Social Enterprise Business Development Support

Cohousing NL Published: September 18, 2020
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador
Internship Type
Salary range
Hours per week
Start Date
End Date


Cohousing NL is a consultancy focused on supporting community-led housing development through the model of cohousing. We recognize that there are many benefits to the cohousing model: enabling decision-making and prioritization by the people who will live there, community-scale sustainable infrastructure that allows for a significant decrease in residential environmental footprints, a focus on housing that supports social connections (countering traditional housing tracts that increase isolation and vehicle dependancy), and empowering collective finance of the built environment (enabling more people to participate in the design of our collective built environment). We also recognize that the current model for cohousing development in Canada and the United States is inequitable and unaffordable. Cohousing NL aims to provide professional services, project management support, an online sharing platform, and funding to forming communities so that cohousing becomes an option for more people across Canada in particular.

Cohousing NL is excited to be initiating a pilot project to test out the theories for increased affordability and accessibility that we have developed through the Research and Development phase. We are excited to include a social enterprise business intern to support the Business Strategy side of the project, supporting the advisory committee, compiling documents and funding applications to support this innovative phase, supporting R&D efforts in creating a social enterprise business model and hybrid for-profit/non-profit structure for the project, and helping us engage and run workshops with future residents.

Duties and responsibilities

Co-create and co-manage the project management plan to:

    1. maintain progress;
    2. provide timelines to research and development activities;
    3. outline a realistic timeline to inform membership;
    4. provide deadlines for items that “still need to be figured out” to ensure maintaining project schedule;
    5. collect data and research as required; and
    6. ensure the information required to make informed decisions is disseminated with enough time for thorough review before decisions are required.

Create and implement membership outreach and engagement plan.

    1. Re-establish regular communication with the existing email list, including (perhaps not just in the one email):
      1. an update on what has been done to date;
      2. next steps and goals;
      3. outline of the sociocratic circle teams already created including a more refined list of duties within the circles as well as decision-making authority boundaries;
      4. invitation to participate, including requirements for participation as well as other ways to participate if time / money is not possible (these terms still have to be figured out); and
      5. vision for the project, including outline of projected schedule, monetary commitment requirements and when, projected prices of homes and location of project, and potential for alternative to home ownership based on need for greater affordability (many of these still need to be determined).
    2. Create and implement a member recruitment strategy to include:
      1. co-create a marketing and messaging plan for member recruitment and bringing them up to speed on the project (this will include project progress, intentions, things we know, things we don’t know, what will be required of them, ensure they know what they are getting into etc. - and will be a living document to be updated as we progress); and
      2. planning and supporting the contracting out of setting up a website.
    3. Set up and maintain regular meetings and sharing of process to include:
      1. setting up an ideal schedule for meeting frequency;
      2. describing of member roles needing to be filled;
      3. definition of circle authorities and what requires decisions made by the whole group;
      4. documentation and sharing of meetings (possibly recording of initial meetings to set up the precedent for what will be the accepted norm);
      5. creating an internal repository to safely store all meeting and project documents to be shared among group; 
      6. supporting the groups in starting up and gaining experience in facilitating the meetings; and
      7. sending reminders for full group participation events to ensure ample time for everyone to schedule (this is for such things as the 2-day design workshops, community-building retreats, etc.).

Set up an accounting system to include:

    1. ensuring accounts are documented correctly to date from the time of incorporation;
    2. reviewing bank account terms and ensure this was a good choice;
    3. lining up an accountant who will review the books at the end of the year (pro bono or reduced fee options); and
    4. creating a manual for best practices in record keeping that will provide sufficient information to the accountant and minimize accounting fees.

Support the creation of an informal Advisory Board through:

    1. co-creating terms of the board, how many included, what is expected of participation on the board, and meeting schedule;
    2. establishing a recruitment strategy to ensure diverse skills are represented; and
    3. reviewing efficacy of the board and make recommendations for better process and/or skill set needed based on observation.

Knowledge and skills

This organization is in the business startup phase, and essential skills include:

  • self-motivation and the ability to work independently, with direction from supervisor;
  • good organization skills and the ability to juggle multiple tasks, and prioritize effectively with minimal hands-on support;
  • ability to contribute to a conversation and effectively participate in brainstorming sessions and/or group process;
  • good literacy skills, including the ability to write funding applications and business reports;
  • creativity and the ability to think through a problem and focus on finding solutions; and
  • business development education and/or experience.

This organization aims to operate in a sustainable way that prioritizes based on the three Ps (People, Planet and Profit). Therefore, education and/or significant knowledge of social enterprise and sustainable capitalism is a must.

Additional helpful experience or knowledge includes:

  • affordable housing;
  • social innovation and innovation lab techniques;
  • human centred design;
  • accounting software and best practices;
  • workshop facilitation; and
  • work in both non-profit and for-profit organizations.

This position requires the employee to have and utilize their own computer equipment and have access to wifi. Knowledge of (or willingness to learn) specific SAAS programs such as GSuite,,, etc. is an asset.

Education required

Some level of business education specific to social enterprise, social impact, or non-profit management.

Eligibility criteria

Qualified interns are:

  • Between 15 and 30 years of age at the start of the internship
  • Canadian citizens, permanent residents or persons granted refugee status in Canada1
  • Legally allowed to work according to the relevant provincial and Canadian legislation and regulations
  • Available to participate in an ImpAct internship for a flexible duration of up to 6 months by March 1, 2021
  • Not employees of the hiring employer prior to the start of their internship (does not apply to previous coop students or student interns, although this must be clearly indicated by the employer)

1Refugee protection must be conferred under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Persons awaiting refugee status, as well as those who hold a temporary visitor visa, student visa or work visa, are ineligible to participate in a Youth Employment Strategy initiative.

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