New report explores links between social finance & public health

Terrapin spent a big chunk of the past year working with the Public Health Agency of Canada exploring links between social finance and public health. Action on Social Determinants of Health Through Social Finance – An Evidence Review, examines the relationship between social finance and social determinants of health in order to understand the influence each has on the other to address health and socioeconomic outcomes.

Bannock Tea and Grill, based on Siksika Nation AB, thrives thanks to the hard work of its founder Alrey Brass and financing he received from Indian Business Corporation, a developmental lender based in Calgary AB.

Drawing from published research, reports and interviews with key informants in the fields of social economy and public health, the report reviews key concepts of social finance and social determinants of health, presents evidence of the links between the two, and provides approaches on how to expand social finance to address social determinants of health in the Canadian context.

“Social Finance and Social Determinants of Health don’t exist on the same conceptual level. Social finance is one of the ways in which social determinants of health can be addressed… a way of funding interventions that can focus on upstream social determinants like poverty and social exclusion.” Michael Roy, 2017 Read more

Alberta’s Indian Business Corporation — a social finance game changer

Indian Business Corporation maintains its commitment to impact reporting with the release of its second Social & Economic Outcomes Report

Rob Rollingson draws a simple yet powerful line between health and finance, “…without fair access to the financial system in today’s world you can’t be completely healthy. You need money to be healthy. It’s really all about income and income distribution. That’s why we’re focused on financing First Nation small businesses. With money you can eat better, dress better, feel better. Poverty is a lack of money. For us, access to capital is key to helping people move out of poverty. Without access to capital you will stay in the same spot you’re in. If you’re living an unhealthy lifestyle – you’re going to stay in that lifestyle…without access to capital.”

Rollingson is the General Manager of Calgary-based Indian Business Corporation, an Aboriginal Finance Institution with a 30 year history of making loans to the people that mainstream banking forgot. And, they are successful in getting their loans repaid 95 times out of 100. “Our losses reflect the cost of the social change we’re making”, says Rollingson. In 2018 IBC crossed the $100 Million dollar milestone in total loans made over the company’s history. Click on the photo of Lou Ann Solway, she’s a rancher from Siksika Nation in Treaty Seven Territory, to read IBC’s 2018 report on the social and economic impact of it’s lending program.    

Exploring the Upside of Down with Shaun Loney


Shaun Loney is a man on a social mission.

Shaun Loney, Aki Energy

Shaun Loney is a social entrepreneur on a mission –  to recruit an army to solve a world of social challenges…he just wants Government to get the heck out of the way! Shaun is on a promotional book tour for An Army of Problem Solvers – Reconciliation and the Solutions Economy which came out recently and, while I’m waiting for a copy to arrive in the mail, was pleased to hear him speak on CBC’s The Current with Anna Maria Tremonte.

Here’s a link to the interview – essential listening if you are involved in or are considering a social enterprise or, if you want to explore the relationship between First Nations reconciliation and the economy. Read more

Social finance…make it simple!

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Indian Business Corporation (IBC), a social finance leader based in Calgary, AB recently released this collection of impact stories from its loan customers – describing the ways in which their lives have changed for the better as a result of getting a loan, starting a business, hiring family and friends, and contributing to the stability of their communities. Read more

The 541 Eatery and Exchange is sharing more than great food.

Alongside reports of madness, disaster and unrest, a recent edition of Canada’s Globe and Mail featured a hopeful story about a special business venture in the heart of Hamilton’s North end — on Barton Street.


In the world of currency alternatives, buttons are having impact in North Hamilton.

The 541 is gaining a reputation for its cheap, nutritious, family-friendly homemade meals. And, paying customers have an opportunity to purchase buttons, which folks without money can use to purchase a hot meal or a cup of coffee. But wait, there’s more – 541 employees earn a living wage and regular customers are given the opportunity to take a turn behind the counter, wait tables and welcome new customers. Some are getting great experience in the kitchen, which in turn helps them find paying gigs in Hamilton’s thriving restaurant sector. The café’s space and proceeds from food sales are also used to support a number of community initiatives: homework club, kitchen skills training, piano lessons, eating well workshops and more! 541 is a place  of social exchange and social change – where people from all walks of life share the same access to healthy, delicious food in a welcoming, cheery space. There are no hand outs. This is a different kind of food charity – one that emphasizes dignity and equal access to the good food movement. If you can’t make it to Hamilton but like the idea you can visit their page, buy some buttons or become a monthly donor.



Siksika Nation blazes a new trail in community economic development

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In it’s first year, Siksika Nation’s $2.7 M developmental loan fund has been fully deployed in loans to nation members starting or expanding businesses on and off reserve. The fund is the result of a joint partnership agreement between Siksika and Indian Business Corporation (IBC) in which $2M of band trust money was used to set up the fund at IBC who in turn loaned the money directly to nation members. Read more

A tough economy drives innovation in Aboriginal social finance.

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That’s to IBC, Alberta may be the centre of social finance in Canada

Calgary’s Indian Business Corporation (IBC) is a good example of social finance at work. By focusing on small business lending to First Nations entrepreneurs, IBC takes risks unthinkable for a bank or credit union. In 95% of cases, IBC’s loans are repaid in full and they are able to churn and contribute more capital to a long line of First Nations entrepreneurs waiting for financing. Getting loans paid back involves providing extensive pre and aftercare: everything from business planning to helping with receivables to tax filing. Federal and provincial programs help absorb the extra-ordinary costs of developmental lending, which in turn allows IBC to offer impact investors a chance to achieve their goals.

Terrapin has been fortunate to work closely with the team at IBC and enjoyed putting the following paper together.

Looking for HOPE – linking Health, Opportunity, Poverty and income inEquality.

Poverty, inequality fuelling suicide crisis, First Nations leader says - CBC News

Cross Lake Band Health Services

The Cree government of Pimicikamak has declared a state of emergency after a number of suicides in the Northern Manitoba community of Cross Lake. An emergency declaration will likely trigger a short-term emergency response and while immediate mental health services and community crisis supports are needed, more attention to the root causes of despair, hopelessness, and exclusion is required to effectively address Aboriginal suicide. Read more