Drive change. Inspire your people. Lift your bottom line.

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Winnipeg’s Social Purpose Institute

The Social Purpose Institute is for visionary leaders of small and medium-sized companies in Winnipeg who strive to do well and do good.

Expectations of business and its role in society are changing. As society faces challenges including rising inequality, pandemics, recognition of systemic racism, accelerating climate change, and biodiversity loss, customers, employees and investors are increasingly looking to businesses to stand up for what matters.

Social purpose is an emerging trend in business, where companies define their reason for being in societal terms – the difference they exist to make in the world. This social purpose guides the company’s strategy and powers its operations.

And it pays off. There is a strong business case for developing a social purpose.






of consumers expect brands to take a stand on equality issues
IPSOS Research, 2021

would switch brands to one associated with a cause
Cone Communications Millennial CSR Study, 2015

of consumers are purpose-driven shoppers who want products aligned to their values
IBM, 2020

say a brand’s impact on society makes brand trust more important
Edeleman, 2020

trust their employer most to “do what is right” on the issue of racism
Edelman, 2021

Benefits you can expect when you work with purpose

Social purpose is good for society and good for business. Having an authentic social purpose:
  • Equips companies to weather turbulent times and rebuild faster.
  • Builds customer commitment and creates competitive advantage. Social purpose companies attract and retain customers and build customer brand advocacy.
  • Increases employee engagement and the company is more able to recruit, retain and motivate employees and build employee brand advocacy.
  • Enhances stakeholder relationships, enabling more and new collaborations on shared business and societal goals.
  • Builds social capital by strengthening the business’ operating context and increasing trust.
  • Improves financial performance, increases access to capital, and helps manage systemic societal risks.
  • Generates innovation, enabling business transformation and enhancing resiliency.

How does the Social Purpose Institute work?

The Social Purpose Institute supports leaders of small and medium-sized businesses to develop their social purpose propositions and unleash their company’s potential to create positive social change and strengthen their business.

Social Purpose Innovators is a unique introductory program that helps businesses uncover or further refine their core, societal reason for being.

It’s a cohort-based, strategy-focused, intensive program that includes a mix of expert and peer-to-peer learning, collaborating, and hands-on work – both in and between sessions.

Participant partners from each company work together to prepare for each session, present results of their learnings, and work with other organizations (non-competitors) to brainstorm go-forward approaches to help them define and refine their unique social purpose.

Lab Session 1

RESEARCH: Uncover your company’s distinctive strengths, the passions of your key stakeholders, and the societal issues you can have the most impact on through your core business.

Lab Session 2

IDEATE: Innovate and refine your social purpose options.

DEFINE: Determine your company’s higher calling, frame its revitalized business model, and prepare to test your social purpose with key audiences on a “Hot Seat.”

Lab Sessions 3 & 4

TEST & REFINE: Present your draft social purpose to your cohort and a diverse group of community thought leaders and influencers on the “Hot Seat” for input and refinement. Crowdsource opportunities to help bring your social purpose to life.

Social Purpose Innovators involves 10-20 hours of preparatory work between each session to research, ideate, define, and create your organization’s social purpose.

Participation involves:

  • Executive / Board-level commitment (two people per company)
  • Introductory interview with Social Purpose Institute facilitators
  • Six half-day virtual workshop sessions
  • 10-20 hours of prep work between sessions
  • Two consistent, senior-level participants

We are currently recruiting a cohort of Social Purpose Innovators for launch in October, 2021.

“We were skeptical going into the program as we already had a great track record in social responsibility – but we were hungry to have a more meaningful impact. The Social Purpose cohort helped us get clear on who we are, what our social impact is, and how we can focus on social purpose to accelerate our business strategy and organizational success.”

—Drew Collier, President & CEO, LGM Financial Services Inc.

Get started now

If you are interested in participating or have questions, please contact the Social Purpose Institute.

Get Started

To go deeper on social purpose and what a social purpose institute is, please visit United Way Lower Mainland’s Social Purpose Institute.

Thank you to our partners

We’d like to thank the following innovative organizations for their ongoing support along the social purpose journey in Winnipeg.

Social Purpose Institute Partners
EricaSocial Purpose Institute