Investment Readiness Program is helping two local social enterprises to scale up their “businesses for good”

Dufferin Community Foundation is delighted to announce that Branching Out Support Services and the Dufferin Board of Trade have been awarded Investment Readiness Program (IRP) grants.

The IRP is a $50 million fund from the Government of Canada that helps charities, non-profits, co-ops and for-profit social enterprises enhance their operations in order to attract investment and social financing.

“We are so pleased that two of our local organizations were successful in receiving these grants. Social enterprises are a real catalyst for good, as their mission is to invest profits into helping people and improving community well-being,” said Michele Fisher, Executive Director of Dufferin Community Foundation.

Branching Out Support Services (BOSS) received a $25,000 “Explore” grant to grow The Granola Project, a program that employs neuro-diverse people in the production of its Kick Start and Maple-kissed granolas. Billing its product as “Natural-Nutritious-Neurodiverse,” the granola has been selling online and at farmers’ markets, with all proceeds supporting BOSS services.

With the grant, BOSS will do a market analysis, achieve B-Corp Accreditation (which allows investors to be confident in their economic and ethical structures), and engage a social enterprise expert to prepare it for investment and social financing opportunities.

“The Granola Project is the premier avenue for people with neuro-diversities to enter the workforce at a living wage,” said Kimberly Van Ryn, founder of BOSS. “Once investors are attracted, we have the opportunity to employ more people who have massive employment barriers. It will show a community, a region, the province and the country what can be done with real food and huge human potential.”

“Natural-Nutritious-Neurodiverse” – The Granola Project received $25,000 from the Investment Readiness Program, a federal fund administered by community foundations across Canada. Pictured l-r: Sara Clarke, Executive Director of BOSS; Kimberly Van Ryn, BOSS founder; and, Michele Fisher, Executive Director of Dufferin Community Foundation.

Dufferin Board of Trade (DBOT) received a $38,000 “Stabilize and Build” grant to take its social enterprise, the Dufferin Biz Hub, to the next level of investment-readiness. The Dufferin Biz Hub, which also benefited from an IRP grant in 2020 when it was just starting up, provides professional work space and support to local businesses and nonprofits. The current grant will be used to develop an evidence-based social business model, conduct a sustainability analysis,  and increase the products and services offered by the Biz Hub.

Said Diana Morris, Executive Director of Dufferin Board of Trade, “We empower rural business leaders, entrepreneurs, new Canadians looking to start businesses, and local nonprofits by providing the resources, innovations, and connections they need locally. This project will help us determine the most-needed products and services we can offer to the community moving forward.”

Empowering local business people and entrepreneurs – Dufferin Board of Trade’s (DBOT) social enterprise, the Dufferin Biz Hub – received a $38,000 IRP grant to help ready it for investment. Pictured top left to bottom right: Jaemilyn Gavino, DBOT’s Communications Coordinator, at the Biz Hub, which offers professional work space, a boardroom and other business supports.

BOSS and DBOT are two of the 270 organizations across the country that received IRP grants this spring. Dufferin Community Foundation helped promote the program in Dufferin County and evaluated grant applications through the Central South-Western Ontario Region HUB.

The HUB included three other Community Foundations (Waterloo Region, Centre Wellington, and Guelph) and five local organizations driving social change (Communitech, GreenHouse, LiftOff, Lyle S. Hallman Foundation, and Region of Waterloo).

Community Foundations of Canada, working alongside the Foundation for Black Communities, has been a partner with the Government of Canada in distributing IRP funding in 2019 and 2023.

“The Investment Readiness Program has been a catalyst for communities across the country,” said Andrea Dicks, President of Community Foundations of Canada. “From coast to coast to coast, social purpose organizations are showcasing bold leadership and rethinking how revenue generation can work alongside increasing community impact.”

To read more about the Investment Readiness Program and the impact of social enterprises, visit:

For more information, contact:
Michele Fisher, Executive Director
Dufferin Community Foundation

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