Download TEF's Evaluation Report 2014 here.
TEF has completed the first phase of a comprehensive, longitudinal participatory evaluation. We are pleased and excited to share with you our Evaluation Report, which provides an analysis of responses from 295 unique participants who have been interviewed in-person.
The study underscores what we have observed for many years: participants in social enterprises experience improvements in all of their assets to enable them to build sustainable livelihoods. For example, respondents to the evaluation questionnaire:
- Increased their income by an average of $456 per month, a 50% improvement.
- Remained attached to the labour market at the time of their latest interview (94% of respondents)
- Are more able to pay their bills and even save money
- Are more likely to report that their housing situation is “good” or “excellent”
- Attained greater food security, including experiencing fewer food shortages, accessing free food less and having increased access to healthier options
- Are more likely to report a “good” or “excellent” sense of community belonging
- Feel that they have a higher overall quality of life since joining the enterprise, with an increase of nearly 20% of participants reporting a “good” or “excellent” quality of life
We invite you to read this report for more information on the impact social enterprises can have in the lives of people who are marginalized.
This report is part of TEF’s ongoing commitment to learning through research and evaluation, and to disseminating our learning. Since 2000, we have undertaken interviews with participants and other stakeholders, conducted focus groups, administered surveys, and carried out other research. We use the Sustainable Livelihood Framework as the basis for evaluating our impact.
Please also visit Research & Publications to access our published studies on the benefits of Social Enterprise.
In 2009 TEF embarked on a participatory, multi-year evaluation process to gather longitudinal data from enterprise participants at regular intervals. We ask participants to share information about their assets, such as their income, housing situation, heath and access to healthy food, as well as their experience working at the social enterprise. Participation in the survey is completely voluntary and confidential for participants. TEF uses a peer-based approach to the evaluation by recruiting Community Researchers from among enterprise participants. Recruits are trained by TEF’s community partner, Working for Change, and supported to interview participants from their own, or other, TEF-funded enterprises. This approach helps us reach as many participants as possible, and helps them feel comfortable answering our questions.
In addition to our evaluation activities, we collect data from the social enterprises we fund, and measure the performance of our portfolio. Since inception in 2000, TEF has funded more than 50 social enterprises, which collectively employed and/or trained over 3,000 people. The number of people working in TEF-funded social enterprises each year has steadily increased, reaching 488 in 2015 (up from 480 the previous year). The enterprises paid these participants wages of $2,100,000 in 2015. Over 80% found employment or went back to school full-time. We know from our research that the more successful the business of the social enterprise, the greater the impact on those employed. Since 2003, TEF has worked closely with the social enterprises we fund to help them develop a business culture, improve their sales revenue, achieve profitability, and create more jobs for people who are marginalized.
As a result, TEF-funded enterprises have increased their economic impact: total annual sales revenue of our portfolio has increased from under $500,000 in 2003 to over $5,500,000 today. Two-thirds of the portfolio has become sustainable, which we define as the point where sales revenue exceeds business costs, but social costs may still require external funding. One enterprise has become self-sufficient and no longer requires grant funding.