Our corporate mantra is to improve the lives and livelihoods of the residents of the communities we help. It means that when we take on projects, it isn’t good enough that we create a terrific place to live but you can’t make a living there. And it isn’t good enough that you can make a great living but it is a terrible place to live. Our programs must address both sides.
E-Town programs aims to solve two critical challenges. The first is local. It concerns the cultural, social, and economic health of Canadian small to mid-sized communities because of the shortage of opportunities to establish, stabilize, and grow businesses; the softening of the communities social and cultural bonds; and the difficulties keeping residents. In some communities, the spark that made them special is fading. Layered on this is the challenge of attracting new outside investment, new businesses, and new residents.
The second challenge is national, and much more ambitious. As our large urban centres become more internationalized and more like other large world centres in tone, design, and living, it is our smaller communities that have the key role expressing the distinctions that make up our national cultural character. Their ability to create new opportunities; sustain the community’s vibrancy and sense of purpose; and create new economic prospects are critical to strengthening national cohesion and identity.
We want to change the way everyone in the community looks at themselves; their collective identity; and ultimately how the world sees them. We want to maximize the economic prospects of each community; improve their chances of attracting or creating new businesses and jobs; and change the way residents feel about their futures.
We’re social entrepreneurs and social investors. Our purpose-driven projects must make a significant positive cultural, social, or environmental difference on our project communities. At the same time, we are a private-sector business so we insist that social returns are partnered with market ROIs. We like new ideas that can change the world. That is why we take chances on new ideas. They’re pet projects that we believe in and want to see through to launch and operation. Each E-Town program is a collaboration started with our own resources and works with government, local residents and organizations, and private investors to fund and launch.