An Intertwined and Complicated City

January 22, 2019
Written by Carmyn Peppler, Director, Operations, Event Services and Food & Beverage at RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg

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Art Ladd, Executive Director, BUILD Inc.

PictureUntil today, I had no idea that so many individuals are engaging in social enterprise in Winnipeg. In fact, I had only a vague idea what exactly social enterprise truly meant to our city.

Myself and the other members of the 2018-19 Leadership Winnipeg Class, got a crash course in just a handful of the large and small operations that are having a positive impact on the living and working opportunities of our neighbours and in turn, the economic landscape in Winnipeg.

With every presentation, video, visit or discussion, a reoccurring theme arose; ‘breaking the chain’. The chain of poverty, violence, criminal records, addiction; some of the most crippling barriers that keep a portion of our population from reliable jobs, proper housing, regular meals and education. Other barriers that came up repeatedly were language, childcare, clean clothes, transportation, proper ID (birth certificates, driver’s license, bank accounts), lack of opportunities in Northern communities; the long list goes on, it’s intertwined and complicated.

What I found out about social enterprise, is that these organizations not only provide the education, training, opportunity and safe environment to overcome these barriers, but they find ways to benefit other parts of society too; the environment, housing costs, hydro rates, workforce shortages and so many more. A study was done by BUILD and their supporting agencies finding that for every $1 spent on their services, the benefit to tax payers was $1.28 by lowering social assistance costs, prison costs and other costly rates.

Dr. Tyler Pearce, the Executive Director at LITE provided us a tour and overview of her operation as well as the Social Enterprise Centre located in the heart of Point Douglas, the second poorest urban neighbourhood in Canada. In this building, we met with the Executive Directors of BUILD, MITT YouthBuild, Purpose Construction, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the CED Network. These groups are training and employing our citizens to complete work for Manitoba Housing, Manitoba Hydro, pest control, insulation, drywall, even the new RAW:Almond construction at the Forks this winter.

The afternoon was spent with some incredible women at 4 different organizations; Jessica Floresco at Mother Earth Recycling is employing those in the inner city for large computer, mattress, lightbulb and electronic recycling. Dana Riccio-Arabe with Wahbung Abinoonjiiag is working to free children and their mothers from domestic abuse, and breaking the chain of violence. Diane Riussin who uses her expertise to oversee The Winnipeg Boldness Project, providing leaders at all levels of government with the data required to consider the traditional Indigenous solutions to barriers in the indigenous community using R&D results to back what they already know.


PictureAnd finally Patti Wandowich and Vikkie Brown who were first students of Urban Circle Training Centre, and now help countless students through the challenges of their everyday life to complete their education in a number of highly employable fields. Their graduation rate is 85%, with 92% of their graduates working in their chosen field of furthering their education.


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Carmyn Peppler
Director, Operations, Event Services and Food & Beverage
RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg


Leadership Winnipeg
Shaping tomorrow’s leaders today
For over a decade, The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce and Volunteer Manitoba have partnered together to offer Leadership Winnipeg, a 10-session leadership program (plus class project), which runs from September through June. The program provides experiences that inspire and help individuals to develop an understanding of themselves, their community and their role within it. ​