Businesses in Alberta have often been the vanguard for innovation. For example, the idea of ‘social enterprise’ was first used in the late 1970s, however Chrysalis: An Alberta Society for Citizens with Disabilities (Chrysalis) established its first social enterprise in 1975 before the now global term was officially used in the United Kingdom.
Succinctly put, a social enterprise is a cause-driven business whose primary reason for being is to improve social objectives and serve the common good. For Chrysalis, the original social enterprise goal was to diversify its fund development portfolio and cover the gap from government funding to increase revenue sources while enhancing the quality of programs and services offered to adults with developmental disabilities (individuals) throughout the Metro Edmonton area. Chrysalis individuals were given an opportunity for socialization, community inclusion and learning on how to use automated machinery. These skills could then be transferred to other inclusive employment agencies.
With the success of the Plastics division, a Woods division was added in 1985, and the social enterprise business units were then named the Chrysalis Woods & Plastics Limited Partnership. Both divisions have operated out of the Chrysalis facility in Edmonton, and the organization was able to broaden the range of products produced and reach a larger number of customers throughout Alberta and neighbouring provinces. Products range from plastic bottles to large wooden pallets. Chrysalis’ Plastics division has a diverse range of high-quality, high-density manufactured plastic products from standard four-litre jugs to custom-moulded products to suit many needs. They also offer a wide variety of closures, lids and products to go with the products produced. Customer service support includes equipment use to process a number of vendors’ and suppliers’ materials.
Chrysalis’ Woods division specializes in producing completely customizable manufactured wood products ranging from light pallets to heavy-duty custom-made pallets, including boxes, plywood boxes, a variety of different wooden containers, shipping crates, picnic tables and crane pads. The Woods division can create quite a number of wood products to meet customer’s specifications. They also support a North American initiative to develop and deliver sound products that are heat-treated (not chemically-treated) so they can be shipped internationally.
Like any business, this social enterprise has traversed through different economic cycles, ongoing market competition and addressing operational efficiencies, but remains to this day, as an organization that offers great customer service, a highly-skilled production staff and the ability to create custom-tailored products to suit your needs. Chrysalis remains resolute as well in continuing to provide personalized services designed to meet the needs of their individuals in becoming their best selves while providing meaningful opportunities for growth and inclusion.
The future for the Chrysalis Woods & Plastics Limited Partnership is to achieve growth, sustainability, profitability and expansion into new or innovative business arenas that would be beneficial to the community, to the environment as well as to the Chrysalis Society
Editor: C. Tracy Williams
Manager, Communications & Fund Development Chrysalis: An Alberta Society For Citizens With Disabilities