It’s about a hole in the street.

The look and feel of the whole downtown is affected by it. People keep wondering if there is a way to fill the hole in purposely and profitably so that the street is whole again.

That’s where the National Impact Real Estate Program comes in. SCG’s new demonstration project in Greater Napanee in Eastern Ontario is taking an underused property and turning it into an entrepreneurial hub and community meeting place funded by external and local social impact investors.

The IRE program works with small to mid-sized communities to take over impactful underused and vacant properties in their downtowns. The renovated properties are re-engineered to become one-stop shops for entrepreneurs, delivering training, creating networks and collusion opportunities, and act as the inspiration for entrepreneurs whether they’re veterans or newbies. The local IREs help other ecosystem members fill in gaps and extend their resources and are not primarily co-working spaces.

In Greater Napanee, the property is a former Carnegie Library at the end of the town’s main shopping street. It’s a sturdy unloved building that will eventually anchor the continued revitalization of the downtown. To design and launch the IRE program, we have partnered with Purpose Capital (Canada’s largest social impact investment advisory). Together we are collaborating with local governments, colleges, and local entrepreneurial services to take over the property, gut and renovate it, and act as a magnet for doers, dreamers, and mentors. The hub’s top goal is to create or strengthen businesses and especially generate new jobs. We want to change the town’s economic prospects, help mitigate out-migration, and attract new investment into the community.

Additional IRE projects are slated to come on stream in Atlantic Canada and Northern Ontario in the latter part of 2018. IRE is part of our E-Town Canada program portfolio. For more information, visit www.etowncanada.com or contact Glen Loo at 416-322-9626 or gloo@stclementsgroup.com.