Below you’ll find a list of our favourite women-run social enterprises. We’ve listed them here for two reasons. First, we wanted to give you an idea of all the great social enterprises that are created for women, by women. Second, we wanted to give you a place to visit if you’re looking to buy something or purchase a service that would make a difference.
So please, peruse the excellent shops and service providers below. And if you see something that interests you, feel free to check it out. Who knows! You might just find the perfect gift for someone you love.
Why Women’s Social Enterprises?
At WEC, our mission is to support the economic stability of women across Canada. What better way to do this than by highlighting some of the amazing things women are doing in the realm of social enterprise?
Moreover, these social enterprises are set up to help entire communities of women find economic stability. By supporting them here, we’re helping to increase awareness for them. We truly believe that these enterprises are doing exceptional things.
List of Social Enterprises
Common Thread is a non-profit cooperative which seeks to create a reliable stream of work for sewing projects. Based in Vancouver, its main purpose is to provide employment and employment training to local women, with a special focus on newcomers to Canada and those living with mental illness.
Enterprising Women Making Art
EWMA is a program of Atira Housing Society for women impacted by violence who face significant barriers to traditional employment and who seek safe, income-generating opportunities free from exploitation, abuse or other vulnerabilities. EWMA works with emerging women artists and artisans in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside to participate in a democratic and equitable social enterprise that coordinates the pooling of resources to produce and market women’s visual art and handmade products, as well as focusing on building women’s capacities and knowledge, and increasing their access to lucrative markets and sales.
The Window Community Art Shop
The Window is a social enterprise art and craft showcase in Vancouver’s downtown eastside. Created, owned and operated by Portland Hotel. The Shop is located in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and stocks a wide range of products on consignment. The Window’s Studio produces a line of canvas bags and linen aprons that are being sold for individual use, as well as a wholesale line for use in restaurants and commercial retail outlets.
Craftworks was incorporated in 1966 to promote adult health by providing a craft-therapy program that offers individuals working to overcome physical disability and/or mental illness the opportunity to increase self-esteem, personal growth and creative skills, while providing them supplemental income through participation.
Tradeworks works with women and other community members with multiple barriers to employment. The organization provides training in life and employment skills, plus hands-on work experience in carpentry. The organization produces a wide range of products from its beautiful Twelve Days of Christmas ornament package to park and outdoor furniture.
Malalay Afghan Women’s Sewing: A Craft Cooperative
Malalay is a grassroots initiative that promotes equality and economic security for Afghan immigrant and refugee women. The members are experienced seamstresses who make a range of products from bags and toys to dresses and jackets. They also provide alteration services.
Kotmo: original items by local designers
Kotmo provides unique, branded and sustainable promotional items made in Canada by local designers. We gather together different designers to create new, original and useful products that will help businesses to promote and engage their community in their brand.