North Shore Culinary Education Society of BC
There is no lack of applicant populations from which to select our applicants for training including homeless, marginal, transitional, single parent, youth, unemployed and adults seeking a new career. There will always be a market for freshly prepared, gourmet food of the highest quality. We choose to deliver this food to some of those most in need including those from the applicant populations.
About Your Organization
North Shore Culinary Education Society of BC
Canada, BC, Vancouver
Country where this project is creating social impact
Canada, BC, North Vancouver
Age of Innovator
Gender of Innovator
Is your organization a
Non‐profit/NGO/citizen sector organization
How long has your organization been operating?
Less than a year
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Name Your Entry
North Shore Culinary Education Society of BC
Select the stage that best applies to your solution
Growth (your pilot is up and running, and starting to expand)
How long have you been in operation?
Operating for less than a year
The Need: What problem are you trying to solve?
There is a tremendous need for skilled workers in the Culinary Industry- especially at the entry level. New entrants to this industry can expect to earn minimum wage while supporting a family and large debt-load due to training and education requirements. The cost of annual tuition can be up to $30,000 per year while graduates can expect to earn $10-$12 per hour. They are unable to pay off their student loans and struggle to survive in a highly competitive industry. Homeless and transitional youth have very bleak employment prospects due to a skills gap and lack of consistent employment history. This is true both in smaller communities under 100,000 and in larger cities over 1,000,000- both of which NS Culinary Education Society of BC is engaging. With the ability to level the playing fiel
The Solution: What is your solution? Be specific!
Our solution offers basic and advanced education and experience in the culinary arts and is open to all- regardless of education, family income, or previous employment history. The current curriculum offers 1 year of basic training, with optional advanced courses in meats and pastries. Training, uniforms, books, employment, job placement assistance, networking, community experience are all provided free of charge. This solution is innovative because those who profit most are not required to pay for their experience, while the community in which they work receives dedicated professionals with the right tools to succeed. Unlike other culinary training programs, the class size is small- 8 or less students at one time. This allows for 1-on-1 training with the chef and ensures high quality engagement, accountability, and results. Over 80% of all of our graduates are currently employed in the sector. Users can access our services through a local homeless shelter, through our restaurant, or t
The Model: Walk us through a specific example of how your solution makes a difference; include your primary activities
To illustrate our business model in action, a transitional, single mother arrives at a homeless shelter with no money and no employment prospects after being abused by her ex-spouse. She shows interest in receiving our training. She signs up for the next intake session where she shows aptitude and commitment. Once enrolled, she stays with our program for 1 year and during this time gains employment at a local eatery in a hotel contingent upon her completing her training with us. She has no money for training but is now earning a working wage while still learning. Upon graduation, she receives a promotion from the hotel restaurant. Opting for further training, she continues working and training at night in advanced pastry at one of our lab kitchens.
The Marketplace: Who are your peers and competitors? Identify others also working to address the needs you are and what differentiates you from them. What challenges could these players pose to your success or growth?
We are only aware of 1 other competitor in our city operating as a culinary social enterprise. This enterprise does not pose a challenge to our success because we believe it is using a different business model and primarily only works with homeless individuals located downtown. Our peers include suppliers who invest in non-profits and local and regional societies. Once again, our research indicates these players do not pose any immediate threat to our success or growth because they are not specialized to manage a social enterprise in the Culinary Industry. Furthermore, we believe their cost structures and lack of differentiation in this field would hinder their ability to compete at least in the short to mid-term.
This Entry is about (Issues)
What solution(s) does your initiative address to help emerging entrepreneurs and small businesses grow and thrive in underserved communities? (select all applicable)
Access to talent, Access to economic opportunity, Policy change/advocacy.
What has been the impact of your solution to date?
We have achieved over 80% employment rate for our graduates and helped to reduce homelessness, poverty and unemployment in the community.
What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?
With sufficient funding, we hope to build a highly-skilled workforce in local restaurants and eateries as well as prevent the spread of new cases of transitional youth, poverty and homeless.
What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?
The only barrier at this point we are aware of is the funding aspect since without it, the social enterprise must rely solely on proceeds from food sales which are seasonal and inconsistent. Nonetheless, we will continue to operate the social enterprise regardless of funding given the ED does not currently take a salary and therefore must use his own funds to subsidize during weaker business cycles.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
Expansion of the training kitchen and concession at Mahon Park, North Vancouver. This will open more training spaces.
Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Receive move-in date from City of North Vancouver (approval has been granted)
Complete trades installation including electrical, gas fittings, HVAC (requires funding)
Purchase infrastructure including accounting software, administrative support, computer network (requires funding)
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
Add advanced cooking courses in meat and pastry preparation to the kitchens at 7th and Fir, Vancouver and Mahon Park, N. Van.
Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Update and publish cooking manuals used in-house to support curriculum for students (requires funding)
Expand intake services for new applicants such as homeless, youth and unemployed
Increase food sales through marketing efforts to make the educational society self-sufficient (requires funding)
Founding Story: We want to hear about your "Aha!" moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution's potential to change the world.
When operating restaurants across Canada, it became clear that each establishment played a large role in the community as a place to eat, meet and build connections. Moreover, as our staff were selected from the local community, the impact on job creation and skills training contributed to the growth of each neighborhood in a unique way. However, it was not until a prestigious culinary arts school offered Donald Guthro a lucrative contract extension that he considered the social enterprise model. It costs up to $30,000 or more for a student to attend a year of culinary training in Canadian schools. However, graduates often leave school with a huge debt load from tuition they are unable to repay when they earn $10 per hour.
The "Aha" moment for Donald Guthro was realizing that retail sales of food prepared by his students could ultimately subsidize the entire training program. It was then he decided to launch the North Shore Culinary Education Society of BC.
Tell us about your partnerships
We have partnerships for food and beverage supplies with local wholesalers, while contract revenue for in-house food services is derived from local societies who must feed large numbers of underprivileged occupants. These partnerships have a net-0 profit margin for our organization but do provide needed revenue to sustain the food preparation and delivery aspect to our business.
Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list
NS Culinary Education Society need marketing resources including funding to ensure sustainability over the long-term. Currently this non-profit has applied for charitable status but until that is received, is solely reliant on operations proceeds from the restaurant and catering. Marketing our social enterprise needs to include media such as TV, radio and print ads.