Andrew Greer, Purppl Community Catalyst and entrepreneur Alyssa Farr join Okanagan Shool of the Arts president Pat Field. The OSA is receiving funding and mentorship as they develop social enterprises to generate income. Submitted photo

United Way provides social enterprise funding and mentorship

Okanagan School of the Arts evolving business model

The Okanagan School of the Arts is getting a boost from the new Social Enterprise Accelerator Fund.

The United Way Central and South Okanagan/Similkameen, in partnership with Interior Savings Credit Union, gave the OSA funding designed to help them build long-term sustainable revenue for their social enterprise programs. The OSA will also get 15 months of mentorship through Purppl’s Social Enterprise Acceleration program.

The Shatford Centre is a heritage building in the heart of Penticton, providing event and program space but the OSA sees potential to create a hub for creative community events and connections for social services, non-profit, business and arts organizations.

Related: Revisioning the Okanagan School of the Arts

“The mentorship provided will help the Shatford Centre realize its full potential,” said Pat Field, OSA president.

“It will enable us to evolve our existing business model and take it to new heights, generating income while building a regionally-significant creativity and innovation centre for the economic and social well-being of our community.”

Purppl’s program teams social enterprises with experienced entrepreneurs, like Alyssa Farr, to help them refine and scale their business model. Farr cofounded a social enterprise commercial, industrial and residential repair contracting company.

She also helped to initiate three social enterprises with Metro Community.

“This collaborative fund is about supporting the capacity and long-term sustainability of charities in our region,” said Helen Jackman, executive director of United Way CSO.

To apply, charities needed a well-formed social enterprise idea that, with the right support, could grow to deliver both economic and social outcomes.

Applicant charities submitted their proposals at the end of May and were invited to present their social enterprise at a Dragon’s Den style pitch night to an independent selection panel that scrutinized potential social impact, sustainability, ability to scale, and leadership.

More information on the Social Enterprise Accelerator Fund available online at

Steve Kidd
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
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