Located on the beautiful island of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, in the middle of Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM), sits New Dawn Enterprises. New Dawn was established in 1976, when professors at Cape Breton University came together to create an entity that could take on community projects and better the lives of the residents.
With little talk of a social enterprise at the time, the founders created a vehicle for turning projects into revenue generation and greater community impact. New Dawn was incorporated as a community development corporation. Today, New Dawn employs over 175 people and provides services to 600 Cape Breton residents through various companies and projects. Work occurs mainly in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM) and New Dawns’ biggest footprint is in Sydney, Nova Scotia.
New Dawn Enterprises focuses on the issues facing the local community day-to-day. Challenges arise as projects that address the most urgent needs do not always earn revenue. However, revenue generators, such as housing programs, fund other programs such as Meals on Wheels, the art centre (provides artists with affordable space) and the immigration settlement centre. The housing that New Dawn offers is both good quality and low cost.
Meals on Wheels program and the housing program have traditionally been directed toward seniors (often vulnerable) but with the continuous growth in international students in CBRM, New Dawn is shifting attention and growing the housing portfolio. New Dawn has also created an Immigration Settlement Centre for international students and other newcomers to Cape Breton.
Recently, New Dawn teamed with the Verschuren Centre at Cape Breton University to convert properties into net-zero properties with a goal of eliminating all greenhouse gas emissions while providing heat and light to 28 homes and 5 community buildings. The result is 680 tons fewer greenhouse gas emissions each year. Employees of New Dawn are excited to make what they call a “modest global impact.”
New Dawn plans to scale up their arts and immigration departments; both are full of energy and possibilities. As the community continues to change, the goals and priorities of New Dawn Enterprises need to change as well. As the CBRM adjusts to a new mayor and council, and the development of a new Nova Scotia Community College campus in the downtown, the people at New Dawn are ready to make adjustments to fit the needs of the everchanging community around them.