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Helping to end homelessness in Calgary: The ATB Social Enterprise Incubator

Helping to end homelessness in Calgary: The ATB Social Enterprise Incubator

Posted on: June 19, 2012
Author: Jennifer Sharpe


In an effort to end homelessness in Calgary, ATB Financial is joining forces with the Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF), and launching a three year pilot project called the ATB Financial Social Enterprise Incubator. The ATB Social Enterprise Incubator will be charged with building investor-ready businesses and investment vehicles that support social change.

While the details are yet to be determined, the pilot will target three main areas:

  • Innovative funding models

    The Social Enterprise Incubator will create new ways for individuals, foundations, and government bodies to invest and earn money while contributing to social good. This could mean developing bonds that contribute to social good or the creation of new financial products or services.

  • Social enterprise

    Help organizations build businesses that will generate revenue and advance the mission of the Calgary Homeless Foundation.

  • Transformation of assets

    The Social Enterprise Incubator will help to develop methods for donors to present assets, such as land or buildings in support of the cause, and help put these assets to good use.

The incubator is in the initial planning stages, but first steps over the coming months will include assessing social needs and determining which projects would work the best. Projects will be evaluated on a social and financial level and may be applicable across Alberta and Canada in the future. Other community partners, including members of the government, will be brought to the table as necessary, and some have already shown interest; these investors will be identified as projects reach a stage where they are ready for investment.

"Just like the Calgary Homeless Foundation, ATB Financial is committed to help end homelessness, not only in Calgary but throughout Alberta," added Peggy Garritty, ATB's Senior Vice-President, Communications and Corporate Responsibility. "We are looking forward to exploring new and innovative ways to address homelessness that we can share with other communities across Canada."

Additional social enterprise ventures have included Social Impact Bonds implemented by the British government, Community Bonds in Ontario (used to fund the Centre for Social Innovation in Toronto), and GICs created by Alterna Savings and Credit Union to finance affordable housing.

"We're thrilled to have formed this partnership with ATB Financial," said CHF President and CEO Tim Richter. "Ending homelessness is a community effort and we can't rely solely on government or philanthropic funding to make it happen."

Stay tuned to for more information on this project in the coming months.

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