The Development Wheel Project aimed to discover how the use of an effective, if demanding tool - the Development Wheel - could become common among many more community groups and organizations. Could it be adapted to a wide range of circumstances, experience, and opportunities in rural B.C. and francophone Ontario? How would we engage the interest of people and organizations with both and interest and a mandate to pursue or support social enterprise? How then could we support them as learned and applied the tool's concepts, terminology, checklists, and processes?
This attempt to launch systemic change from the grassroots involved four types of actor: the project's leader and facilitator, the Centre for Community Enterprise; provincial steering groups; regional intermediaries; and community-based organizations.
Things unfolded very differently in the two sites. Different levels and kinds of project buy-in obliged us to improvise means by which to get the essential functions of social enterprise development performed while keeping the project driven by community and practitioner enthusiasm. Perhaps the biggest was the importance of regional intermediaries and community networks in Ontario, whereas in B.C., the project shifted to focus on technical assistance to individual social entrepreneurs.