Funded by the Canadian Women’s Foundation’s Investment Readiness Program, Stitch Lab by 707 is a women-led social enterprise providing both accessible adult education and skills development opportunities as well as meaningful economic participation activities that contribute to waste reduction.
The initial scope of this initiative will support 8-10 underserved, low-income women through trade apprenticeship, vocational and entrepreneurship skills training, and income earning opportunities. Our team is committed to developing a viable business model for the Stitch Lab, which will offer community-centered and affordable alteration services as well as a line of handmade products from repurposed and raw materials destined for landfills.
After undergoing free, virtual training offered in partnership with Toronto Fashion Exchange, the Stitch Lab participants will be equipped with technical and business skills needed to participate in the Stitch Lab operations as fits with their unique economic and social goals. Participants will have opportunities to earn additional income through retail store operations, product creation, and sales via a Market 707 kiosk and pop-up market opportunities. This combined technical and business training endeavors to further prepare participants for related employment, self-employment, or entrepreneurship.
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) we’re working towards: Goals 4, 8, 11, & 13
Areas of Focus:
- Addressing employability and skills/knowledge gaps with free vocational training and entrepreneurship training and eventual revenue-generating opportunities. In recognition of our adult learners, this training will also acknowledge participant-lived experiences, creativity, and the sharing of traditional sewing skills including those passed-down through families and cultural practices. Initial training will run virtually from November 2020 to March 2021.
- Incorporating SCCCs best practices learned through our Business out of a Box program which provides affordable entrepreneurship opportunities to communities facing barriers to business-ownership.
- Creating and deepening connections with local, provincial, national, and sector-specific entrepreneurship ecosystems and industry experts, through support from the Centre for Social Innovation and Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH) to facilitate social capital and network growth, knowledge-sharing, and improvements to the Stitch Lab’s social enterprise model.
- Encourage a culture of waste reduction through discussions, training, and Stitch Lab practices and production; reusing and upcycling textile waste thereby reducing landfill pollution. Initiating positive conversations about waste reduction in the consumer, corporation, and community spheres.
- Offer a holistic approach to wrap-around services for marginalized, low-income women; such as settlement services, referrals to counselling supports, parenting courses, literacy and education upgrading, and health and recreation
About the program:
The Stitch Lab builds on the learnings and interests of self-identifying women from SCCC’s Sewing Hub program which launched in 2018. Early-stage Stitch Lab participants are moderate-level sewers who are new to entrepreneurship. Stitch Lab participants represent various low-income communities across the Greater Toronto Area, including the Alexandra Park Neighbourhood. This vibrant group also reflects various cultural backgrounds and age groups, with participants ranging from twenties to mid-sixties. All of our current participants identify as racialized women.
This program is funded by the Canadian Women’s Foundation’s Investment Readiness Program and the City of Toronto.
Want to learn more? Email Munira Abukar, Project Coordinator – Social Enterprises at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-392-0335