Building a Case for a Downtown, Hostel-Based, Social and Economic Enterprise

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The purpose of this study was to examine the potential establishment of a social/economic hostel-based venture that would serve multiple needs of diversification and economic growth from a social perspective in Prince George, British Columbia, Canada. To examine the viability of the initiative, multiple methods of data collection were conducted including structured literature review, interviews with hostel member organizations and hostel owners, an environmental scan, and stakeholder input. The literature indicates that a large network of hostels exist worldwide, with a variety of different concepts, bed capacities, and amenities. Presently, there were none that would be classified as social/economic enterprises. An environmental scan indicated only one similar model to the proposed initiative; a motel-based financially viable venture staffed by disadvantaged groups that had demonstrated positive social outcomes. Key informant interviews of local representatives suggest relatively strong support for such a venture. However, a number of barriers were identified that included funding and sustainability. While a number of favourable conditions existed that would support a hostel including recent trends towards increased tourism in the area, several indirect competitors such as low cost motels and student housing-based summer accommodation may impede the development and growth of the proposed initiative. In summary, it is recommended that prior to implementing the proposed initiative a clear vision for the downtown of Prince George be established to ensure the enterprise fits into the overall revitalization strategy.


Keywords: Social Economic Enterprise, Business Case, Social Entrepreneurship, Disadvantaged People
Stream: Education and Social Welfare
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Karen M. Davison

PhD Candidate, Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Karen Davison is currently completing the PhD program in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Calgary. Her Karen also co-teaches in the Nutrition and Food Services Department for Langara College in Vancouver, BC. Karen has worked as a Registered Dietitian for over 15 years and completed a Master of Science in Community Health in 1999. The focus of her research was the examination of the utility of a provincial database to examine pregnancy outcomes of high-risk pregnant women. Karen’s research interests include social relationships, the environment, disease progression, and individual characteristics in relationship to dietary interventions, the use of information technology to facilitate dietetics teaching, practice, and research as well as the feasibility of social economic enterprises.

Ref: I08P0232