Press Release – For immediate release
Montreal, September 7, 2016 – At the grand opening of the Global Social Economy Forum today, an important social innovation project was announced in the presence of Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre and the founding partners of the project, including the Chantier de l’économie sociale, Fondation Mirella et Lino Saputo, J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, HEC Montréal, Concordia University, L’Esplanade, TIESS (Innovative Regions in Social and Solidarity Economy) and CIRODD Interdisciplinary Research Centre on Sustainable Development Operationalization.
The Social Innovation Centre will have the mission of clearing the roadblocks between the idea of making a positive social impact and its concrete implementation. It will aim for the creation, consolidation and expansion of social innovation in an environment that brings together the mobilization of resources, concerted effort and the sharing of local, national and international expertise. Its services will include a reference and expertise centre, a social innovation incubator and a training and research laboratory.
“Through innovative partnerships between enterprises, institutions of higher learning, civil society organizations and various levels of government, the Social Innovation Centre will provide access to the best expertise and training available. Based on what has already been done in all the regions of Quebec, it will strengthen links between organizations that are working directly or indirectly to support collective and social entrepreneurs,” said JeanMartin Aussant, the Executive Director of the Chantier de l’économie sociale.
The Executive Director of the Fondation Mirella et Lino Saputo, Claude Pinard, sees the Social Innovation Centre as an opportunity for additional support for all entrepreneurs “Supporting entrepreneurs in their start-up, development and growth of their enterprises with a social impact will enhance the quality of life of all Quebecers. The Social Innovation Centre, founded by eight partners, will work in collaboration with existing stakeholders to create a talent pool for the resolution of socioeconomic problems and the development of innovative solutions to tackle collective challenges,” he said.
For her part, Nicolina Farella, Program Director at the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation mentioned the great diversity of social innovation participants. “Social innovation can take multiple forms and a great many in society have seized on these principles. Whether individuals, community organizations, social economy enterprises or local communities, all stakeholders in society play a role in the development and application of transformative and sustainable solutions to social, economic and environmental challenges.” She also pointed out that the J.W. McConnell Foundation, through its experience, recognizes the multitude of promising opportunities for partnership and co-creation with different stakeholders. “The purpose of the Social Innovation Centre, quite rightly, is to support initiatives, collaborations and knowledge transfer,” she added.
As advancing knowledge and training have an important place in the Social Innovation Centre, HEC Montréal and Concordia University will play a major role. “HEC Montréal is proud to participate in the creation of the Social Innovation Centre. Through our IDEOS research centre and our academic programs, including our M.Sc. in Management in the context of social innovation, HEC Montréal is already contributing to training, research and the creation of a solid new generation of social innovation in Quebec. We hope to continue these efforts with partners from the Social Innovation Centre to make Quebec even stronger as an international leader in social innovation,” said Michel Patry, Director of HEC Montréal.
“Our founding institutions, whose origins go back to the 19th century, had the mission of promoting social mobility and innovation. So, these values are in our DNA,” said Alan Shepard, the President and Vice-Chancellor of Concordia University. “Today, whether in our numerous research programs and social innovation networks or our civic approach to all our disciplines, our relationship with the community in Quebec gives our new generation university deep roots. We are proud to be a founding partner in the Social Innovation Centre whose creation clearly shows Quebec’s leadership in social innovation on the world stage.”
Laure Waridel, Executive Director of CIRODD, emphasized the importance of the Social Innovation Centre in giving a fresh impetus to sustainable development across Quebec. “With its regional roots, the Centre will create new spaces for dialogue and synergy between various innovative organizations working in the social, economic and environmental fields. It will contribute to the operationalization of strategic government plans for sustainable development, social economy, innovation and economic development,” she said.

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Source Social Innovation Centre Project Office