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Centring Equity: Catalyzing System Change Through a Collaborative, Cogenerating Knowledge Network


The Women of Ontario Social Enterprise Network (WOSEN) is a province-wide collaborative composed of five social innovation and system change organizations. It is led by Pillar Nonprofit Network in partnership with Social Innovation Canada1 (SI Canada), Social Venture Connexion (SVX),
and NORDIK Institute (NORDIK) with support from Lean4Flourishing(L4F). WOSEN acknowledges the debilitating consequences of structural
racism, and most recently, the disparate impact COVID-19 is having on marginalized women in particular. In response, the collaborative aims to catalyze social innovation by redesigning the entrepreneurial ecosystem to meet the needs of women founders from diverse equity-seeking groups. WOSEN’s focus is women who have business solutions that put people and the planet first (i.e., social enterprises). Their approach shifts the focus from current entrepreneurial supports and financing structures that are readily available and easy to deliver to models that holistically support the entrepreneur’s learning journey and aspirations. This approach has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs across Ontario to start and grow their businesses and has unlocked millions of dollars in capital for these initiatives.

WOSEN’s targeted goals collectively aim to:

  1. reveal the mental models, power dynamics, relationships and connections, resource flows, practices and policies that keep these social problems in place, hindering founders in achieving their entrepreneurial aspirations (Kania, Kramer & Senge, 2018, p.4); and,
  2. redesign the entrepreneurial ecosystem by intentionally engaging founders and ecosystem supporters in emergent collaborative and co-creative practices to understand women’s contexts, and align actions to create the critical infrastructure (i.e., knowledge, attitudes, behaviours, relational networks and resource flows) that support the development of women-owned and women-led ventures.




  • NORDIK Institute
  • SVX
  • Centre for Social Innovation
  • Pillar
  • Lean4Flourishing