Please describe the goal of your initiative; outline what you are trying to achieve
We want to make acupuncture available to as many people as possible.
Due to a variety of factors, many people in North America aren’t getting enough acupuncture to truly experience the benefits. And, as practitioners and business owners in addition to being proponents of alternative health care, the goal is allow everyone to get more acupuncture and to make this valuable service more mainstream.
By making cost less of a barrier, it becomes financially sustainable for clients to comply with treatment plans and therefore producing more favorable outcomes. By implementing the Community Acupuncture model, it becomes easier for clients to receive as much treatment as often as they need.
What has been the impact of your solution to date?
Heart & Hands opened in October 2010 and presently, we serve a diverse client-base of different ages, occupations, orientations and ethnicities. We serve on average 70-100 clients a week, many of which are able to receive treatment multiple times per week because of our flexible fee structure. Our most common feedback is that our sliding scale makes it possible for people to receive acupuncture regularly enough for their conditions to resolve and their quality of life to improve.
What is your projected impact over the next five years?
As a relatively small and grassroots social enterprise, we hope to continue to grow and stabilize over the next 5 years. This would entail more of the same outreach, education and providing high quality services at sliding scale rates.
We also wish to build further alliances and collaborations with other complimentary and like-minded community groups, agencies and organizations with the intention of providing Community Acupuncture as a resource for health care, personal wellness and complimentary therapy for pre-existing services and programming.
Our goal is to potentially serve up to 150 or even 200 clients a week at our practice, which will allow both the business and its practitioners to be financially secure and self-sufficient.
What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?
- Financial - we would implement better budgeting and strategically plan for specific larger expenditures and create a future purchase wish-list.
- Language barriers - we would receive diversity training with local intercultural agencies. Otherwise, we are limited if clients are non-English speaking.
- Staffing - hopefully advertising with local educational institutions and conducting rounds of hiring from new graduate pools. Also implementing an internship/training period to integrate potential employees into our practice model.
- Community apathy - constantly striving to improve marketing and encouraging our existing client-base for word-of-mouth. This is to ensure that there is continual interest in our innovative service.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
Strengthening and solidifying our business and clinic infrastructure so that it remains resiliant through economic changes.
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
Convert our business/economic structure to a co-operative.