Focus on Cost Not Benefit, Health Care Social Enterprise Learns

Focus on Cost Not Benefit, Health Care Social Enterprise Learns

Social Enterprise Dragons help Health and Home Care Society B.C. stay competitive

Wendy Williams' social enterprise challenge is similar to others working in the sector.

She is one of two people running Health and Home Care Society of B.C.’s social enterprise Health Promotion Services, which provides flu vaccines to workplaces among other private nursing services.

The social enterprise operates with the same high standards as its society, which is B.C.’s original Victoria Order of Nurses, and the revenue generated helps fund its other services, which include Meals on Wheels and family respite care.

It’s the only social enterprise operating in a very competitive flu vaccine market, and Wendy says it’s been difficult to compete at the same price-point as other companies.

   Wendy  Williams

It was participating in Enterprising Non-Profits Social Enterprise Dragons that gave Wendy and Health Promotion Services the tools needed to become more competitive. The annual Vancouver competition awarded Health Promotion Services a runner-up prize of $2,500 in 2009.

Wendy says they chose to use the money to hire Jon Morris, president of business consulting firm JDQ Systems. It was Jon who told her, “You might get in the door because you’re a social enterprise and you do good deeds, but price is really how the decision is going to be made.”

Jon gave Wendy a budgeting tool to support the pricing of the flu vaccines, time allocations and what kind of discounts they could give to larger organizations. For Wendy, who has been a nurse for 40 years, the resources were effective at helping her have a better understanding of costs.

While the past several years have been challenging for all organizations providing flu shots, Wendy says the skills learned have been instrumental at keeping Health Promotion Services in the game.

“Even though we’ve improved everything we haven’t been able to expand our market, we’ve maintained our market and that’s been fabulous,” says Wendy.

She commends Enterprising Non-Profits for hosting events like Social Enterprise Dragons in addition to offering year-round resources that include training and networking. In particular, Social Enterprise Dragons can be helpful for social enterprises to connect, share and learn from the presenters and judges.

“I think they cover the whole gamut through the Social Enterprise Dragons event,” says Wendy.

This year’s Social Enterprise Dragons takes place March 8 at Vancouver’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts. The evening event will see three social enterprises make their "pitches" to the Social Enterprise Dragons, with the judges allocating prizes that include $5,000 to $10,000 in grants from Vancity Community Foundation and TELUS, as well as consulting services from organizations like KPMG, ASQ, JDQ Systems and Junxion Strategy.

Click here to register to attend Social Enterprise Dragons 2012.

Related Story:
Social Enterprise Dragons Give PEDAL a Push

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Writer Bio

Camille Jensen's picture
Camille Jensen

Camille Jensen is an employee share ownership consultant with ESOP Builders, Canada’s largest provider of employee share ownership plans (ESOPs) for small- and medium-sized enterprises.

Prior to joining ESOP Builders, Camille was a generative journalist and team member at Axiom News. She credits her time at Axiom as fundamental to her understanding that business is one of the best opportunities to make a difference in the world.

Camille is a B.C. Partner for Social Impact and volunteer with Okanagan Changemakers.

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