Analysis of a Social Economy Organization: Miziwe Biik Case

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Toronto’s Aboriginal community founded the Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment and Training Centre in 1991 with the aim of tackling their training and joblessness challenges. A workforce of about fifteen people provides a scope of employment plans, services, and resources to nearly one thousand customers every month. In 2004, the Miziwe Biik Development Corporation was established to promote economic advancement of the community (Heritz 136).

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Afterward, the Aboriginal Business Resource Centre was launched in 2007 in an effort of ensuring that businesspersons obtain adequate training, development of skills, and microloans. The process commenced with a collection of approximately 60,000 dollars from the RBC Foundation and Miziwe Biik. Led by a person of color, Miziwe Biik’s programs reach marginalized people and seek to bridge the existing socioeconomic gap. The socioeconomic gap in Toronto has resulted in inequalities in the sharing of resources, income, wealth, and the overall quality and comfort of every individual’s existence in the community.

More than one million Canadian, approximately 4% of the entire population, consider themselves Aboriginal. This population is younger compared to the general populace (average age of 27 years against 40) (Heritz 137). The Aboriginal population is increasing at a speedy pace despite its being less educated (with half of the people having post-secondary education versus 67% in the general populace) and experiencing high extents of unemployment and poverty as it has 8% adult joblessness contrary to about 5% in the other segment. Many Aboriginals are urbanizing, with the Greater Toronto Area encountering a 30% rise in the population from about 2000, and becoming the fourth biggest in Canada.

Obstacles encountered by Aboriginals remain unabated, from racial discrimination, band government concerns, and stereotyping to businesspeople experiencing restricted or unavailability of capital, a failure to utilize land or material goods as collateral, prohibitory regulations, and insufficient business proficiencies development. Mulling over the intricate challenges and mounting conviction in the worth of microfinance with respect to the improvement of livelihoods and economic development of people and communities, a microfinance plan for the Aboriginal population in the Greater Toronto Area appeared to be an important intention.

Characteristically, a microfinance plan, devised in aid of entrepreneurs, is linked to developing of nations where a huge percentage of people have problems satisfying their essential needs for food, shelter, medical care, and education (Heck et al. 218). Aboriginal communities in Canada experience similar challenges and poverty as underprivileged individuals residing in developing countries.

Getting the chance to operate a thriving business has a greater role to play than merely putting money in the accounts of Aboriginal entrepreneurs. Success signifies narrowing the socioeconomic gap involving the non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal populace. It is approximated that Aboriginal businesses have generated more than 61,000 full-time employment opportunities and nearly 14,000 part-time engagements for the population in Canada. Nevertheless, contrary to the underprivileged populations in less developed nations, the availability of capital acts as a major hindrance for Aboriginal businesspersons, especially in urban dwellings in Canada (Leroux 15).

Miziwe Biik Employment and Training offers plans and services that facilitate training and job opportunities for members of the Aboriginal population in Toronto. This entails comprehensive collaborations and affiliations with other organizations, employers, governments, and learning institutions. The employment and training program is a section of Miziwe Biik Development Corporation that consists of three major segments that encompass the Aboriginal Business Resource Center, housing plan, and Arts and entrepreneurial fields.

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In its early operations, Miziwe Biik was planned to give general explanations of the social economy and its role in the business world. It is necessary to underline that people cannot stop improving their skills, introducing new activities, and evaluating the already achieved results. The work of Polanyi serves as evidence to prove that “no society could, naturally, live for any length of time unless it possessed an economy of some sort” (43). Profits and stakeholders should not be defined as the only influential factors in organizational development. The environment, culture, and social relationship contribute to the creation of the social economy that covers the needs of society and operational costs (Hossein 2).

The Miziwe Biik case about a microfinance program proves the worth of social and economic safety in organizations. This paper analyzes the organization, the role of a racialized leader, and the expectations of marginalized people on the basis of the Miziwe Biik microloans. Social economy organizations minimize the socio-economic gap, improve Aboriginal identification, and harmonize interpersonal relationships led by a person of color in order to reach marginalized populations locally and recognize their social and financial needs.

Miziwe Biik acted as the first microloan plan of its kind to seek the gratification of monetary requirements of urban Aboriginal businesspeople. The individual loans offered by Miziwe Biik (not including group credits) are between 1,000 and 5,000 dollars at 2% beyond prime. The loans have a repayment period of twelve equivalent monthly installments. The Miziwe Biik microloan plan has numerous distinctive aspects that express its failure to stick to traditional lending processes.

A vital aspect that is evident in the repayment alternatives, which are set at a fixed amount, is the highlighting of outcomes rather than profitability. This has the benefit of making people aware of the payments required each month and the set duration. Although the organization makes a few hundred dollars in every loan, it is not in it really for the funds. The organization looks at how each business suits the Aboriginal community and the way it facilitates people’s lives, mainly entrepreneurs. Nonetheless, the organization seeks to contribute to the overall facets of the Aboriginal population with regard to economic advancement.

The creation of social affiliations and improvement of economic endeavors of the community are identified as equally significant to profitable objectives of Miziwe Biik. The organization also embarks on a more collaborative advance in its application progression than mainstream lending agencies, with the outcome of a higher degree of accessibility for the marginalized people, mostly Aboriginal entrepreneurs (Leroux 19). What is of importance to Miziwe Biik goes past successful applicants. Enhancing people’s capacity and knowledge is fundamental. Akin to other lending agencies and programs in Canada, the Miziwe Biik plan underscores training and development of proficiencies.

One of the arguments of the paper focuses on understanding the essence of Miziwe Biik as a social economy organization and its role in the improvement of living standards of the marginalized people. The Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment and Training Center is used as a non-profit company that aims at addressing training and employment needs (Foster et al. 75). The creation of a microfinance program “in response to the need of financial inclusion of marginalized populations” was one of the achievements for analysis (Foster et al. 76).

In the discourse of modern governance, the worth of shared responsibilities and collaboration in public, private, and voluntary sectors must determine complex social and economic issues (Laforest 13). The chosen social economy organization clearly shows that the Aboriginal people act as representatives of marginalized populations. About 50% of people remain poorly educated, which results in increased poverty, unemployment, and urbanization (Foster et al. 77). A social economy organization reveals all these problems and unites them within one particular business model.

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Another important sub-argument of the project is the identification of how the social economy influences a non-profit organization and all the stakeholders involved in its activities. Quarter et al. explained the social economy as a concept with common social goals of an organization oriented on its mission and practice and its economic objectives or value through the offered services (“Understanding the Social Economy” 4). It is expected that a properly developed company should meet the standards of business, as well as social life. In the 21st century, social activities include the polity, religion, science, technology, family, and the law (Granovetter 136; Rostow 4).

In addition, the state policy is frequently associated with indigenous entrepreneurship. Therefore, the incorporation of traditions, values, and cultures cannot be ignored (Henderson 242). The analysis of a social economy organization should focus on its ability to enhance human capital and respect the cultural background, social support, and traditional values. Marginalized communities are not able to deal with their problems if society and the government fail to discuss them locally or internationally.

What is the impact of Miziwe Biik on the living standards of the marginalized people? How do programs of the organization influence the Aboriginal community of Toronto? Does Miziwe Biik realize its mission? From the point of establishment, more than 44,000 dollars has been offered as loan to Aboriginal entrepreneurs in different field such as health and wellness, food industry, consultancy, and arts and crafts. Within two years, over 25,000 dollars, encompassing interest, had been repaid, which accounted for a monetary success rate of approximately 50%. Some of the borrowers have had the opportunity to earn a consistent living wage and become self-reliant after repaying their loans (Leroux 24). Employing the organization’s exceptional Aboriginal lens, researchers have established overall accomplishment.

Miziwe Biik’s programs have been proven to associate with and support the marginalized people with the comprehension of their specific needs and problems while concentrating on outcomes that are developmental and collective. In addition, Miziwe Biik focuses on resources necessary to obtain success past the initial microloan, for example, access to additional infusions of capital, generation of business proficiencies such as human resources, marketing, accounting and economics, and support for families and entire community.

Within the subject of equilibrium and inter-linkages, loan applicants create a sense of balance between startup demands of businesses with other monetary pressures in their daily lives (Amin 26). In addition, the plan has been successful even for people who do not have confidence in and feel segregated from mainstream practices. The marginalized people are inadequately served by lending organizations within a nation, and there is general reluctance to change the status quo (Quarter et al., “Case Studies for Social” 14). Therefore, members of the Aboriginal population are hesitant when it comes to seeking loans from big financial institutions.

Loan holders underscore the significance of incorporating wider cultural components into the microlending practice, which is an aspect that is not found in mainstream business endeavors. The Miziwe Biik microloan plan has been established to improve individual sense of worth, monetary independence, and trust by establishing a credit rating where many people report feelings of improved affiliation with the Aboriginal population and their roots.

The plan may still be reinforced through entrepreneurship, for instance, by enhanced support from the wider Aboriginal community and its establishments. Moreover, the repayment rate should be improved to nearly 100%. However, for many individuals among the marginalized people, the impact is felt past the numbers. Many employees attest to the fact that the organization has created a positive difference (Leroux 34). Many entrepreneurs state emphatically that they engage in businesses that they probably would not have started if it had not been for Miziwe Biik’s programs.

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The future of the organization is uncertain, attributable to issues such as staff turnover, tension between personnel and racialized people, and the need for enhanced support from the Aboriginal population of Toronto. Human capital and respect for cultural background are the two dynamics that enter into tension with each other to create possible concerns such as increased turnover, racial discrimination, and poverty among marginalized people. Nevertheless, signals appear strong that, if the success of Miziwe Biik remains in the same course, it will create a lasting impact among the marginalized people.

Internal and external factors determine the quality and organization of work. Ethnicity is one of such factors that is defined as group identification or “a sense of belonging to a people that is experienced as a greatly extended form of kinship” (Chua 14). When a racialized person or a person of color leads a company, new demands and expectations may be imposed from the point of view of the social economy.

The interests of one group of people (similar to the leader’s color) can prevail over the interests of other representatives. In their investigation, Hossain and Sengupta evaluated the BRAC model as one of the examples of how hierarchical relationships occur among individuals of different cultural and racial backgrounds and proved the presence of distinctions between the people of color in business (36). The social economy principles cannot be ignored, but it is also necessary to use available priorities and strengthen the positions of marginalized people.

The role of leadership in the development of a social economy organization provides a critical aspect of discussion. In the case study, the questions of ethnicity and race were properly introduced. The authors underlined that the “growth in Aboriginal identification has been credited to a renewal of ethnic pride” (Forster et al. 78). The goal to decrease the socio-economic gap between Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals was defined, and the presence of a non-profit Aboriginal-oriented company as a leader was the reason for such achievements. A leader of color cannot neglect his or her responsibility to create equal opportunities for all the employees and clients.

At the same time, the presence of the social economy factor assumes the necessity to support a particular group and enhance its physical, social, and economic needs. An understanding of such requirements as sustainability and employee retention plays an important role in the promotion of efficient and socially equal organizations.

Despite the existing benefits of a social economy organization such as in the case of Miziwe Biik, the analysis includes some tensions. In the workplace, marginalized populations face such problems as low self-esteem and physical, substance, or emotional abuse (Forster et al. 78). There will always be people who are excluded from social, economic, or cultural life because of different reasons. To earn a living, these people must participate in internalized local economies to fight social and economic exclusion (Hossein 2).

In the Miziwe Biik program, the interests of marginalized people are underlined because many Aboriginal groups in Canada have to prove their rights and opportunities in a constantly developing business world. Some tensions may occur due to religious factors, racial differences, and cultural backgrounds. Therefore, the worth of the Miziwe Biik project is underlined in this study as it creates additional chances for people to be trained and skilled enough for the necessary jobs.

Characteristics of social economy organizations form an essential point of analysis. There are four common features considered: social objectives, ownership, volunteering, and civic engagement (Quarter et al., “Understanding the Social Economy” 12). On the one hand, the possibility to reach marginalized people is a great opportunity for leaders to remove biases and expand responsibilities due to socially equal missions. On the other hand, the presence of a leader of color in a company may provoke additional concerns and prejudice about the treatment to other groups and the evaluation of their work quality.

Programs such as housing and loans for the marginalized people should be under the management of Aboriginal organizations such as Miziwe Biik and adhere to the principles of appropriate accountability, indisputable transparency, and administrative effectiveness. This enables the setting out of a crucial path and period for the allotment of funds through careful evaluation and consideration. However, as soon as one person gets a possibility to be hired, another man or woman loses this opportunity. Competent candidates from the marginalized community not being hired over diversity issues and preferential treatment worsen the issue.

As a result, the mission to provide all people with equal offers is questioned in social economy organizations. However, in its endeavors, Miziwe Biik’s programs support economic development of the marginalized people through progressive hiring standards that overcome historic patterns of discrimination.

In general, the goal of this paper to analyze a social economy organization that is led by a person of color and reaches marginalized people is met. Compared to ordinary business companies, social economy organizations have to combine social, economic, and cultural needs of people and create appropriate working conditions. The task of social economy organizations is to solve the problem and invest their powers properly.

The case of Miziwe Biik is one of the examples that prove the existence of unequal treatment and opportunities for Aboriginal people and the role of a leader. If a leader is a representative of a particular color group, it is expected to evaluate his or her responsibilities and underline the impact of activities on the company. Marginalized people are able to define their roles and contribute to the development of equal rights within the chosen company. Interpersonal relationships, socio-economic gaps, and the interests of particular groups are proved to be integral in the discussion of the social economy in the modern business world.

References

Amin, Ash, editor. The Social Economy: International Perspectives on Economic Solidarity. Zed Books Ltd., 2013.

Chua, Amy. “Globalization and Ethnic Hatred.” Phi Kappa Phi Forum, vol. 83, no. 4, 2003, pp. 1-17.

Foster, Mary, et al. “4 Miziwe Biik Case Study: Microloans in the Urban Aboriginal Community.” Social Purpose Enterprises: Case Studies for Social Change. Edited by Jack Quarter et al., University of Toronto Press, 2014, pp. 75-97.

Granovetter, Mark. Society and Economy: Framework and Principles. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2017.

Heck, Marina, et al. “When Eating Becomes Business.” Revista de Administração de Empresas, vol. 58, no. 3, 2018, pp. 217-222.

Henderson, Gail. “Indigenous Entrepreneurship and Social Entrepreneurship in Canada.” Supreme Court Law Review, vol. 83, no. 2d, 2018, pp. 241-278.

Heritz, Joanne. “Municipal‐Aboriginal Advisory Committees in Four Canadian Cities: 1999–2014.” Canadian Public Administration, vol. 59, no. 1, 2016, pp. 134-152.

Hossain, Naomi, and Anasuya Sengupta. Thinking Big, Going Global: The Challenge of BRAC’s Global Expansion. IDS Working Paper, Institute of Development Studies. IDS, 2019.

Hossein, Caroline, editor. The Black Social Economy in the Americas: Exploring Diverse Community-Based Markets. Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.

Laforest, Rachel. Voluntary Sector Organizations and the State: Building New Relations. UBC Press, 2011.

Leroux, Bernard. Traces Retraced: Reconstructing Identity. OCAD University, 2018.

Polanyi, Karl. The Great Transformation. Farrar & Rinehart, 1944.

Quarter, Jack, et al. Understanding the Social Economy: A Canadian Perspective. University of Toronto Press, 2009.

Quarter, Jack, et al., editors. Social Purpose Enterprises: Case Studies for Social Change. University of Toronto Press, 2015.

Rostow, Walt. The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto. Cambridge University Press, 1960.

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