Mission Possible's Revenue Jumps After Social Enterprise Dragons

Mission Possible's Revenue Jumps After Social Enterprise Dragons

Vancouver company named best emerging social enterprise in Canada

When Brian Postlewait entered MP Maintenance into Enterprising Non-Profits' Social Enterprise Dragons in 2010, it had an annual revenue of $60,000. This year, the Vancouver social enterprise is expected to gross $300,000.

MP Maintenance, which employs residents from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside to provide property maintenance services, was also awarded the Trico Charitable Foundation’s Social EnterPrize for best emerging organization in 2011. 
Brian, Mission Possible’s executive director, credits much of the company’s success to Social Enterprise Dragons, which increased awareness of the one-year-old venture and equipped its leaders with critical business skills.
        Brian Postlewait
The annual contest awards prizes to social enterprises that present a compelling business opportunity or challenge. Mission Possible’s social enterprise, MP Maintenance won business improvement consulting from JDQ Systems. 
Brian says it was JDQ’s president Jon Morris who worked with him to enhance MP Maintenance’s financial sustainability by ensuring its costs were in line and helping the social enterprise think more strategically about its customers. He says learning business skills like activities-based costing is a critical asset for social enterprise leaders and something many in the emerging sector struggle with.
“I think we tend to fly by the seat of our pants and out-hustle people, but in order to compete in the marketplace and have a sustainable business plan, your costing has to be in the market, as well as paying for the effort that you’re putting in,” says Brian.
MP Maintenance now employs 21 people who are recovering from addiction or have a disability. Brian says the social enterprise provides meaningful, flexible work and a sense of purpose for people who don’t usually receive supportive employment opportunities.  It’s an option many people living in Canada’s poorest postal code are ready for, adds Brian.
“I think most people see (the Downtown Eastside) as an overly-challenged community but in many ways it’s equally an ‘underly’-challenged community. People are ready to dive into something that gives them a sense of meaning and purpose for their day, and a job does that, it’s something they can feel proud about.” 
When looking ahead to this year’s Social Enterprise Dragons, Brian says the event is an opportunity to celebrate social entrepreneurs who are often unsung heroes. Having people cheering you on is a powerful experience, adds Brian. 
“For us social entrepreneurs . . . we don’t book large rooms typically. So, to be in a theatre presenting your ideas, getting feedback, receiving encouragement from all of these people who are interested in what you are doing and appreciate the effort that’s put in, was amazing,” he says.
“That’s what I hope for the current participants, that they really get a sense of encouragement and that it motivates them going forward.”
This year’s Social Enterprise Dragons takes place March 8. To learn more, or register to attend, click here.

Learn more about how Mission Possible provides opportunities for people in this short video:

Related Story:
Focus on Cost Not Benefit, Health Care Social Enterprise Learns

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.

Reprint This Story

Axiom News content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Stories may be reprinted in their entirety with permission and when appropriately credited.

Please contact Axiom News at
1-800-294-0051 for more information.