Enterprise Sydney Nova Scotia

New Dawn Enterprises Hosts 6 Impressive Social Enterprises

Today we talked to Erika Shea, Communications Director of New Dawn Enterprises. New Dawn is a not for profit social enterprise located in Sydney, NS that has been around since 1976! In 2016 they will celebrate their 40th anniversary. New Dawn is the epitome of social enterprise success in Nova Scotia; it’s regularly quoted by practitioners and educators as a model to strive towards and is considered one of the first social enterprises in this area!

New Dawn began in 1976 as a continuation, in some ways, of the Antigonish movement. A very small organization for most of its forty years, the first concerns of the organization were housing, particularly co-op and affordable housing initiatives. As the organization became more established and experienced, it systematically turned its attention to other gaps on the island that it might help to fill.

We chatted with Erika about what New Dawn does today, and about their new Buy Social Canada certification.

New Dawn’s Many and Varied Social Enterprises

New Dawn is a very large and varied social enterprise, with seven different divisions! New Dawn Enterprises hosts 6 impressive Social Enterprises in Sydney, Nova Scotia. Among their main divisions is New Dawn Health Care, which includes three enterprises: a home care business, a guest home, and New Dawn Home Living – a collection of semi-independent living units. Their home care operations started in the community over 27 years ago.

New Dawn also has a real estate division; they have 11 residential and 5 commercial properties – that’s 240 apartment units – and they also manage 27 Supportive Housing for Individuals with Mental Illness (SHIMI) units. The latter service is offered in partnership with the health authority; New Dawn looks after the building operations in this arrangement.

And that’s not all! New Dawn also has one of the largest Community Economic Development Investment Fund (CEDIF) programs in the province. “Through the CEDIF we’ve raised $11M over the last 10 years, and we’ve paid $1.2M in dividends to our investors.” says Shea. “We have about 600 investors and we’ve invested in 10 different businesses in addition to investments in New Dawn.”

New Dawn also boasts a new Centre for Social Innovation. The building used for the CSI used to be a convent and a high school in downtown Sydney, Cape Breton. Combined, the entire complex has 80, 000 sq feet of space now being used for arts events and performances, and working space for non-profit, for-profit, government services, and social enterprise all under one roof. New Dawn is attempting to create a more dynamic and multi-sector work space. It’s modeled after CSI in Toronto and New York City. Erika Shea laughs: “We’re not there yet but it’s something really beautiful to aspire towards!”

Additionally, New Dawn runs the Meals on Wheels Program in Sydney, where over 9000 meals a year are delivered with a team of 35 volunteers.

They also have New Dawn College – which right now is offering two welding diplomas.

And last but certainly not least is the Community Engagement division. This division exists to create spaces and conversations about the type of Cape Breton community members want to live in and the future they want to have here.

Given a history of external consultants and projects imposed on these local places, this seems like a well-needed piece to the community development fabric, to inform what New Dawn and the local community should pursue in terms of development.

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It's Interesting

  • Francis MacKenzie (born May 7, 1960 in Sydney, Nova Scotia is a former leader of the Nova Scotia Liberal Party. He won the leadership for the party on October 23, 2004.
    Following graduation from St. FX in 1982, MacKenzie worked in Ontario in sales and development...

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