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St. John’s Tool Library expands enterprise through partnership with Metro Business Opportunities

Ian Froude, executive director of St. John’s Tool Library, and Bernadette Coady, social enterprise co-ordinator at Metro Business Opportunities, celebrate the agreement the two groups entered into to help expand the Tool Library’s reach in the St. John’s region.
Ian Froude, executive director of St. John’s Tool Library, and Bernadette Coady, social enterprise co-ordinator at Metro Business Opportunities, celebrate the agreement the two groups entered into to help expand the Tool Library’s reach in the St. John’s region. - Contributed

Getting one of those little personal projects done around the home received a boost on Monday.

The St. John’s-based Tool Library and Metro Business Opportunities (MBO) are building “support” that will provide a loan to the library in an attempt to expand the inventory and its membership.

MBO is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the development of business and social enterprise in St. John's and Mount Pearl.

A not-for-profit organization, the St. John’s Tool Library operates as a social enterprise, reinvesting membership and workshop fees back into their mission.

Available at tinkerer, maker and DIY master levels, an annual membership gives community members access to the Tool Library’s inventory, allowing them to sign out items for short-term rental.

“The Tool Library is committed to serving its members by building a deeper inventory of tools, while offering a breadth of workshops,” Froude said.

“We are proud to help our members gain skills and do a wide range of projects, while enabling the sharing of otherwise unused tools, donated from the public. The Tool Library’s impact, and that of our membership, has a positive and growing impact on our community.”

Energized by community support, led by a dedicated board of directors and powered by a team of more than 30 volunteers, the Tool Library will use the capital provided by Support to expand its inventory and selection of tools and equipment, increase its workshop offerings, promote its membership benefits and services, increase its user base and develop a corporate sponsorship package.

 

Support fosters social enterprise development by registered not-for-profit organizations in St. John’s and Mount Pearl. Offered by Metro Business Opportunities (MBO), through funding from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), Support provides up to $50,000 in financing to start or expand a social enterprise.

The St. John’s Tool Library is a non-profit tool-lending service for people who want to create, make, build and grow, and strives to provide an affordable and accessible alternative to individual and household tool ownership.

It also aims to reduce household waste and environmental impacts of consumerism by reusing and repairing tools, and be an inclusive, knowledge-sharing space that promotes creativity and learning and increase tool literacy and confidence to use tools.

With over 1,400 items ranging from handheld tools, garden equipment, crafting materials and everything in between, the Tool Library has made it possible for more members of the community to create, make, build and grow.

After almost two years of continuous success, the St. John’s Tool Library has decided to expand. To help achieve that, the Tool Library worked with MBO and availed of the Consultant Advisory Services (CAS) program to have a comprehensive business plan written. With these plans in place, it secured capital funding under MBO’s Support loan program.

“It has been essential to have the support of MBO to create a business plan which gives us the confidence and clear direction to grow the Tool Library,” Froude stated in the news release.

“We are also very excited to have the support of MBO through this loan, to allow us to have the resources required for this next stage of our efforts.”

The Tool Library is located at 151 Empire Ave., with the main entrance being located on Bonaventure Avenue opposite Brother Rice Junior High. It is open on Tuesday from 5:30-8:30 p.m., Thursday from 2:30-8:30 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Anyone needing to speak to someone for information can call 709-754-8665 during hours of operation.

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