An international agreement to grow and sustain social enterprises in Scotland and Canada has been announced by Nicola Sturgeon on a visit to Toronto.

The Social Enterprise Academy (SEA), which provides learning and development for the sector in Scotland, has launched a new partnership with the Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDNet) supported by Toronto’s Learning Enrichment Foundation and the Scottish Government.

The collaboration will involve sharing expertise and skills relating to social enterprises – businesses focused on creating positive change by reinvesting profits and finding innovative new business models.

Ms Sturgeon announced the partnership on a visit to West Neighbourhood House, a community organisation in downtown Toronto, on Friday, the second day of her two-day visit to Canada.

She said: “Scotland and Canada are already known worldwide as social enterprise nations. Through this exciting partnership, we will be able to share our collective skills and expertise to support people tackling social and environmental challenges in communities at home and around the globe.

“In Scotland, our expertise has been developed through a series of initiatives – such as hosting the Social Enterprise World Forum, our 10-year Social Enterprise Strategy, and funding for a specialist business support service for social enterprises.

“By working together to exchange knowledge and promote business models that contribute to the common good, we can take further steps to improve the lives of those in our countries and further afield.”

Claire Wilson, head of the SEA Global Learning Lab, said CCEDNet is an “exciting new addition to our international network of partners”.

She added: “We look forward to seeing how we can work together to support communities across Canada.”

Mike Toye, executive director for CCEDNet, said: “We are pleased to partner with SEA International to accelerate the growth of inclusive and sustainable organisations and communities across Canada and around the world.”

On Thursday evening Ms Sturgeon officially opened the new Scottish Government office in Ottawa, as she hosted a Scotland is Now reception in the Canadian capital.

During her two-day visit to Canada she has been carrying out trade and culture engagements in Ottawa and Toronto, which included opening the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Earlier in the week she carried out engagements in the USA on a tour which started on Monday.