A society may be incorporated for any lawful purpose, including:

  • Charitable
  • Artistic
  • Educational
  • Social
  • Agricultural
  • Sporting


One of the key benefits of incorporating a society for economic development is to become independent of local government. Economic development goals are more aligned to the greater community, rather than just the local government.

Another benefit is that as a separate incorporated society, organizations can apply for different grants. As a separate entity, priorities are less likely to change when there are changes to municipal council. One consideration is whether an incorporated society should be municipal or regional. Another consideration is if it should address tourism or whether the local government should create two distinct societies for economic development and tourism.


The society's assets and income must be used to fulfil its purposes. A society may have directors, but sharing capital is prohibited. A society may be incorporated to include (but not limited to), carrying on:

  • Business
  • Trade
  • Industry
  • Profession for profit or gain

The community process for starting an incorporated society may be a challenge because of competing stakeholder priorities.

Additionally, funding sources need to be sorted out. Will you get funding from local government or will you require alternate sources as well? The lack of funding security may create challenges with hiring and retaining employees.

How to Proceed

A society may or may not be incorporated. If it is incorporated, the society is a separate legal entity. Learn more about societies and the different ways to set them up: