Our Story

c4fe talking bubbles

The FEI represents the evolution of a thriving global community of practice known as the Strongly Sustainable Business Models Group (SSBMG).  The SSBMG was originally founded in 2012 at the Strategic Innovation Lab at OCAD University in Toronto.  We have convened members of our growing network, made up of thousands of practitioners, academics and innovators, through over 100 monthly meetings hosted mainly to facilitate connection and the exchange of knowledge.  Leading members, who have collectively produced dozens of peer-reviewed articles and delivered countless workshops and conference presentations, have benefited immensely from being part of this community.

FEI is co-located with VERiS (Viessmann Centre for Engagement and Research in Sustainability) at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Canada.  VERiS partnered to jointly secure a Connection Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada,.  A funding was secured to hosting a Founding Forum designed to support transitioning the SSBMG from a volunteer-driven community of practice, into the Flourishing Enterprise Institute as a functional applied research hub. This successful three-day event engaged over 30 prominent sustainability and management leaders and scholars, including several globally-recognized experts, representing 25 organizations from across North America and Europe.

Building on the momentum of the Founding Forum, the FEI has steadily grown and matured as a developing research institute, including rebranding the SSMBG as the Community for Flourishing Enterprise (C4FE). The FEI has since collaboratively led several SSHRC-funded research projects focused on studying the application of SMIs within leading Canadian municipalities. In partnership with VERiS, the FEI has also led the development of an international applied research partnership that features nearly a dozen leading national and international, municipally-focused NGOs, with a focus on matching complexity and overcoming barriers limiting progress toward sustainability goals by leveraging SMIs.