Community Employment Loan Program
Social Finance Strategy
The Community Employment Loan Program (CELP) was designed by Social Capital Partners as a way to test the effectiveness of combining a social finance strategy with an incentive program to encourage small business owners to hire more individuals from their community who are at a disadvantage in finding employment.
Creating a Different Model
Our Community Employment Loan Program facilitates access to subordinated debt financing for entrepreneurs, franchisees and small business owners who commit to hiring workers via community agencies and other employment service providers. The terms of these Community Employment Loans are linked directly to outcomes: for every employee an entrepreneur hires from one of our community partners, the interest rate on the loan decreases.
Proving the Win-Win
Our financing targets community-minded business owners who have a high number of entry-level positions with the potential for career advancement. It’s a win-win scenario. More job seekers from disadvantaged groups are offered opportunities for decent employment, while entrepreneurs gain access to attractive financing terms and strong, motivated employees.
Partnering for Scale
After years of experimentation and refinement, SCP brought the program to RBC Generator, the impact investing arm of RBC’s Social Finance initiative. RBC Generator has purchased $250,000 of the Community Employment Loan portfolio managed by SCP, and has made an additional commitment of up to $450,000 over a 3-year period. RBC’s involvement has helped provide more employment opportunities across more organizations, geographies and sectors.
Read about RBC partnership >
Community Employment Loan Program: Feasibility Study by Deloitte >
Corporate Knights Article (November 22, 2012) >
“By linking interest rates to employment outcomes, SCP is demonstrating how financial incentives can drive social good in a way that makes sense for business owners. SCP is a leader in the social finance landscape in Canada, and through this initiative RBC hopes to further engage the private sector in using business to drive positive social impact.”
Sandra Odendahl, Head, RBC’s Social Finance initiative
Workforce Development Systems Change
Collaborating to Affect Systems Change
MaRS Solutions Lab
MaRS Solutions Lab helps solve complex societal challenges that require systems change. One of their areas of focus is the “Future of Work and Learning.” SCP and MaRS have partnered to design and test solutions at a macro system level. Unemployment and lack of skills force many Canadians into the ranks of “marginalized communities” – they are at risk, or outside the economic mainstream. Our partnership with MaRS aims to address access to employment issues faced by over one million marginalized Canadians. Taking a “Lab” approach means starting by looking at the problem from the users’ perspective – in this case, jobseekers and employers. The process involves convening users and stakeholders to figure out causality, identify the root cause, develop prototypes, run experiments and scale what works.
Metcalf Foundation: Toronto Sector Skills Academy
Sector-focused workforce development is a promising practice to improve employment opportunities for low-income workers while supporting business competitiveness. To address the growing interest and need for this type of work the Metcalf Foundation established the Toronto Sector Skills Academy in partnership with the Aspen Institute. Participants become Aspen Academy Fellows and work with peers from a variety of organizations within workforce development, learn from experts, strengthen partnerships, engage in experiential learning with practical applications, and acquire new skills to explore, catalyze, and enable sectoral strategies. SCP is thrilled to be working with Metcalf providing Academy facilitation.
Ontario Centre for Workforce Innovation (OCWI)
The OCWI, led by Ryerson University and funded by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD) is working to build a body of evidence around what works for Ontario when it comes to workforce development. The Centre’s core activities include using research and evaluation to test and identify solutions to workforce development challenges, translate those research results into information and tools that can be easily accessed, understood and used, and lastly provide learning opportunites and training to implement evidence-informed approaches. SCP was one of the initial Working Group members and has actively supported the Centre’s activities through on-going involvement of one team member.
40KEY is an employer-led coalition focused on the recruitment and hiring of Opportunity Youth. This Initiative is led by Starbucks Canada and MaRS Solutions Lab in conjunction with an executive committee of employers and input from representatives of government and funders. This national multi-year project focuses on collective impact and systems change helping employers, employment and training providers and government develop better practices, programs and policies with robust data and measures. It’s intent is to build on and scale promising integrated hiring hub models and help youth build career ladders across employers. SCP has and will continue to serve on 40KEYS advisory.
Building and scaling social enterprises
In our first five years, we facilitated access to financing and provided advisory services to build and scale social enterprises, which are businesses that integrate a social mission directly into their operations. In this phase, we helped establish and scale a portfolio of profitable social enterprises across Canada.
How it worked
SCP would identify early stage companies with great business ideas and good management teams. We then provided them with patient risk capital, offered management support to help them grow, and we measured their performance looking for above average returns. Different from the mainstream investment sector at the time, we were primarily looking for social returns. The financial results were still important but we balanced them with our social bottom line.
Atira Property Management (Vancouver) – Employs women who are victims of violence
Inner City Renovations (Winnipeg) – Employs urban aboriginal persons
Renaissance (Quebec) – Hires directly from provincial social assistance programs
TurnAround Couriers (Toronto) – Employs at-risk youth
The Five Critical Factors of Social Enterprise Profitability: SCP’s learnings from investing in Social Enterprises (August 8, 2009)
A Fine Balance: What Inner City Renovations taught us about managing social and economic objectives inside business models (May 8, 2008)
Social Return on Investment Report: TurnAround Couriers (January 8, 2007)
“Wearing my business hat, I really don’t want them to leave, because it makes my life simple and they’re good at their jobs. Wearing my philanthropic hat, I’m conscious they’re ready for bigger and better things, and really, the position that they are filling here could or should be done by someone who is less skilled, or needs an opportunity to get those skills.”
Richard Derham, Founder and Former President, TurnAround Couriers
Rate Drop Rebate
Leveraging financial institutions to deliver change in employment
Rate Drop Rebate is a unique partnership that brings together financial institutions, the Government of Ontario and Social Capital Partners to deliver an innovative loan program that reduces unfair barriers to employment, helps grow the province’s small and mid-sized businesses and create a fairer economy for all.
Creating a fairer job market
Thousands of qualified workers in Ontario face unfair disadvantages when looking for employment. Groups that are particularly affected include new Canadians, people living with disabilities, youth with limited work experience, individuals with limited education or formal training, older job seekers and Aboriginals.
We are partnering with five financial institutions and the Ontario Government to deliver Rate Drop Rebate, a pilot project that’s helping to change this. Based on Social Capital Partners’ highly successful Community Employment Loans Program, Rate Drop Rebate aims to help 1,100 people secure good jobs by providing recruitment services and financial incentives to small and mid-sized business owners who hire people facing barriers to employment. Rate Drop Rebate is currently being trialled in Hamilton, London and Ottawa.
How it works
Rate Drop Rebate helps Ontario’s small businesses by providing a cash back rebate on the loans or lines of credit they need to grow their operations, as well as recruitment services to help them find the right workers. For every new employee hired through Rate Drop Rebate and retained for a minimum of six months, qualifying business owners receive a cash back rebate on a loan or line of credit arranged through one of our six partner financial institutions. The rebate will be equivalent to a 1% reduction in the interest rate on a term loan (up to a maximum reduction of 4%) or the actual interest paid over six months on the business’ line of credit (up to a maximum of two years interest-free).
Who is involved
Rate Drop Rebate is a partnership between Social Capital Partners, the Government of Ontario and seven financial institutions (Alterna Savings, CIBC, FirstOntario Credit Union, Libro Credit Union, Meridian, Scotiabank and TD Canada Trust).
How it is being financed
The interest rebate is paid for by the Government of Ontario. However, the program is effectively self-financing as the payout only occurs after an employment outcome has been achieved that generates greater savings to public finances in areas such as reduced social assistance payouts.
Aim of the pilot project
With our Community Employment Loans Program, which has helped 80 businesses make 480 hires, Social Capital Partners demonstrated this model works and can make a tangible difference. The Rate Drop Rebate pilot has potential to create a much greater impact and show this idea can be applied broadly in different communities. The pilot will demonstrate the robustness of using banks, credit unions and community service organizations to deliver the project.
From our previous experiences with Community Employment Loans, we found that effectively addressing the needs of employers during the employee recruitment and retention processes was the single most powerful tool we had to generate job opportunities for those who most need them. Rate Drop Rebate has, therefore, been designed with the needs of both employer and job seeker in mind, providing high levels of support to both and viewing each as equally important clients and partners. The pilot project will provide further evidence of the effectiveness of this approach.
The potential for change
We aim to roll out Rate Drop Rebate across the entire province of Ontario after the pilot, which could reach 100 times the number of people that have been helped by our Community Employment Loans Program. A study we conducted together with Deloitte estimated that a province-wide roll out would result in up to $140 million in net savings to the Ontario government, 45,000 job placements and introduction of 11,000 businesses to this hiring channel.
Rate Drop Rebate also has the potential to create a broader change in the way we think about tackling social issues. By providing a mechanism for businesses and financial institutions to talk together about breaking down barriers to employment, Rate Drop Rebate is bringing powerful new actors into an area previously considered largely the domain of government.
We see clear potential in this collaboration for further insights and innovation that will help drive social change and create a fairer employment market for all.
Rate Drop Rebate in the news
Businesses offered interest rate rebate for hiring disadvantaged workers
Lenders in three Ontario cities offer rate break to businesses that hire disadvantaged Canadians
London Free Press
Province hopes rate drop spurs small businesses to hire people who have trouble finding work
Hamilton companies will get loan rebates if they give jobs to disabled, newcomers and hard to hire
Other Media & Reports
Demand-Led Employment & Training
Demand-Led Employment & Training
Current government-funded employment and training support programs have primarily focused on serving job seekers. At SCP, we believe that greater impact can be achieved by balancing the equation – by placing equal emphasis on meeting the needs of employers and job seekers.
Our goal is to ensure that job seekers (“supply”) are able to meet the needs of employers (“demand”). This means bringing employers to the heart of the system, as partners in the design, governance and evaluation of pre-employment programs. Ultimately, we want to ensure that skills training and pre-employment preparation make job seekers attractive to employers, and set up employees for success on the job. The employer, the job seeker, and society all win.
SCP’s partnership with Deloitte is offering a new vision for policy makers and business leaders. With its size, research capability, expertise, and ability to engage employers and government, Deloitte is helping drive change at the systems level.
SCP and Deloitte have released a White Paper that calls for transformative change. In it, we advance concrete recommendations for bridging supply and demand to the benefit of both employers and job seekers. By scaling a demand-led employment and training system nationwide, we believe that we can help build a more productive, prosperous and inclusive Canada. Deloitte’s investment of resources and commitment to leadership in this area will affect more organizations than we ever could alone.
Read the White Paper > “Working together: Implementing a demand-led employment and training system.”
Demand-Led Demonstration Projects
Believing strongly that the government funded employment and training programs need to shift from a primary supply-side perspective to a stronger demand-led focus SCP dedicated much time to the development of Demand-Led Demonstration projects in both Ontario ( Hospitality sector), and Manitoba (Manufacturing sector). Both projects saw employers with a central role in the design of pre-employment assessment and training modules geared to upskill jobseekers to meet employer requirements and expectations.
The government of Nova Scotia was looking to develop a more agile and skilled workforce and wanted to access opportunities for training that aligned with the ever-changing employer and market demands. The SCP team worked with Nova Scotia’s Department of Community Services (DCS) and conducted a labour market scan to identify in-demand entry-level occupations for which the majority of DCS clients could be trained and placed into sustainable employment with career laddering potential. To address the provincial challenges of long-term unemployment the focus was on occupational clusters that spanned across industries allowing upskilled individuals to transfer skills and occupational expertise into new growth sectors.
Corporate Community Hiring
SCP ran strategic pilots with four of Canada’s large and respected employers from the banking, insurance and grocery retail sectors. Our primary objective was to provide meaningful employment for those that have experienced barriers and introduce new potential candidate to employers that they typically may not have seen through their traditional recruitment processes. Our mission was to fundamentally change the way that large private-sector firms recruit and retain entry-level employees while balancing business objectives and community benefits. The focus of our efforts was to work with employers and community agencies in building both relationships and processes that would make it easier and more effective for employers to hire jobseekers thru community agencies, as well as, for jobseekers working with community agencies to better access employment.
“Our belief is that Canada’s current employment training and social assistance systems… must be redesigned and implemented in a manner much more responsive to our future workforce development requirements. Employers currently play virtually no role in designing and delivering our employment and training programs and this must change or we will continue to pay a severe price in terms of employment and productivity.”
Paul Macmillan, Global Public Sector Industry Leader at Deloitte and Bill Young, President of SCP, in their introduction to “Working together: Implementing a demand-led employment and training system”