Joseph MacLean

I am an historian by education, a storyteller by avocation and a social entrepreneur by trade.

Over the last twenty years I have been the lead consultant on housing projects valued at over $40,000,000. Since 2003 I have worked primarily on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES) with a strong focus on the development of social enterprise projects in literacy (Shine a Light on Literacy), housing (Skwachàys Lodge & Residence), education (Digital Technology & Education Society) as well as the Urban Aboriginal Fair Trade Art Gallery. During Canada’s sesquicentennial in 2017 I was the project lead on two large scale Indigenous cultural projects. The Kanata Festival on Turtle Island and a mobile application for a location-based Indigenous Knowledge Network.

Most recently I created a community-based, Fair Trade distribution system for a collective of small Cambodian farmers that grow the best pepper in the world – Kampot Pepper.

Last Christmas I opened a Pop Up pepper shop at Bentall Three (Vancouver) and that morphed into the Social Enterprise Marketplace as a first step in creating a Social Purpose Alley to offer consumers and businesses a ‘social purpose/procurement’ destination in the heart of the financial district.

I am in the process of building a robust e-commerce/fulfillment platform to promote social enterprises and social purpose businesses – The Give Back Market.

Affordable housing is key to building community capacity and is a main focus of my work. Once folks are affordably housed they then need training, education and skills development on the path to gainful employment. The Social Purpose Alley will serve as a central purchasing destination, a training ground, an incubator and a communications centre for social purchasing and procurement.