
(10 pages of text)
Inner City Renovation (ICR) was a social enterprise established to address decaying infrastructure of inner city Winnipeg neighborhoods while providing opportunities for their residents — who would otherwise likely have been unemployed and on social assistance — to learn a trade and earn a living. ICR created 30 full-time permanent jobs and completed more than 100 construction projects in the Winnipeg area. However, its financial viability was an issue. It had lost money on operations every year and was close to the limit on its line of credit. While its most important customer had just ceased operations, which threatened the very existence of ICR, its founder was determined to keep it going.
This case can be used to introduce the nature and inherent challenges of social enterprises, as well as the social value they can create; the case also highlights the critical importance of a champion with passion for the cause to such ventures.
The strategic challenges are analogous to those faced by for-profit ventures, so the case could be used in a strategy course.
The case can be discussed from either a management or board member perspective because there are also implicit board governance issues: management succession, the balance between social mission and financial goals and even the advisability of the continued existence of the organization. The case could thus be used in board governance/executive education workshops.
Canada, Small, 2007
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