Setting up a social enterprise requires substantial advice, investment, and support.
Social Enterprises are business that trade to achieve a social purpose. Success depends on two things:
- An intimate understanding of the social problem and how it can be solved, and
- Strong business skills and networks
Why strong business skills & networks
Social enterprises operate in all sectors of our economy – hospitality, health, maintenance, cleaning and many more.
Social enterprises must sell on the open market to customers, to generate trade and cover their costs. Sustainability – and ongoing social impact – fundamentally relies on the enterprise’s ability to establish and manage the business.
What business skills?
Running a business requires a diverse set of skills from creative problem solving, to more concrete financial management and organisational development skills. From our experience, social enterprises consistently require a focus on:
- Business model development and testing
- Financing modelling and financing strategy
- Sales and marketing
- Partnerships, sourcing and organisational development, and
- Ongoing financial management
How to acquire business skills and networks?
Business skills and networks can be attained through:
- Learning by doing. This can be a rapid way to acquire business skills. However, the learning curve can be steep and – for some – too risky.
- Formal education. Tertiary education, particularly more applied post graduate courses, will provide an all-round business grounding. Cost and time commitment are considerations.
Programs/accelerators. These are designed to provide for rapid skill and network acquisition, with a specific focus on your social enterprise idea. They typically include; teaching, coaching and business mentor components.
Social Enterprise Business Tools
There are many excellent tools and templates to help you map out your social business model.