L3 Community Update – October 2020

Wednesday, October 21, 2020
by Meghan Ronson
Community update for Fall for social acquisitions

Click the image if you'd like to watch the video update instead.

Every month, L3 runs a 90-minute Community Event to convene the entire L3 Community, and we also put out a Community Update to accompany the event! If you're reading this blog post, then you're part of our Community now! Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay informed.

The purpose of the L3 Community is to assemble and activate a national community of professionals and organizations that will support and advance the strategy we call Social Acquisitions for Business Recovery (SABR), or the practice of converting a conventional enterprise into a co-operative or social enterprise or another social purpose form in order to revive and sustain it through an unplanned disruption like the  COVID-19 pandemic, or a business succession/ownership transition. 

L3 Community

Our Community Events are designed to spread awareness of leading examples of SABR-oriented programs, tools, resources, projects, initiatives… whatever is out there in the Canadian landscape that serves to advance the opportunity for Canadian small businesses in transition to be acquired and converted into social purpose forms. New to the concept of social acquisitions? L3 has prepared a lot of knowledge products to help demystify the concepts we’re working with. Click here to visit our Knowledge Product Page. If you're totally new to L3, start with the Introduction Package (.pdf).

An update from Meg, Project Manager, on the Community event:

The L3 October Community Event Fall for Acquisitions: Designing an Inclusive Recovery is all about exploring ways to leverage inclusion and recovery as core social values that will enable the successful ownership transition of Canada's small businesses. Keep an eye on our social media to catch the recording and to learn what we discovered together in the social innovation lab mini-workshop.

You can also check out our collection of reports and studies on examples of equity and inclusion in Canada.
Click here to access.

L3 Activation Stream

An update from Lili, Community Activation Lead, on the Activation Stream:

October has been a busy month in the Activation Stream, with the launch of a new cohort of Activation Stream Members and an all-cohort event, ACTIVATE/MAP. We’re now 12 Members strong with engagement ranging from sideline supporter to running their own SABR knowledge events. We’re pleased to have this group spread the SABR movement across Canada, and we welcome new Members with whatever time and energy you’d like to commit! Just get in touch with Meg or Lili to learn more about joining this Stream.

At ACTIVATE/MAP, Activation Stream Members worked with an L3-generated “process map” detailing the various phases and tasks involved in undertaking a generic social acquisition (i.e. not outlining tasks to undertake specific types of social acquisitions, such as a co-op conversion or charity acquisition). Members used this process map to gain a deeper understanding of how various types of stakeholders may be involved in, support, or otherwise engage with, social acquisitions. For example, the process map helped us see that historically under-represented or marginalized groups could have a special role to play in developing population profiles for use in marketing strategies once the business has transitioned ownership.

We will be running a future event to synthesize our learnings from the process map and uncover implications for how we spread the word about SABRs across the country. We will also be diving into ways to share and communicate with influence. And in between events, we will be sharing resources with our contacts to let them know about the benefits of SABRs! Send us a quick email if you’d like to get involved with this work – we’ll be happy to orient you to this Stream!

L3 Design Stream

An update from Tara, Lab Designer, on the Design Stream:

October brought about several changes to the design stream. We wrapped up a few design groups where there wasn't quite enough motivation to take collective action. This doesn't mean the efforts were in vain; on the contrary, we were able to learn a lot about the social acquisition system from our monthly discussions and all the additional research they provoked. We are currently developing short briefs about the various opportunity areas that were explored and we might revisit these areas more concretely in the future.

While some of our design groups wrapped up, an equal number are continuing. Our business advisor engagement group is starting to work on a couple of prototypes: 1) educational materials about social acquisitions directed at business advisors and 2) a directory of social acquisition professionals that business advisors could refer their clients to for specific needs (e.g., accountants, lawyers, etc.). Our non-debt financing group, which is turning into a wonderful peer learning community, had a great presentation from Sean Melrose this month about the work of Rhiza Capital. Additionally, the Standard Playbook group is being continued in some capacity by Andy Horsnell and other folks from Atlantic Canada.If you are interested in participating in these groups please let us know.

In the background, we've been planning some exciting developments for the design stream. In December and February we will be running some special prototyping workshops for individuals and groups who are interested in prototyping an initiative for building systemic support for social acquisitions. Stay tuned for details!

About Legacy Leadership Lab (L3) 

L3 is an 18-month initiative by the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience, funded by the Government of Canada’s Investment Readiness program. We are leading online workshops and events to help build expert-driven solutions for Canada’s transitioning small business community. The L3 Community is developing and activating market interventions and prototypes that allow conventional and social finance players, business service providers, and community leaders to facilitate social acquisitions of existing businesses in their own towns and contexts. 

About Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience (WISIR) 

WISIR is a research institute at the University of Waterloo’s School of Environment, Enterprise and Development committed to generating trans- and inter-disciplinary knowledge about social innovations and the social innovation process (the dynamics of learning, adaptation and resilience). Our approach is to pursue collaborative research and projects that bridge University of Waterloo departments, involve researchers from around the world, and engage those beyond academia. We seek to mobilize this knowledge through a range of new curriculum offerings and training opportunities - both within and outside of a university setting.