“Social entrepreneurs are not content to just give a fish or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionised the fishing industry.” These are the words of one of the world’s foremost thinkers in social entrepreneurship – Bill Drayton. He was the first to recognise and support social entrepreneurs, dubbing them change-makers.
All the answers to your unique business lifestage questions
How do thesechange-makersestablish a social enterprise? They take the goal of creating social impact to a new level by using innovative methods to organise, manage and measure a venture. They have a triple bottom-line approach of seeking financial, social and environmental impact simultaneously.
Related: 9 Billion reasons for rural women and youth to become economically active
The idea of social entrepreneurship is not new - Florence Nightingale for example revolutionised nursing. She did not only set up the first professional school for nurses, but she also raised nursing to the level of a respectable profession for women and transformed the way hospitals were built.
Creating new business models
Starting with any new business is daunting, but social enterprises have to create new business models that meet the needs of the marginalised more effectively and if not profitably, at least sustainably. They have to focus on lower cost structures, more efficient delivery and often combining market and non-market approaches through a blended revenue model.
How to develop a viable social enterprise
The following guidelines will give social entrepreneurs direction to develop and grow a viable social enterprise:
- Rationale – Have a sound rationale for starting a social business. Integrate the motivation, idea generation and formation process and unpack it in great detail.
- Research – The idea must be explored through exhaustive research, testing and feasibility studies.
- Business plan – Draft a rigorous business plan to guide and inform. Adapt the business plan to different audiences.
- Clarity – Clarify the business strategy, the social need and how it will be met.
- Measure – Measure your impact with quantitative data, showing the quality and reach of your initiatives.
- Staff – Staff is vital. Do a realistic capability analysis and build a strong support structure.
- Compliance – Legal structures and compliance is critical for good corporate governance. Get appropriate legal advice for your specific situation.
- Sustainability planning – This is critical from costing the service/product offering to exploring the various sources of start-up capital.
Redefine success – a case study
B Corp is an USA based non-profit organisation that helps entrepreneurs around the world to use their businesses to solve social and environmental problems.
Related: Building your business foundation with the right financing
It provides Benefit Corporation Certification to businesses that meet specific standards of accountability, sustainability and transparency. They provide analytics for assessing impact and are working on passing legislation that supports companies/B Corps that use their business as a force for good.
Read more at www.bcorporation.net