1. Understand what a social enterprise is.
Social enterprises are set up with clear social goals. While creating social impact, social enterprises seek to achieve financial sustainability through the trading of goods and services. They are businesses that put their values at the heart of what they do. They focus on people as well as profit, and exist with a dual purpose; to benefit society or the environment as well as making money.
Put simply, there are three ingredients to a social enterprise that you need to establish:
A social mission
A way to make money
A process to achieve both
2. Find out more about who you want to help, and why?
This is arguably the most important step, as who you want to help will give purpose to your social enterprise and keep you going when times get tough. More often than not, social enterprises start from this point - being passionate about addressing a problem that is pertinent to a particular section of society.
Once you have identified the particular group or problem, find out everything! Use these questions as prompts to start:
Who is being affected?
What are the causes of this problem? Can we rank these causes?
Is there anything already being done to mitigate this issue?
What are the barriers to change?
What are the behaviours of those who are affected and those who instigate the problem?
Come up with a huge map plotting all the questions related to the cause you want to help. It will give you a sense of the size of the problem, and will be a useful reference point once you start building your social enterprise.
3. What resources do you have?
Next, think of all the parts necessary to start a business and what you have at your disposal. This goes back to Business Basics 101. Write out all the things you need in terms of Human Capital, Finance, and even Physical Infrastructure, and see what you need to acquire.
But if resources are an issue, don’t close the book and give up! There might be another solution just waiting for you to discover! Think about innovative business plans and creative solutions to solve your problem with minimum resources. Go back to the drawing board to think of ingenious business plan (we will cover this in a later post in this series), and talk to people interested in the same cause - they might already have a solution waiting for you to expand on.
4. Formalise this with a Gaddie pitch, and then get going!
Finally, write it down in a short, concise manner to make sure you don’t lose your focus as you expand on this idea. The Gaddie pitch is a quick 3-step formula to achieve this quickly:
Step 1: Write down the pertinent issue/the problem you want to solve.
Start with “you know how…”
Step 2: What is your value proposition?
“What we do is…”
Step 3: What is your key milestone in this project as of date?
There you have it, your 4-step starting point for setting up a social enterprise. Look out for more articles that dives deeper into specific topics on how to get going!